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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Historic Alexandria
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Page updated Feb 11, 2014 11:27 AM
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Alexandria Black History Museum opens new exhibition

Sit Down and Take a Stand: Samuel W. Tucker and the 1939 Alexandria Library Sit-In, Saturday, February 8

1939 Sit-Down StrikeOn Saturday, February 8, the Museum opens a new exhibition which focuses on the life of famed civil rights attorney Samuel Wilbert Tucker and the historic 1939 sit-in. This exhibition is free and open to the public.

On August 21, 1939, five young African American men walked into the whites-only Alexandria Library and requested library cards. When refused because they were African American, the young men quietly took books off the shelves and sat down to read.  Library authorities had them arrested making this act of civil disobedience one of the earliest of its kind in the modern civil rights movement.  The mastermind of the 1939 sit-in was Samuel Wilbert Tucker, a 27 year-old attorney and a native of Alexandria. This exhibition also highlights the previously unheralded role of Robert Strange, the little known sixth participant of the sit-in. Only 15 years old, Strange acted as a runner between the Alexandria Library and Tucker’s office, keeping the young lawyer abreast of sit-in developments.

Often working behind the scenes, Tucker’s career was devoted to combating Jim Crow laws and the struggle to gain equal rights for African Americans. Considered an “Unsung hero of the civil rights movement,” Tucker knew or worked with many of the great civil rights attorneys - Thurgood Marshall, Oliver Hill, Charles Hamilton Houston, and Senator Henry Marsh.

The exhibition is on view at the Alexandria Black History Museum until August 2014. The Museum is located at 902 Wythe Street, Alexandria, Virginia  22314 and it is five blocks from the Braddock Road Metro Station on the Yellow and Blue Lines. Street parking is available. For more information, please call 703.746.4356.
 

Office of Historic Alexandria 

Administration Offices

Lloyd House
220 North Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.746.4554
Fax: 703.838.6451
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Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.