Before she was hired as Clearwater's first African-American librarian in 1949, Morris, 89, had never been inside a public library. Local segregation practices did not encourage African-Americans to visit. Morris, who studied English at Bethune-Cookman University and library science at the University of South Florida, went on to work for the Clearwater library system until 1983. In 2002, when the $1.3 million North Greenwood library was unveiled, the city recognized "Miss Chris'' with a plaque above the African-American collection. Although Morris admits her eyesight "isn't what it used to be,'' she still considers herself an avid bookworm. She is also a published writer with November's release of Christine Wigfall Morris: Stories of Family, Community, and History, co-written with Barbara Sorey. It takes a look at African-American culture in the Clearwater area in the 20th century as well as chronicling Morris' family.
What's on your nightstand?
I've got to say that the Bible is my most popular read. I'm also reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It takes a look at what life was like right before integration by taking several stories of women's lives. It's about women who worked as the help at country clubs and inside people's homes. It's a good read and seems pretty accurate of that time.
Who would you recommend it to?
I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good book and wants to learn the history of that era. It was through one of the ladies that belong to my church that highly recommended it to me. I enjoyed the way the author put it all together, through so many stories.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer