Another shackle of slavery
The push to ban books across this country has become increasingly disturbing, as numerous ill-informed, willfully ignorant Conservative politicians and elected officials seize the opportunity and latch on to the topic. As a result, when a public library refuses to remove banned books, they have been threatened with a loss of funding. School curriculum and literature are not within the purview of the Conservative movement, yet they consistently include matters such as L.G.B.T.Q. and teaching children about racial inequality in their ridiculous talking points.
This issue is also personal to me. I think of my first visit to a public library where my brother Winston took me when I was 10 years old. Our family had just settled in Detroit after leaving Montgomery Alabama and joining the Great Migration. In those days, Negroes were not allowed entry into public libraries in Southern states, so this was my very first experience entering one. And on this visit, I discovered a book called “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl”, which became my reading obsession for months. Today, I cannot imagine having been denied the extraordinary privilege of learning this story. I also think of another connection in my own family, as relating to my paternal grandfather, Elmore Shakespeare Willis, who was born in Montgomery in 1892. I have always been fascinated by the fact that he was given the middle name “Shakespeare”, because according to Alabama’s archived census records, his mother was a former slave, and based upon the year of his birth, my great-grandmother was either reading at a time in this country when it was against the law for slaves to read or be taught to read, or she had access to reading material or was being read to. In any case, she had some knowledge of the English playwright and poet. As the old saying goes: “READING IS FUNDAMENTAL.”