we’re not asking politely

We Are Not Asking Politely: How letter writers won the campaign to rename the library tells the story of how D.C.’s downtown central library became the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. 

Only months after Dr. King’s assassination, District residents organized a letter-writing campaign to name their new, modernist library for the slain civil rights leader. Their activism reveals a larger story about how Black-majority D.C. began to exercise its power. The exhibit features selected letters sent to the Library’s Board of Trustees from 1970-1971, and highlights of few of the individuals who were part of the effort. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – Central Library 901 G St NW Washington DC 20001

The exhibition, which is sponsored by the DC Public Library Foundation, is on display on the west side of the Great Hall at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library from Jan. 17 – Mar. 31, 2022.

All letters in this exhibition are part of the DC Public Library Records, housed in The People’s Archive at DC Public Library. 

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