National Black Literacy Day Date in the current year: February 14, 2024

National Black Literacy Day National Black Literacy Day is celebrated annually on February 14. It was created to raise awareness of the literacy gap in poor communities of color, support initiatives that strive to bridge this gap, and celebrate Black authors and Black-owned bookstores.

Even though America has come a long way since slavery, racial gaps still persist in many spheres of life, including education. According to statistics, white students usually receive higher scores on literacy assessment tests than Black students, Black and Hispanic students have lower graduation rates, fewer Black students take AP courses than white students, etc.

Does this mean that Black students are less intelligent than white students? Of course it doesn’t. The racial gap in literacy and education stems from the historic and systemic racism of American society. For years, people of color didn’t have the same educational opportunities as white Americans, and it still shows.

It is a kind of vicious circle: unequal educational opportunities in the past have led to economic disparity in the present, which in turn further limits educational opportunities for students of color. Even though there is no segregation, discrimination and inequality still exist. This is why it is so important to help students who are neither white nor wealthy to reach their full potential.

National Black Literacy Day was launched by DL Mullen, the owner of Semicolon (the only Black woman-owned bookstore in Chicago). Mullen opened her bookstore in the summer 2019, and it quickly became a vibrant cultural hub. About a year and a half later, she came up with the idea of National Black Literacy Day to fight the educational gap created by racial inequality through promoting reading in underprivileged communities.

National Black Literacy Day is observed on February 14 for several reasons. First, it falls in the middle of Black History Month in the United States and Canada. Second, February 14 is the birthday of Frederick Douglass, a renowned social reformer, abolitionist, author, orator, and statesman who was the most important leader of the African-American civil rights movement in the 19th century. And, last but not least, it is Valentine’s Day – a perfect day to share your love for reading with underprivileged communities.

There are many ways to get involved with National Black Literacy Day. You can donate money or books to an organization that promotes literacy in marginalized communities, volunteer for your local literacy program, help organize a National Black Literacy Day event at a local independent bookshop or library, read a book by a Black author, support a POC-owned bookstore, and spread the word on social media with the hashtag #NationalBlackLiteracyDay.

If you decide to donate books, we suggest that you focus on books written by Black authors and/or featuring Black characters because it is important for Black kids to see themselves represented in books, as well as get inspired by Black authors and their achievements.

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