Rosa Parks Branch Library
Second public library for blacks in City of Montgomery, this building opened in 1960 as Montgomery Branch Library on Cleveland Avenue. Designed by architect James Miller Davis, it served the black population at a time the main facility on High Street prohibited their patronage. Planned to contain 15,000 volumes, this structure has meeting rooms and areas for adults, teen-agers and children. Judge Frank Johnson ordered desegregation of Montgomery libraries in 1962. The first public library for blacks opened in 1948 in two rooms of the Community House of City Federation of Negro Women's Clubs on South Union Street. Librarian Bertha Williams, the first black employee of the city library system, led that branch for its twelve years of operation and became head librarian of this one upon its opening. Change of name to Rosa Parks Branch came with re-naming of Cleveland Avenue for heroine of Bus Boycott.
Bertha Pleasant Williams
First black employee of Montgomery library system, Bertha Pleasant Williams received a high school degree in Fairfield, AL in 1939, a degree from Alabama State College (now ASU) in 1943, and, in 1949, a BLS degree from Atlanta University. Her first job was elementary teacher at Snow Hill Institute, teaching all subjects. Upon Montgomery's funding a public library for blacks in 1948, Williams came as librarian, receiving special recognition "so that adults and children of Afro-American communities can have their first use of Public Library Services." For twelve years served in this capacity, and in 1960, when new branch library opened on Cleveland Avenue, she became the Head Librarian, working there for over nine years. Upon leaving city library, she moved to Alabama State University Library for seven years and as Head of the rare Book Collection and archives for another seven. In 1993, Alabama State University recognized her fifty years of contributions to library service and education with a special Golden Graduation Diploma. Bertha Williams served as President of Montgomery Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. between 1954-1956 as she continued as Head Librarian of the Union Street Library for Coloreds. The Alabama Library Association also honored Bertha Williams.