By Louise S. Robbins
In 1950 Ruth W. Brown, librarian on the Bartlesville Public Library, was once pushed aside from her activity after thirty years of exemplary carrier, ostensibly simply because she had circulated subversive fabrics. honestly, besides the fact that, Brown used to be fired simply because she used to be energetic in a gaggle affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality.This episode in a small Oklahoma city virtually a half-century in the past is greater than a tense neighborhood occasion. It exemplifies the unusual interval of the chilly struggle referred to as the McCarthy period, foregrounding those that worked for racial justice, occasionally at nice expense, prior to the civil rights stream. the basic problems with the Brown case make it in particular pertinent this day, while differences--in race, gender, category, and nationwide origin--are back feared, and as demanding situations to fabrics in library collections back enhance. Ruth Brown's tale is helping us comprehend the matrix of non-public, neighborhood, nation, and nationwide forces that could 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 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. Phillips Petroleum had been instrumental in meeting the World War II demand for synthetic rubber. Stimulated by the war, it moved even more vigorously into petrochemical research. As it began to develop plastics, fertilizers, and fibers from its mineral resources, its ranks swelled with young scientists and engineers recruited to work in its research and development effort.
They gave me their fine oral history books and hosted our evening showing of the film Storm Center. And late one night in Bartlesville, one of their number, Celeste Cleary, called to offer a videotape about Ruth Brown called ''Red Herring," made by her mother's students in Marietta, Oklahoma. It, too, was a History Day project. Wayne and Shirley Wiegand allowed us the use of their Norman, Oklahoma, home for part of a summer, and Henry and Jo Runnels, of Bartlesville's Travelers' Motel, provided not only a good headquarters and a skinny pillow but an excellent messaging service and directions to the tornado shelter as well.
Phillips built the swimming pool and allowed non-Phillips people to use it several days a week. Said one resident, if Phillips, especially after Adams became president, wanted the stripe on the street painted, "the merchants ... " Since so many of the community's elite and middle class worked for the two large oil companies, their children tended to marry children of other oil company employees. Nearly everyone worked for or was related to someone who worked for Phillips or Cities Service, or both.
The dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: civil rights, censorship, and the American library by Louise S. Robbins