Juneteenth – Literary Freedom

Happy Juneteenth! As we celebrate Freedom Day, let’s support Black bookstores and creators. Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati, founder of the African American Children’s Book Project, is offering hundreds of titles in The Literary Cafe – Books & Events store. From board books through YA, she has curated a list to build home, school and library collections. Read about what Juneteenth means to her and her mission. Then visit her online bookstore and spread the word.

By Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati

President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.  As the nation reflects and celebrates this milestone, The African American Children’s Book Project (AACBP) and The Literary Cafe – Books & Events are reminded of laws in the United States that had prevented Black people from being able to read, write and spell.  The paragraph below highlights this injustice.

The Alabama Slave Code of 1833 included the following law: “ Any person who shall attempt to teach any free person of color, or slave, to spell, read or write, shall upon conviction thereof by indictment, be fined in a sum of not less than two hundred fifty dollars, nor more than five hundred dollars (about $7,000 today).”  

An enslaved person could be severely punished (beaten) if suspect of reading. There were similar laws in other states.

Harpers Weekly also published an article that stated “the alphabet is an abolitionist. If you would keep a people enslaved, refuse to teach them to read.” 

For the past 30 years as founder of the African American Children’s Book Project, I’ve used our platform to showcase the amazing Black literary talent in this country.  These books have empowered, enlightened and enriched thousands of people in this country – especially Black people who now have free will to read, write and spell. Our mantra is “A Book Opens up a World of Opportunities” because we know the power of being able to read.  So honor our ancestors by supporting Black children’s books – bookshop.org/shop/theliterarycafe.

The JUNETEENTH – LITERARY FREEDOM collection represents some of the best books of our generation and showcases the Black experience from over 125 literary voices.

Preserve A Legacy, Buy A Book – PASS THE WORD . . .


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