Black Syracuse Project Presents “Black & Banned”

Syracuse University’s group The Black Syracuse Project (BSP) is in the process of putting on “Black & Banned” a Community Read-Out events series in coordination with Banned Books Week, a week that annually celebrates the freedom to read.

Banned Books Week originally started in 1982 due to a sharp increase in the amount of books that were challenged in schools, libraries and bookstores, and was created to draw attention to the problem of censorship.

This year’s Banned Books Week is taking place Sept. 22 through 28 and will be a collaboration between Syracuse University students and faculty, the Beauchamp Branch of the Onondaga County Public Library and three community based groups – F.OR.C.E. (Focusing Out Resources for Community Enlightenment), Lit’ for Life (a literacy project) and the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company.

Friday, Sept. 27, a Campus Read-In will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. at the MLK Library in 231 Sims Hall, Syracuse University. At the Read-In, banned books (challenged books due to content) will be read that are by and about African-Americans.

To register as a reader for the event, email or visit MLK Library by Wednesday, Sept 25.

African-American authors have always had to deal with the problem of censorship, and the present is no different. Popular books such as “Beloved” by Tony Morrison, “The Learning Tree” by Gordon Parks and “The Land” by Mildred Taylor, have all experienced banning from schools, libraries and bookstores. Banned Books Week wants to reinforce the idea that people should be able to read what they want and not be restricted by others.

Readers attending the events will be provided with books to read aloud, and will also receive a bookmark, button and banned books list. They will also be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a book.

For more information, contact Joan Bryant, BSP’s initiative coordinator and Syracuse Associate Professor, by email at or by phone at (315) 443-4399.

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