Matthew Griffis

Academic Historian

Dr. Matthew Griffis is an Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Southern Mississippi. He studies public libraries as community spaces, library buildings as social architecture, and the history of libraries in North America. In 2016, he began a three-year project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) about the twelve, Carnegie-funded segregated public libraries that opened across the American south ca. 1908-1924.

Carnegie Library, Mound Bayou, Mississippi (1910-1935)

Mound Bayou Library, 1910 Image Ownership: Public domain Constructed in 1910 with a grant from Andrew Carnegie’s library development program, the Carnegie Library of Mound Bayou, Mississippi was the first free public library intended for African Americans in the state of Mississippi and one of the first African … Read MoreCarnegie Library, Mound Bayou, Mississippi (1910-1935)

East Henry Street Carnegie Library, Savannah, Georgia (1914- )

Image Courtesy of Matthew Griffis The East Henry Street Carnegie Library is a branch of the Live Oak Public Libraries in Savannah, Georgia. It originally opened in 1914 as the Colored Carnegie Library, one of twelve segregated public libraries in the south funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and … Read MoreEast Henry Street Carnegie Library, Savannah, Georgia (1914- )

Auburn Branch Library, Atlanta, Georgia (1921-1959)

Atlanta Auburn Branch Library, 1921 Image Ownership: Public domain The Auburn Branch Library was a segregated branch of the Carnegie Library of Atlanta, Georgia (now the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System). Opened in 1921, it was the first free public library in Atlanta for African Americans and one of twelve … Read MoreAuburn Branch Library, Atlanta, Georgia (1921-1959)

Eastern Colored Branch Library, Louisville, Kentucky (1914-1975)

The Eastern Colored Branch was a segregated public library located at 600 Lampton Street in Louisville, Kentucky. Opened in 1914, it was the second of the city’s “colored” libraries and served Louisville’s east end. The Western Colored Branch, which opened in 1905, was the first free public library in the United … Read MoreEastern Colored Branch Library, Louisville, Kentucky (1914-1975)

The 13th Street Colored Branch Library, Meridian, Mississippi (1913-1974)

Image Ownership: Public domain The 13th Street (St.) Colored Branch was a segregated public library established by the city of Meridian, Mississippi, in 1912 and opened in March 1913. It was one of the first free public libraries for African Americans in the state of … Read MoreThe 13th Street Colored Branch Library, Meridian, Mississippi (1913-1974)