By Louise S. Robbins
In 1950 Ruth W. Brown, librarian on the Bartlesville Public Library, used to be brushed off from her task after thirty years of exemplary provider, ostensibly simply because she had circulated subversive fabrics. truthfully, despite the fact that, Brown used to be fired simply because she was once lively in a gaggle affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality.This episode in a small Oklahoma city nearly a half-century in the past is greater than a stressful neighborhood occasion. It exemplifies the unusual interval of the chilly conflict referred to as the McCarthy period, foregrounding those that worked for racial justice, occasionally at nice expense, ahead of the civil rights stream. the basic problems with the Brown case make it particularly pertinent this day, whilst differences--in race, gender, category, and nationwide origin--are back feared, and as demanding situations to fabrics in library collections back increase. Ruth Brown's tale is helping us comprehend the matrix of private, group, country, and nationwide forces which may result in censorship, intolerance, and the suppression of person rights.
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Additional info for The dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: civil rights, censorship, and the American library
The result is at best an intolerance of difference, a pressure to conform, and at worst something like the witch-hunting brand of anticommunism we call McCarthyism. A perception of threat can also lead to a fear of new ideas that challenge the status quo or cast a valued institution in a bad light. 19 Books, as vessels for ideas, and libraries, as institutions charged in part with the preservation and communication of culture, are vulnerable when the discourse becomes contested or constrained. Like schools, libraries received much unwanted attention during the cold war.
Four theaters and one drive-in lured moviegoers. The Phillips 66ers, the company's semiprofessional basketball team (where Adams got his start in the company), usually put on an impressive winning display. To the west of town Phillips maintained and managed the city airport. The Civic Center, on Johnstone, housed the Bartlesville Public Library and an auditorium. Active groups of volunteers sponsored the Town Hall series of speakers, played in the orchestra, or performed in community theater. There were Page 15 piano teachers such as Alberta Bradstreet and dance teachers such as Betty Frey.
In Oklahoma calls for loyalty oaths and investigations at the University of Oklahomawhere a number of students, including Harold and Carolyn Price from Bartlesville (son and daughter-in-law of the pipeline manufacturer), vocally supported the admission of Sipuel and McLaurinsounded in the 1949 legislature. The following fall the American Legion called for an anticommunist oath for public employees, especially those in higher education. 30 Against this backdrop of national tension, Bartlesville was growing and changing.
The dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: civil rights, censorship, and the American library by Louise S. Robbins