Lillian Sunshine Haydon was born on February 24, 1889 in Evansville, IN and lived until April 23,1958. In January of 1915, she began working as an apprentice at the Cherry Street Branch of the Evansville Public Library after graduating from Fisk University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Later that year, she would be sent to the Indiana Public Library Commission’s Summer School for Libraries, giving her a formal education in library science.
Hall resigned from the Cherry Street Library upon invitation from IMCPL to become the founding leader of the Laurence Dunbar Branch in School 26. Six years later, Hall would head the library at the newly constructed Crispus Attucks high school until 1956. The next year, Hall would attend the ALA 50th annual conference in West Baden, Indiana – where African Americans were not afforded the same accommodations as their white peers. She and other Black attendees would stay at the Waddy Hotel, as the West Baden Springs hotel was not yet integrated.
The creation of the Center for Black Literature & Culture is made possible thanks to a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.