Famed journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates was an ally for a South Carolina teacher who has been banned from using the author's 2015 best-selling memoir Between the World and Me to explore themes and accounts of racism with her students.

Coates silently sat in on the Lexington-Richland District 5 School Board meeting on July 17, 2023, where a few parents expressed their concern over the "systemic racism" exposed by the book, claiming that it made their children feel guilty for being white.

The author was there in solitary with the Chapin High School teacher, who had initially been given the green light to use the book as an educational tool but saw it removed from the curriculum after a student filed a complaint.

School superintendent Dr. Akil Ross, who is Black, addressed the crowd that evening. “What matters most to me is that my students have the ability to hear six or seven opinions on one topic and come up with their own thesis, supported with evidence and come up with an independent conclusion,” he shared.

“Sometimes there’s going to be topics you agree with, and there’s going to be topics you disagree with. Academic freedom says even if you disagree, there’ll be another opinion presented to our children. Our democracy needs that.”

Those in favor of the book being discussed in the school setting wore blue, Chaplin's school color, to show their support of the teacher.

Help protect Coates' First Amendment right to freedom of speech by reading Between the World and Me and these three other books where he investigates racism and its devasting consequences.

The Water Dancer - A Novel
(Ta-Nehisi Coates, One World, 2019)
America's greatest sin is revisited in this drama novel. A young eslaved man enslaved learns of his incredible physical gift. It motivates him to leave bondage behind and fight against the atrocities that have been inflicted on generations of Black women, men and children.

Price: $15

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we were there_Amazon
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World, 2017)
In this gripping collection of essays , Coates examines the unprecedented election of the first Black president followed by the vicious backlash that fueled the jarring next presidential outcome.

Price: $15

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the beautiful struggle_amazon
The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
(Spiegel & Grau, 2008)
In his debut novel, Coates shares a biographical account of being raised by his strict father and the epic journey about boys trying to become men in Black America and beyond.

Price: $21

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