Oakwood School of California Visits Central Library as Part of Civil Rights Tour

BPL Archivist Jim Baggett discusses Birmingham's
civil rights history with Oakwood School students.

A group of students and teachers from California gained knowledge about Birmingham’s segregated educational past by visiting the Birmingham Public Library last weekend as part of a civil rights tour of Alabama.

The 20 students and teachers from Oakwood School, a private K-12 school in North Hollywood, visited Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma. While in Birmingham, they visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Central Library downtown. Here is background on Oakwood School: https://www.oakwoodschool.org/.

At the Central Library, the students saw the 1963 jail docket that records the arrest of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights demonstrators, bomb fragments from the 1962 bombing of Bethel Baptist Church, and an early copy of the "Letter from Birmingham Jail," said Jim Baggett, head of the Archives and Manuscripts Department in Central Library.

Inspecting maps of  segregated Birmingham school districts of the 1940s.

Baggett talked to the Oakwood students and teachers about BPL’s civil rights documents, and took a photo of the group as they discussed maps that show Birmingham's segregated school districts from the 1940s. This is the second time students from Oakwood have visited BPL. Over the years, the Birmingham Public Library has hosted teacher groups from across the United States and teachers from around the U.S. and England.