Friday, October 3, 2014

The Washington Heights Branch of the New York Public Library

"This photo was taken at the newly reopened Washington Heights Branch of the New York Public Library on Sept 30, 2014.  The book being presented to Librarian Vianela Rivas is the newly published biography of Regina Anderson Andrews, the first African-American supervising librarian in the NYPL by Ethelene Whitmire of the University of Wisconsin. Mrs Andrews was a leader in the Harlem Renaissance and after coming to Washington Heights in 1940 was particularly famed for her Family Nights which brought such luminaries as Langston Hughes, and several Ambassadors from newly independent African nations to our uptown community.

Presenting the book are Evelyn Neal and Priscilla Bassett, both members of the Morris-Jumel Neighborhood Association. Priscilla worked as a children's room assistant in 1951-52 during Mrs Andrews' tenure (and returned as Children's Room Librarian in 1982). The library, one of the Carnegie Branches designed by Carriere and Hastings lies within the Historic District.

Mrs Andrews' story of forty-four years in the NYPL along with her observer's status at the United Nations makes for a fascinating recognition of her groundbreaking, but overlooked, life, her triumphs against racism and sexism, and her enrichment of our community." (email from Priscilla Bassett, October 2, 2014.)

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