As if we needed another reason to mourn the death of music legend Prince, it turns out he helped preserve a little bit of Louisville history.

Louisville Free Public Library confirmed to Insider that in 2001 the musician donated $12,000 to LFPL to support the Western Branch Library, which over the years had faced threats of closure. He asked that the award be kept silent.

LFPL spokesman Paul Burns said the funds were “designated for community building efforts at Western.”

Prince Check
Courtesy of LFPL

CEO of Main Events Sports Radio and activist Haven Harrington III posted the following message on his Facebook page shortly after the death of Prince was announced on Thursday afternoon:

A little known Prince factoid. When Prince read that Louisville was going close the Western Branch Library ( which is the first full service library for African Americans in country) he wrote a $10,000 check to the Western Branch Library Association to support the library.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 3.49.38 PMLouisville Western Branch Library opened in 1905 as the first library in the nation to provide services exclusively for the African-American community, utilizing only African-American staff.

Albert Meyzeek, during his tenure as principal of Central High School, was concerned about the lack of adequate reference and reading materials at his school, and he argued to the City Library Committee that African-Americans should have access to a library. He succeeded.

Before the library was built — one of nine Carnegie libraries in the LFPL system — the city rented three rooms of a private residence at 1125 W. Chestnut St.

The Western Branch Library is located at 604 S. 10th St.

People have been responding to Harrington’s post with surprise and several people said they’d been helping keep the secret. One poster asked why she’d never heard about this, and Harrington responded, “He didn’t want people to know. He just wanted to do the right thing without a lot of fanfare and accolades.”

Prince’s website is currently down, with the message: “It’s a testament to Prince’s influence and popularity as well as unique ability to touch people that we sadly can’t handle the worldwide interest right now. The prince.org family mourns, and wishes peace and love to his family of all kinds. He certainly will be eternal in the minds of his fans.”

Prince, 57, was found dead in an elevator in his home in Minnesota this morning.



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