Our History


In 1969, E.J. Josey was appointed to the American Library Association Nominating Committee. Josey encouraged black librarians to come together at the ALA 1970 Midwinter meeting in an effort to find socially responsible black and white candidates for the 1971 ALA Council. At the meeting it was decided that ALA was not serving the needs of black library professionals and a Black Caucus was formed to address concerns. E.J. Josey was elected chairman of the Black Caucus and the first two goals of the organization were to present a formal Statement of Concern to the ALA and to submit a resolution to the ALA Council that would censure libraries and librarians providing materials and services to private segregated schools that were formed in order to avoid integration.

In 1992 the Black Caucus became formally affiliated with ALA and a scholarship fund named after E.J. Josey was created to provide African Americans with financial assistance for the persuit of a graduate level library and information studies degree. This year also marked the first National Conference of African American Librarians (NCAAL). In 1995 the group celebrated its 25th anniversary and revised its mission statement to read as it currently does today.

BCALA Mission: The Black Caucus of the American Library Association serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation’s African American community; and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians.

Past Presidents

E.J. Josey, 1970-1971
William D. Cunningham, 1971-1973
James R. Wright, 1973-1974
Harry Robinson, Jr., 1974-1976
Avery Williams, 1976-1978
Dr. George C. Grant, 1978-1980
Doreitha R. Madden, 1980-1982
Robert L. Wright, 1982-1984
Barbara Williams Jenkins, 1984-1986
Marva L. DeLoach, 1986-1988
Edith M. Fisher, 1988-1990
John C. Tyson, 1990-1992
D. Alex Boyd, 1992-1994
Stanton F. Biddle, 1994-1996
Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin, 1996-1998
Gregory Reese, 1998-2000
Gladys Smiley Bell, 2000-2002
Bobby Player, 2002-2004
Andrew P. Jackson, (Sekou Molefi Baako) 2004-2006
Wanda Brown, 2006-2008
Karolyn S. Thompson, 2008-2010
Jos N. Holman, 2010-2012
Jerome Offord, Jr, 2012-2014
Kelvin A. Watson, 2014-2016