Acclaimed Author Ibram X. Kendi to headline Rally for the Right to Read before ALA Conference

For Immediate Release
Mon, 06/05/2023


Shawnda Hines

Deputy Director, Communications

Public Policy & Advocacy Office

American Library Association

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) and Unite Against Book Bans will host a Rally for the Right to Read: Uniting for Libraries & Intellectual Freedom at the Chicago Hilton on Thursday, June 22, 2023. Part of the 2023 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition (June 22-27), the program will feature anti-censorship activists from around the nation, the 2023 recipients of ALA intellectual freedom awards and internationally renowned author and scholar Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.

As library professionals convene amidst an unprecedented surge in censorship of library materials, the more than 75 national Unite Against Book Bans partners will honor the courage and resilience of America's librarians and their persevering work to protect the freedom to read. The Rally for the Right to Read will recognize the 2023 recipients of the Freedom to Read Foundation's Roll of Honor Award, the Eli M. Oboler Award, the John Phillip Immroth Award and the Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award.

“Day in and day out, ALA works with library staff in every corner of the country who are under fire for serving everyone in their communities,” ALA President Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada said, “The Rally for the Right to Read is an opportunity to hear the stories of library professionals and community activists who are fighting on the front lines to preserve the freedom to read. We are grateful to have Dr. Kendi, a relentless activist as well as a distinguished author, to uplift as well as galvanize us to activate library users on our behalf.”

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is a National Book Award-winning author of fourteen books for adults and children, including nine New York Times bestsellers—five of which were #1 New York Times bestsellers. He is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News racial justice contributor. Dr. Kendi is the author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, making him the youngest author to win that award. He has also authored the international bestseller How to Be an Antiracist; How to Be a (Young) Antiracist, co-authored with Nic Stone; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds; and Antiracist Baby, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky; and edited Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, with Keisha Blain. He was awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the Genius Grant. Stamped from the Beginning: A Graphic History of Racist Ideas in America, adapted and illustrated by Joel Christian Gill, and the paperback of How to Raise an Antiracist will both be released on June 6, 2023.

The Rally for the Right to Read begins at 6:00 p.m. An ALA Annual Conference badge or a receipt for conference registration must be presented (printed or visible on a mobile device). Admission is free, and donations to the Unite Against Book Bans campaign are encouraged. 

Bringing together thousands of librarians and library staff, authors, publishers, educators and exhibitors, the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition is the largest library event in the world.