My local library decided to put books on display for reading with a huge banner saying “Black History Month”. It was October, and they thought it would only be right to focus on their history and struggle. However, the book stand had a measly 7 books, and that is the total of their stock throughout the whole of the county, covering 6 libraries, which was originally 12 libraries at the beginning of the year.
The list of the books are as follows:
- A long way from paradise: surviving the Rwandan genocide by Leah Chishugi
- Collected poems: her blue body everything we know earthling poems, 1965–1990 by Alice Walker
- Jesse Owens: a biography by Jacqueline Edmondson
- Maya Angelou: the complete poetry
- Paradise Lost: Haiti’s tumultuous journey from Pearl of the Caribbean to Third World hot spot by Philippe R. Girard
- The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood by Elspeth Huxley
- Windrush songs by James Berry
Nothing about Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandella, or even Martin Luther King Jr. I decided to challenge them about their tiny collection and asked for The Colour Purple, this was not to be seen, Neither was Maya Angelou’s biography, which in itself is 7 books alone. I thought I would challenge them a bit more and asked for Rosa’s Bus and was met with blank faces, I tried for Civil Rights next, and shock of shocks they had 5 books which were all out of stock apart from one, which in all honesty was piss poor. The one in stock was “1 December 1955: Rosa Parks And Her Protest For Civil Rights”, a whopping 31-page book in the kid’s section. I looked at the poor clerk, shook my head, pointed at the sign, and said before leaving the library with my books “You need to increase your reading material, this is a very important part of history, and to pass off 7 books as a ‘History’ is drastically shameful. I suggest for next year researching it fully. This is an institute for learning and not a place to gloss over the struggle of the Black people of the world. Embrace it and show more respect for those who have struggled to be accepted like you and me.
Needless to say, he did not reply, just hung his head in shame.