“The once “Million Book Project” embraces a new name: Freedom Reads
It was never about a number — no finite end goal like that. And we always knew it doesn’t take tens of thousands of books to counter what prison does to the spirit; sometimes it just takes one, at the right time, in the right mood, when the urgency for new possibility is enough. So we’re claiming a new name that unmistakably honors our driving recognition of the link between reading and freedom: Freedom Reads. New name, same commitment to supporting with books the efforts of people in prison to deepen and envision their lives in new ways….
More than two million people live in state and federal prisons in this country. They live in facilities characterized by concrete floors and steel cell doors, by handcuffs and homemade shanks. Founded by Reginald Dwayne Betts, who knows firsthand the dispiriting forces of prison, Freedom Reads uses literature as a powerful antidote to the hopelessness incarceration breeds. Inspired by Frederick Douglass’s recognition that freedom begins with a book, Freedom Reads supports the efforts of people in prison to transform their lives through increased access to books, writers and performing artists.”