Book of the Week

book cover with title and author

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

“In 1939 five African American men were arrested for reading silently in a Virginia public library. As Mike Selby convincingly shows, the story of American libraries encapsulates the heart of the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle for American democracy more broadly. Selby deftly marshals an array of sources to document the stories of the enterprising and brave Americans who insisted on library access during the terror and disparities of Jim Crow. The local African American communities who collaborated with black and white civil rights workers to build Freedom Libraries, despite the violent retributions of white authorities and communities, were often risking their lives to access books which were themselves propaganda to justify the regime of racial oppression. These never before compiled, finely detailed accounts shed further light on the profound malevolence of white supremacy – in word and deed – a disturbing part of our shared history that must be recognized, as well as chronicle the astonishing courage of those who challenged it that must be remembered.— Christina Proenza-Coles, author of American Founders.” — Provided by publisher


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