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Dean’s Message, February 2021

Recognizing a Community Hero in Celebration of Black History Month

Since I first started as dean at the Marriott Library, I have been quite impressed with the variety of art work displayed throughout the building. During my first year at the U, I was speaking with a faculty member who mentioned Alberta Henry. I was immediately intrigued, and not just because we share the same, somewhat uncommon, first name. As I learned about this remarkable woman, a Utah civil rights activist who worked tirelessly for equality, I learned that the library’s art collection included a portrait of her. I asked that her portrait be moved to a more prominent location; it now hangs outside the administration suite on the fifth floor to serve as a visual reminder to both library staff and visitors of the important work that she did and her call to action that still resonates today.

I urge you to learn more about this remarkable trailblazer through the Alberta Henry papers in Special Collections, which are freely available to use. Additionally, the University of Utah Press has published an excellent biography of Alberta Henry by Colleen Whitley, Feed My Sheep: the Life of Alberta Henry . I also invite you to explore the UU Libraries’ Statement and to explore a list of anti-racism resources at U of U Libraries’ Statement and Anti-Racism Task Force.

Alberta Comer

Dean of Libraries

  • Necia Christensen
    Posted at 19:31h, 16 February Reply

    I met her several times as I was working on my thesis (computer ate it and my desire to finish it was crushed). She also was an amazing enthusiast for Light Rail at the U. As I served 19 years in the UTA Board of Trustees, I believe she had my number on speed dial to make sure TTAX came to the U and then went to the Hospital complex.

  • Robert Paul Huefner
    Posted at 23:17h, 17 February Reply

    Thanks for reminding us of Alberta Henry’s life. We were together in high school (Granite) and at the U (as students, faculty, and administrators). She did much, in quiet and public ways to improve the purposes and sensitivities of the academic cultures of the U and of the evolving Utah cultures generally.

    she made so many c ontributions to the advancement of purpose and undedrstanding

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