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54 Years After Southern Library Refused Library Card to Black Teens, An Apology

These times we’re living in are really hard, and there are only so many kitten and puppy videos I can watch to lift my sprits.

So, it was honestly heart-warming to watch this post from Anis Mojgani, whose Twitter bio describes him as the “10th Poet Laureate of Oregon. Black Iranian Southern boy,” about a letter his mother received.

He posted, “Yesterday was 54 yrs since my moms & 6 other young Black folks were denied library cards in Hattiesburg MS, Freedom Summer. My brother reached out to the @hattlibrary & we watched Mom open the letter they sent. With so much trash right now, I wanted to share this with y’all”

We see Anis’ mom and dad, as she reads the letter, which says “ I am so honored to send to you this library card for the Harriesburg Library in Harris County. We have registered you under the name that should have been on the card issued to you in 1964. Your desire to obtain a library card in 1964, although unfairly denied, spoke of your realization of the power of knowledge and your commitment to your striving for the rights that were due you as a citizen. We obviously cannot undo the injustice you suffered by the Harriesburg Public Library, but I hope this card reflects how we now strive to serve our entire population. By the way, I was so happy to hear that despite your unfortunate experience at our library, you became a librarian. I know you have spent your career helping others obtain the information and resources that libraries are duty-bound to provide to their users. If the circumstances ever permit, I hope you will again visit the library. Lunch is on me. Sincerely, Shawn Farrel, Director.”

Mrs. Mojgani ends the reading with “Oh My God!” and I agree.

It brought tears to my eyes.

And kudos to Shawn Farrell for taking the time to acknowledge and try to correct a wrong.

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