Cynthia Graham Hurd, a head librarian with the Charleston County Library’s John L. Dart Branch, died June 17, 2015, in the mass shooting in Charleston.
he massacre of nine people on June 17 at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston, South Carolina, is a tragedy of national proportions. I feel strongly that this is a time for all Americans to act in whatever way we can to address the racial hatred that lives on in our country in ways both great and small. This is the second in a series of poems honoring the victims of the Charleston shooting.
“Eulogy: For Cynthia Hurd”
A true public servant
A woman of faith
She was always a very smart young lady
She loved reading from a very young age
Although she had no children, she had a community full of children
She touched the lives of thousands of people
Her loss is incomprehensible
Charleston Public Schools; Clark Atlanta University;
University of South Carolina; a self-proclaimed “book-nerd,”
you returned to the community that raised you in order to
raise it in return. You encouraged children as new readers,
watched them grow as they worked on homework assignments,
filled out college and job applications and, ultimately,
returned to the library with children of their own.
The library, that most egalitarian institution,
like the church you loved, turned no one away;
your story ends at Mother Emanuel,
but the library, that bastion of liberty,
mother of many
will forever bear your name.
The words that open this poem (and some of those in the second half as well) are those of Cynthia Hurd’s brother and others who knew her. She was an employee of the Charleston County Public Library system for thirty-one years and the manager of the St. Andrews Regional Library, which Charleston City Council member Elliott Summey announced at a recent press conference will henceforth bear her name. More information about Cynthia Hurd and the legacy she leaves is available from the Charleston County Public Library system.