Activist who helped desegregate Birmingham library dies

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Miles College student Shelly Millender, standing in suit, is shown during an effort to desegregate the public library in Birmingham, Ala., on April 10, 1963. Millender, a Black Army veteran who helped peacefully desegregate an Alabama city’s library with a sit-in protest in 1963, died on Saturday, July 17, 2021, according to the library and an obituary published by his family. He was 86. (Birmingham News/Alabama Department of Archives and History via AP)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A Black Army veteran who helped peacefully desegregate Birmingham’s city library with a sit-in protest in 1963 has died.

The library and an obituary say Shelly Millender Jr. of Birmingham died on Saturday. He was 86.

Millender already was a veteran when he attended Miles College, where he was student government president and became active in the civil rights movement.

He was among the students who staged a sit-in at the main downtown library on April 10, 1963, to demonstrate against a policy that banned Black people. Library leaders agreed to end segregation afterward.

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