Helping a Boy They Didn’t Know

In the 1950s an African American teenager visited his local library.  The boy was Olly Neal.  Olly  found a book that he liked and wanted to check it out.  But he noticed some girls that he knew were volunteering.  He figured they would see him check out the book and tell his friends.  That would ruin his reputation for being pretty much good for nothing.  He decided to steal the book.

When he finished the book, he returned it to where he found it.  He was delighted to see another book by the same author.  He “stole” that one, too.  And returned it to find another book by the same author.  This happened about 5 times.

Years later, he learned that the librarian, Mildred Grady, saw him steal the first book.  Mildred realized what Olly’s predicament was and said nothing.  But she did something — Mildred and a friend went hunting for more books by the same rather obscure author.  This way, they supported the fledgling reader.

That troubled teen is now a judge.

Here’s the link to the story and audio.


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