As the first woman and first African-American to become the Librarian of Congress –- an institution with a lifespan almost as long as the nation itself –- Dr. Carla Hayden made it clear in her acceptance speech that she fully grasped the magnitude of the transition.
“People of my race were once punished with lashes and worse for learning to read,” Hayden, the former director of the public library system in Baltimore, Maryland said. “As a descendant of people who were denied the right to read, to now have the opportunity to serve and lead in the institution that is the national symbol of knowledge is a historic moment.”
Hayden was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts on a Bible owned by President Abraham Lincoln in the mezzanine of the Library, which was established in 1800. Her mother Colleen held the book as she recited her oath.
During her tenure leading the Enoch Pratt Free Library system in Baltimore, Hayden made the decision to keep the libraries open even during the April 2015 clashes between police and protesters, which often turned violent.
Even the branch directly across the street from the notorious CVS that was set on fire by vandals kept its doors open.
CLICK HERE to read story