In the era of segregation, access to public libraries was often denied to Black Americans in the United States. In response to this, several organizations and individuals launched "bookmobiles" or "mobile libraries" to bring books to Black communities. These mobile libraries were typically converted vehicles, such as buses, that were filled with books and taken to communities that did not have access to traditional library services.
One notable example was the "Pack Horse Library Project" in Kentucky, which was established in the 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The project employed women to deliver books on horseback to the remote and impoverished areas of the state. These women, known as "book women," braved difficult terrain, harsh weather conditions, and often dangerous situations to bring books and other reading materials to those in need.
Another example is the "Freedom Library Express" in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. This mobile library was operated by volunteers and used a truck to deliver books, newspapers, and other materials to Black communities that had been denied access to public libraries. The Freedom Library Express played a crucial role in the education and empowerment of Black Americans during a time of deep racial segregation and inequality.
These mobile libraries were an important means of bringing books and educational resources to communities that were otherwise cut off from them. They helped to foster a love of reading and learning in many who might not otherwise have had access to these resources. The legacy of these mobile libraries can still be felt today in the continued efforts to make libraries and their resources accessible to all.
The history of black mobile libraries is an inspiring reminder of the power of literature and the importance of access to it. Celebrate this legacy by wearing our t-shirt featuring just that. It's a tribute to the past and a call to action for the present. Let's honor the legacy of Black mobile libraries and continue to promote the power of books for black people.