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Sun, 01.20.1924

E. J. Josey, Librarian Advocate born

E. J. Josey

*E. J. Josey was born on this date in 1924. He was a Black activist and librarian.

He was born Elonnie Junius Josey in Norfolk, Virginia, to Willie and Frances Bailey Josey. He graduated from Howard University in 1949 and received his master's in History from Columbia University in 1950. A master's in librarianship from the University at Albany, SUNY, in 1953, being the second African American to do so. Immediately after graduating, Josey accepted a position at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

From 1955 to 1959, he was Director of the Library of Delaware State College, and from 1959–1966, he was Chief Librarian and Associate Professor at Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia. He also served on the staff of the Columbia University Library and the New York Public Library. Before his position at Delaware State College, he served as an Instructor of Social Sciences and History from 1954–1955 at Savannah State College.

In 1966, Josey joined the New York State Education Department in its Division of Library Development as an Associate in the Bureau of Academic and Research Libraries. In 1968 he was promoted to Chief of the Bureau of Academic and Research Libraries. He held that position until 1976 when he was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Specialist Library Services, New York State Library. When he was appointed to the American Library Association Nominating Committee in 1969, he spearheaded a movement to create the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). Josey was also Professor Emeritus at the Department of Library and Information Science, School of Library and Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh.

Active in the field of human rights, he was a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as President of the Albany, New York Branch from 1982–86. He also served as President of the Albany Branch of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. Effective in community affairs, he also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Albany County Opportunity, Inc., the local anti-poverty agency, for four years. A member of the American Library Association for 48 years (Since he attended his first conference in 1957), at the 1964 annual conference, he authored the resolution forbidding Association officers and staff from participating in state associations that deny membership to Black librarians.

This action led to the integration of the library association of several Southern states, and he became the first black librarian to be accepted as a member of the Georgia Library Association. E. J. Josey, one of the first Black librarians in the Georgia Library Association, died on July 3, 2009.

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