Branches - South

History of the Cornelia Crenshaw Branch Library

The library, which was dedicated in 1981, still stands and plays an important role in the Vance Community. In the past Vance Library offered adult education and literacy classes. The library also provided books for city schools before the schools were required to have their own libraries. Now, the library has a large volume of books, computers for children and adults, educational games, videos, music on compact disc, books on tape and cd, big books, comics, a parent and teacher section, magazines for all ages, and a computer dedicated to the magazines and databases to which the library system subscribes. The Mid-South Business Journal adopted Vance Library in 1992 and sponsors a special Children's Christmas Event each year.

City councilman Rickey Peete's proposal to rename the Vance Branch Library to Cornelia Crenshaw was approved in 1997. Cornelia Crenshaw was born March 25, 1916 in Millington, Tennessee and she died February 19, 1994. Mrs. Crenshaw lived in the Vance community at 603 Vance Avenue for many years. At age 49, she became a full-time community activist. Although her repeated attempts to secure a public office through the election process failed, she is remembered as a courageous community activist who was outspoken and persistent. She was active in the 1960 Civil Rights Movement and was considered "a dedicated champion of justice and equity." One of her most memorable contributions is the part she played in helping to convince Memphis Light Gas & Water "to accept partial payments from low income citizens to prevent their service form being cut off and having to pay huge fees to reconnect it."

For more information on Cornelia Crenshaw visit the Memphis Room located at the Central Library of the Memphis & Public Library and Information Center