Editor’s Note: Project directors for Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the Civil War were approached by visually impaired patrons interested in joining the discussion program, and they contacted the American Library Association’s Public Programs Office seeking access to a recorded version of the anthology, America’s War.
February 1861. Abraham Lincoln has been elected the sixteenth President of the United States. Seven states have seceded from the Union. Representatives from the seceding states gather in Montgomery, Alabama, where they frame and adopt a constitution for their new government. Jefferson Davis is elected President of the Confederacy. Within the next two months, Lincoln will be inaugurated.
When five African American men entered the Audubon Regional Library in Clinton, Louisiana, they had already broken the law. The year was 1964, and their crime was entering a segregated, whites-only library. One man, Henry Brown, approached the circulation desk and requested a book, The Story of the Negro by Booker T. Washington. The librarian responded that the branch did not currently have the book, but that she would order it for him and would notify him when it arrived. She then asked the men to leave the facility.