American Library Association joins American Historical Association’s condemnation of the 1776 Commission’s Report

For Immediate Release
Fri, 01/29/2021


Stephanie Hlywak


Communications and Marketing Office

American Library Association

(312) 280-5042

CHICAGO — The American Library Association’s Executive Board has signed on to a statement from the American Historical Association that condemns the Advisory 1776 Commission report from the previous administration that “reject[s] recent efforts to understand the multiple ways the institution of slavery shaped our nation’s history.” Of its decision to cosign the statement, ALA said:

The American Library Association (ALA) (including the Reference & Users Services Association and the Association of College and Research Libraries) has endorsed the American Historical Association’s (AHA) statement condemning the 1776 Commission’s report. As a professional association of librarians, ALA recognizes that it has a social responsibility to support efforts to “inform and educate the people of the United States on [the critical problems of society] and to encourage them to examine the many views on and the facts regarding each problem” (ALA Policy Manual A.1.1 Mission Priority Areas, Goals). 

The 1776 Report, in contrast, represents, as the AHA writes, “an apparent attempt to reject recent efforts to understand the multiple ways the institution of slavery shaped our nation’s history. The authors call for a form of government indoctrination of American students, and in the process elevate ignorance about the past to a civic virtue.” The report attacks our education system as a whole and specifically American universities, calling them ”hotbeds of anti-Americanism, libel, and censorship.” Notably, no professional historians were included on or consulted by the 1776 Commission.

The ALA stands with the AHA and the many other professional organizations that have cosigned this statement in support of teaching and promoting accurate and fact-based history. The study of history is often uncomfortable and difficult to reckon with; we should still pursue these hard conversations and truths.

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