Philadelphia Celebrates Black History Month By Launching The Little Free(dom) Library

The goal of the Little Free(dom) Library project is to elevate the voices of black authors.

In honor of Black History Month, Visit Philadelphia has partnered with Little Free Library to launch the Little Free(dom) Library.

More than 30 states have banned books written by Black authors, according to Penn America. The Little Free(dom) library is fighting back by making those books accessible to readers in the area. The library will be giving away 1,500 banned books at one of its 13 locations across the city.

“Philadelphia strives to be a welcoming destination where every person can feel a sense of belonging,” said Angela Val, president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia, in a press release.

Val expressed the importance of acknowledging and celebrating the nuances of American history.

“We want travelers and residents to know that in Philadelphia, Black history is American history, and Black stories are worth telling and sharing,” she said.

The Little Free(dom) Library project will include a video series featuring Joyce Abbott, actress Quinta Brunson’s sixth-grade teacher and the inspiration behind her Emmy Award-winning show Abbott Elementary

“With over 30 years of experience as an educator in the Philadelphia public school system, ensuring students have access to Black history and stories holds great significance for me. I hope individuals will find inspiration in the books they discover and deepen their understanding of the contributions of Black people in this country,” Abbott said. 

Philly natives Marc Lamont Hill and Dr. Christina Afia Harris will also appear in the video series, reading excerpts from one of the library’s banned books. 

The featured books will include Nikole Hannah-Jones’ The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, George M Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto, and James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time.

All books were purchased from Black-owned bookstores in the greater Philadelphia area, including Hakim’s Bookstore, Harriet’s Bookshop, Uncle Bobby’s Coffee & Books, and The Black Reserve Bookstore. 

Visit The Little Free(dom) Library’s website for book descriptions and library locations.

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