About the Freedom Library
The library was a dream of Yvonne Jones, one of the founders of the MLK Institute. In 2008, the Honorable Lois Bronz, another founder of the MLK Institute, facilitated the opening of the MLK Freedom Library with a grant from the Westchester Board of Legislators and with generous donations of books and other materials.
After several years in Memorial United Methodist Church, the MLK Freedom Library moved to the Thomas H. Slater Center in downtown White Plains to be more accessible to our community. Thanks to the efforts of Heather Miller, Executive Director of the Slater Center and the Center's Board of Directors, the library opened in 2012 with about 1,000 books. Our collection has grown to over 3,000 books and media. Proceeds from our annual MLK Day Book Fair at the Barnes & Noble bookstore help us purchase new books for children, young adult and adult readers.
The mission statement of the Library is to educate local communities on the life and times of Dr. King and other peacemakers, on the struggles for racial and social justice, and to serve as a vital resource center for people of all ages and cultures through its collection of fiction and non-fiction materials.
The MLK Freedom Library is a free lending library. Our collection has books for adults and children about Dr. King, other great peacemakers, African-American history, the Civil Rights Movement, African-American biography, peace, nonviolence, anti-racism, and other related subjects.
We have received many donations of books. One very special donation is 25 volumes dating from 1928 to 1954 of the Journal of Negro History (now called the Journal of African American History), founded and edited by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Modern Black History.” One volume has the transcript of a meeting after the Civil War with African American ministers, who were asked for suggestions about how to help the formally enslaved. That meeting was the origin of “40 acres and a mule” - the short-lived policy at the end of the Civil War, of providing a means for the Freedmen to support themselves.
An educator who visited the MLK Freedom Library later told us, “From a teaching point of view as well as a personal one, I think your library is a treasure.”
We offer educational programming for children, youth and adults. We provide one-hour programs for afterschool groups, including monthly programs for the White Plains Youth Bureau. One recent program was about Protest during the Civil Rights Movement to Now. We highlighted the 1963 Children's March in Birmingham, AL and talked about the role of protest in our society. Children enjoyed the discussion, and made protest signs of their own and marched with them.
We invite all those interested in learning more about joining the movement
for nonviolent living to visit the MLK Freedom Library.