The Alexandria Library Sit-in

The Alexandria Library sit-In 1939

The Alexandria Library sit-In 1939

Well before the famous Woolworth’s counter sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina occurred, the first organized sit-in by African-Americans happened 21 years earlier approximately 300 miles away. On March 17, 1939, attorney Samuel Wilbert Tucker and retired Army Sergeant George Wilson (both African-American), walked through the doors of a segregated Queen Street library in Alexandria, Virginia. Each requested an application for a library card, but library policy was to not issue these cards to persons of colored race. Tucker had passed the newly erected Alexandria library on a daily basis, yet as an African-American, he had to travel to the District of Columbia to obtain access to library facilities. Unsatisfied with the unequal access to educational facilities, Tucker decided to battle the system of Jim Crow through the legal system.

Organized and instructed by Tucker, five young black men entered the Barrett Branch Library on Queen Street one by one and politely requested library cards. When refused, each one took a book off the shelf and sat down in the reading room. As the men sat down to read, police officers were called. William Evans, Otto L. Tucker, Edward Gaddis, Morris Murray, and Clarence Strange would each be arrested for “disorderly conduct.” Tucker had instructed the men to dress well, speak politely and offer no resistance to the police to minimize the chance of the men being found guilty of disorderly conduct or resisting arrest. Tucker defended the men in the ensuing legal actions which resulted in the protestors not being convicted of disorderly conduct.

A lawsuit would be filed in the local court to force the librarian to issue a library card to Sergeant Wilson as a taxpaying citizen of the City of Alexandria. When the case was eventually heard on January 10, 1940, the judge rejected the petition for a library card for “technical reasons”, but affirmed that “there were no legal grounds for refusing the plaintiff or any other bona fide citizen the use of the library.” The Virginia Public Assemblages Act of 1926 stated that both races were to be segregated within the same facility, therefore according to the law African-Americans were unlawfully barred from the Alexandria Library. Within two days of the judge’s decision, two African-Americans applied for library cards. Yet, they were refused by being informed that a new colored branch of the Alexandria library was under construction and that their applications was under consideration. The city would go on to open a segregated library for African-Americans. That same segregated library (the Robinson Library) is now the site of the Alexandria Black History Museum.

– Supreme Soul

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Tomb of the Unknowns – What It’s Like To Be An Arlington Tomb Guard

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Since it’s Memorial Day I figured I would post this prestigious tradition for those that may not know of its existence. More so, to shed light on some of the meaning behind Memorial Day and pay respect to all those that give their lives to ensure that many of us have a home that’s safe and full of many things others can only dream about. I think the CNN story did a great job of bringing into focus one reason a good number of people have the day off while those that are serving have to work and work hard at jobs that many of us could never do.  Having family members that served in the Army and currently serve in the Navy and Air Force, I want to say thank you to all that those that have served, are currently serving, and will serve in the military in some way. You do more of a service than you will ever know. Happy Memorial Day to you all and thanks for stopping by 3GW.

Supreme Soul

The following is courtesy of CNN

The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified. It is located in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, United States of America.

The tomb guards are soldiers of the United States Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment. It is considered one of the highest honors to serve as a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Fewer than 20 percent of all volunteers are accepted for training and of those only a fraction pass training to become full-fledged Tomb Guards. This attrition rate has made the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge the second least-awarded decoration of the United States military.

The soldier “walking the mat” does not wear rank insignia, so as not to outrank the Unknowns, whatever their ranks may have been. Non-commissioned officers (usually the Relief Commander and Assistant Relief Commanders), do wear insignia of their rank when changing the guard only. They have a separate uniform (without rank) that is worn when they actually guard the Unknowns or are “Posted”.

The duties of the sentinels are not purely ceremonial. The sentinels will confront people who cross the barriers at the tomb or who are disrespectful or loud.

During the day in summer months from April 1 to September 30, the guard is changed every half hour. During the winter months, from October 1 to March 31, the guard is changed every hour.

For more information about the Arlington National Cemetery and Tomb of the Unknowns click here