Library suggests locations for plaque recognizing Holt family slaves


Library suggests locations for plaque recognizing Holt family slaves

By MATT BLOIS

The Library Board came up with several suggestions for the location of a plaque recognizing the slaves of a family that donated millions of dollars to the library.

The city’s historic commission has already recommended prominently displaying a plaque recognizing the contributions that slaves made to the Holt family’s wealth.

At a meeting last week, the Library Board suggested three possible locations for the plaque.

Brentwood resident Inetta Gaines, who has advocated for a plaque to recognize the family’s slaves, suggested placing it outside the main entrance above a bench. Another option is the outer lobby, where the library already has several places recognizing people who have contributed to the library. The board also discussed placing the plaque on a column next to the entrance to the main part of the library.

In her will, O’Delle K. Holt gave the library more than $4 million, and the city renamed the library in honor of her late husband John P. Holt. They didn’t own slaves themselves, but much the money for the donation came from the sale of a Holt family property on Crockett Road.

The Brentwood Home Page has previously reported that Gaines and Wanda Bruce Graham argued that slave labor on that property sustained the family and contributed to its wealth. They said that the large donation to the library wouldn’t have been possible without those slaves, and they have advocated for a plaque to recognize that fact.

The City Commission supported that idea, but the city is still working on what it would look like and what the plaque will say. The Historic Commission will still need to vote on the final language. 

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