Review: Freedom Libraries

Amy's Scrap Bag: A Blog About Libraries, Archives, and History

Freedom Libraries: The Untold Story of Libraries for African Americans in the South by Mike Selby

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2019. Hardcover, 208 pages.Cover: Freedom Libraries

Set amidst the turmoil of the Civil Rights era, concerned individuals of all ethnic groups found a way to bring literacy and education to African Americans in the South.  In 1964, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) decided to take books southward and create libraries for African Americans who could not us the segregated, “Whites-Only” libraries.  And this is in an era when the libraries, despite federal law, were desegregated on paper but found other ways to keep non-whites out. This led to the Freedom Libraries movement over that summer.  Northerners and other supporters donated millions of books to establish the libraries. Volunteers came from college campuses nationwide plus from other supporters. While many were African American, Whites and Latinos also joined the effort.

Upon arrival…

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