Kendi, I., & Nation Books, I. [Author Photo]. Retrieved August 7, 2017, from https://www.ibramxkendi.com

The Interview Project: A Conversation with Historian Ibram X. Kendi

One of the benefits of writing for the Office of Intellectual Freedom, this past year, has been to recognize the amazing work done by a variety of people who continually promote and protect the right of free expression in this country. The work of advocating, facilitating and protecting intellectual freedoms is important activity, and is often carried out by everyday people. I thought it would be useful to speak with those whose work is dependent on intellectual freedom, and how libraries impact who they are and what they do.

Prison

The Mass Book Banning in Texas Prisons

If we are truly standing for intellectual freedom, which includes the freedom to read, we must also extend our efforts to people in prison. While outrage on behalf of censorship in schools or public libraries is easier in many ways, if we ignore this issue in Texas prisons, we are absolutely neglecting the over 2 million Americans imprisoned nationwide.

"We the people protect each other." Shepard Fairey red, white, blue image of African American child with long dreadlocks.

The Moral of the Story: Dialogue Cures Didacticism

Last month the question of didactic art in schools was in the spotlight when Shepard Fairey’s “We the People” posters were removed from Carroll County Public Schools classrooms after complaints that the posters were anti-Trump. School officials claimed the posters violated the district’s policy against political speech by teachers in classrooms.

Scales of Justice

Balancing Free Speech and Social Justice to Secure the Future of Intellectual Freedom

Katie Chamberlain Kritikos: The impetus for this talkback was the controversy surrounding the publication in January of this year of a children’s book called A Birthday Cake for George Washington. Because critics instantly condemned the book for its depiction of smiling slaves, publisher Scholastic Press withdrew the book and halted its distribution.

This withdrawal encapsulates the shifting social context of intellectual freedom in the United States. Traditionally, free speech advocates decry any attempt to suppress expression. A growing emphasis on social justice creates tension between the foundation and the future of intellectual freedom. This post considers the recent controversies over children’s books, trigger warnings, and free speech online to explore this crossroads of information policy.

First Amendment

The First Amendment: Indispensable and Indivisible

Judith Platt: Let me begin by saying that, not surprisingly I’m pretty close to a free speech absolutist. I believe our First Amendment and what it represents and encompasses is the basis of every other human and civil right. I do not believe we can ever hope for social justice in the absence of unfettered free speech.