Crowd of Black Americans marching with signs: Our history, pass it on. Don't criminalize DEI. The freedom to learn is the freedom to live,

Juneteenth & Freedom Summer 2024: Defend Black History From ‘Anti-Woke’ Censorship Campaigns 

This blog post is from the African American Policy Forum, a Unite Against Book Bans partner.

Juneteenth commemorates not only the liberation of enslaved Black people but also the continuous struggle by generations of Black Americans to fight for knowledge, freedom, and equal citizenship. This annual recognition of the necessary and urgent lessons of the past is made even more critical by the current moment in which these aspirations are under assault, including through book bans that attempt to remove Black history and perspectives from public, school, and academic libraries. Today, knowledge and literacy are the targets of a coordinated repression and censorship campaign across the country.  

This year’s Juneteenth is an important time to fight back by diving into Freedom Summer 2024, taking inspiration from Freedom Summer 1964 to build our collective counter-power for education and liberation. As partners to Unite Against Book Bans, we invite fellow coalition partners and supporters to explore this special Juneteenth Jubilee Collection to jumpstart your Freedom Summer.  

  • Accept the Freedom Summer Reading Challenge, which urges readers everywhere to defy those seeking to erase Black history, one book at a time.  
  • Print and share AAPF’s Books Unbanned Book Cards. With extremists nationwide actively suppressing Black books and authors, it’s more important than ever to understand the distinction between the Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth. Books Unbanned Book Cards explain more about why this distinction is so important and provide context about efforts to ban books like Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, the foundational anthology Critical Race Theory, and other commonly banned works. 
  • Take the Freedom Reader Voter Pledge and ask 5 friends to do the same. Throughout American history, the freedom to learn has been a cornerstone of our fight for the multiracial democracy we deserve. Pledge to vote in the 2024 election, like our democracy depends on it. Because it does. 
  • Visit the Freedom Summer Calendar to find out about events taking place in defense of the freedom to learn. Subscribe to see daily reminders on your personal calendar app. If we’re going to win this fight, we must organize and act--together. 
  • Join CRT Summer School to hear from thought leaders, activists, students, and people from all backgrounds who want to learn and do more in defense of the freedom to read, learn, vote, love, and thrive. Our liberation depends on our ability to oppose the attacks being waged on libraries, education, curricula, and critical thought across the country. 

Finally, whether you represent a library, school, faith group, book group, or another community of readers, please consider planning a Freedom Summer event. The first ten people to share plans for a summer activation event by submitting the Freedom Summer Calendar Google form will receive a box by mail with items to share with your attendees, including book cards, swag items, a printed Liberation Table Guide, a selection of banned books, and more. For support planning an event, please contact AAPF.