This poster focuses on a little-known piece of library history regarding the 1928 ALA Annual Conference. The conference was held May 28-June 2, 1928, at the West Baden Springs Hotel in West Baden, Indiana. The theme of the conference was “Library Retrospect, Introspect, Prospect” and an estimated 2,000 librarians were in attendance. Among the attendees were several African American librarians including Edward C. Williams, Reverend Thomas Fountain Blue, Lillian Haydon Childress Hall, and Rachel Davis Harris.
Built in 1902, the West Baden Springs Hotel was one of the most spectacular hotels of the time and was often referred to as "The Eighth Wonder of the World." However, at the time of the 1928 ALA Conference, the hotel did not offer accommodations to African Americans. Fortunately, the West Baden Springs Hotel was not the only game in town. An African American-owned hotel, the Waddy Hotel was also in West Baden and opened its doors to African American travelers.
It wasn't until eight years later that ALA passed a resolution to never hold conferences in cities that discriminated against conference attendees because of race.
The poster will feature pictures of the librarians profiled and newspaper clippings related to the conference. The poster will also have pictures along with brief histories of the West Baden Springs Hotel and the Waddy Hotel. In addition, a QR code linking to a bibliography of resources about the 1928 ALA Conference will also be included in the poster.