Thursday, February 11, 2021

My Book Angel

The death of Meredith Coleman Anding, one of the Tougaloo Nine who helped to integrate the public library in Jackson, Mississippi, leads me to think about my library experiences. The public library in Jackson was probably integrated somewhere around 1964 when I was a young child. My parents were separated during this time period. My father took with him the only car our family owned, which did not matter because my mother did not drive, therefore, I have no memories of visiting public libraries as a child.

My Aunt Alice was my book angel. Aunt Alice was pleased with herself when she landed a job as a custodian in a public school after working several years as a domestic. She would have better wages, health insurance, a Christmas Club bank account, and a pension plan. Since she lived next door to me, her joy spread to our household. I was happy she was happy knowing there might be more oreo cookies in my future.

Alice Durr Dent

During the school year, she would bring home a book or two, but mostly magazines. The children's magazine Highlights was my favorite. The end of the school year was almost as good as Christmas. Boxes of discarded books and magazines, crayons, puzzles, erasers, etc. would be welcomed in our home.

I don't know if she knew how much joy those gifts of love brought to this niece who enjoyed books. Thank you, Aunt Alice, for being my book angel.


  1. What a wonderful memory. I had a great aunt Alice. Most of my memories of her are rather sad though.

    1. She was a generous aunt who also introduced me to jigsaw puzzles.

  2. What a lovely story about your aunt and how she supported your love of reading. My favorite spot in our public library was sitting at the little bench under the stairs in the tiny room in the courthouse where the library was housed.