Feb 21 - Virginia Proctor Powell Florence: A Life, A Legacy

Join the Oberlin Heritage Center on February 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Oberlin Public Library for a program about Oberlin College alumna Virginia Proctor Powell Florence, who was the second African American and the first African American woman to earn a professional degree in librarianship. Born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, Powell Florence graduated from high school in Pittsburgh and then followed her mother's footsteps to Oberlin College where she graduated in 1919. She then earned a Bachelor of Library Science degree from the Pittsburgh Carnegie Library School. Her 40-year career included positions in public libraries and schools in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia. During her lifetime she faced discrimination in her choice of studies and career opportunities and was active in Civil Rights organizations.


The program presenter, Eboni Johnson, is the Outreach and Program Librarian of Oberlin College and has championed research and recognition of Virginia Proctor Powell Florence. Johnson earned a BA from Oberlin College and MLIS from Kent State University. She loves empowering students to conduct their own research and is interested in diversity and social justice in libraries, including creating frameworks to help underrepresented people be more visible in library and archival collections. This program, offered during Black History month, is free and open to the public.