Mildred L Terry Library celebrated its 66th anniversary this morning with the unveiling of a mural dedicated to remembering Columbus’ African American narrative. The Mildred L Terry library is the first public library for African Americans in Columbus and today the community commemorated the library’s past and what they see in the future within the Columbus community.
Local artist Najee Dorsey unveiled his 40 ft wide mural at Mildred L Terry. Dorsey says this mural represents the history in the community that is no longer seen in liberty district today.
“Stories untold are stories forgotten and remember there was a sacrifice for the library to exist and you know we still have work to do as a community as a country, but representation is important,” Dorsey said.
The multimedia collage features branch managers Mildred Terry, Helene Watson, and current manager Sylvia Bunn. Rasheeda Ali says she connects with the Booker T. Washington image in the mural as it reminds her of her childhood.
“I go back to being born in the apartments back in 1947, I don’t mind saying,”Ali said.
The Booker T Washington Apartments were demolished in 2015 and was replaced with Columbus Commons Affordable Housing Complex. Ali says she agrees with Dorsey and feels that her story is being told.
“To see the building there even though I know that they tore it down but this is a part of history and so now this history won’t be lost,” Ali said.
Dorsey features influential people who grew up in the area and considers the mural the Mount Rushmore for the community. Former manager Helene Watson says seeing everyone come out to support this mural reminds her when she used to visit the library as a young girl.
“I remember Ms. Terry, I remember her workers here when I was growing up and sometimes she would have to run us home and say it’s time to go home the library is closing,”Watson said.
Watson says she hopes the mural will encourage people in the community to not only visit but encourage people to spend more time reading.
The mural also features the Fifth Avenue School, which was one of three schools open to African Americans until the 1930s and closed in the late ’70s. Watson says although there are no schools nearby she hopes this encourages children in the community to stop by.
Director of Chattahoochee Valley Libraries tells News3 they plan to put a timeline under the mural to explain important events that correspond with the mural and the liberty district.