In December 2021, we received a package that had been refused by the mailroom at the South Central Correctional Center in Clifton, Tennessee. Among other books, it contained a copy of Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary by Walter Dean Meyers, an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. On the invoice we sent with the books, a prison staff member had written, "Malcolm X not allowed."
This instance of rare candor drew national attention as we shared it over social media. Books to Prisoners was able to spotlight how capricious decisions by prison staff create a regime of censorship that enforces discrimination against authors and subjects from marginalized groups, especially Afro-Americans.
Malcolm X Biography Donation Rejected by Tennessee Prison, Book Riot, 1/7/22
Opinion: Prison systems insist on banning books by Black authors. It’s time to end the censorship. Written by BtP board members Andy Chan and Michelle Dillon. Washington Post, 1/12/22
Tennessee prisons ban Malcolm X, block subscription to the "Militant", The Militant, 2/5/22
Incarcerated people have few ways to fight back against censorship in prisons, Prism Reports, 3/23/22
In prison, knowledge is power - How publications are restricted in Indiana prisons, Indiana Daily Student, 3/27/22
The Cruel Practice of Banning Books Behind Bars, Vera 4/2/22
Book bans in prison cut inmates' lifeline to outside world, Yahoo! News, 5/23/22