Awarded annually to African American students enrolled in, or accepted by, ALA accredited programs. A list of the current year's award winner and past award winners are available.
For other ALA-administered scholarship awards, see the ALA Scholarship Program page.
An annual award of $500 presented to the librarian who has made significant contributions to promoting the status of African Americans in the library profession. Past Winners > >>
The Trailblazer's Award is the highest award given by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. It is presented once every five years in recognition of an individual whose pioneering contributions have been outstanding and unique, and whose efforts have "blazes a trail" in the profession. Past winners >>
Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) has continued to be an integral part of the library literature during the thirty-five year history of the organization. As the organization has grown, so too has the amount of literature. The heading “Black caucus” was first indexed in Library Literature in 1970. Listed under that heading were six articles: two on segregation, three on the caucus, and an article about the concern for Black librarians. Today, about one hundred articles can be found within electronic databases and references. The following bibliography is a brief historical overview of what has been written about BCALA since 1970.
“ALA Black Caucus.” Wilson Library Bulletin. 46 (1971): 24.
“Black Caucus awarded its first award for distinguished service to librarianship to Mrs. Clara S. Jones.” American Libraries. 1 (1970): 734.
Black Caucus of the American Library Association membership directory. Chicago, IL: The Caucus, 1980.
“Black Caucus vetoes “patching”: the speaker stands as is.” American Libraries. 8 (1977): 405-406.
Crawford, D. R. “Black librarians’ caucus of the American Library Association as seen by itself: materials for a history.” Research Paper. Kent State University, 1974 (72 pages).
Eshelman, William R. “ALA Black caucus raps ALA execdirector.” Wilson Library Bulletin. 48 (1974): 371.
Josey, E. J. “Affirmative Action for Blacks and other minority librarians.” Negro History Bulletin. 38 (1975): 423-427.
Wilkins, J. “Searching for minority power in Washington.” American Libraries. 6 (1975): 672. Read More >>
Diversity and Equity Through Unity: A Brief History of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association
"I have sometimes looked with wonder on the jargon of our times wherein those whose words reside in the past are called progressive while those whose words are vital enough to challenge and mold the future are dubbed 'reactionary'."
-Jomo Mzee Kenyatta Suffering Without Bitterness (1968)
In the 1960s, black people throughout America, including black librarians, were seriously concerned about the state of the country and its survival as a beacon of democracy. The roots of the Black Caucus extend from that tumultuous period. Starting in 1970, the birth of the Black Caucus has changed the profession and will continue to indubitably impact American librarianship.
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Past BCALA Presidents
A History of Blacks in Librarianship