Activist who helped desegregate Birmingham library dies


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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