Literacy is Freedom


  • Carissa McCray
  • Harley Campbell



Literacy, freedom, censorship, United States, history, violence, Black history


Throughout history, books have been banned. Reasons have varied; however, the impact often remains the same. Laws and policies, violence and death often accompany destructive movements that attempt to censor individuals to ensure the group remains ignorant, docile, and obedient. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 offers a critique of this narrative. The critique discusses and questions how the censorship of books and publicized violence control the minds and actions of many.

Within this article, there is an exploration of literary censorship in the United States targeted toward one specific group – Black Americans. From the 1730s to present-day, literacy has consistently been stymied by laws, policies, violence, and death for Black Americans. This article seeks to draw comparisons between Fahrenheit 451 and the historical patterns of censorship, as well as examine how those practices continue today.

Fahrenheit 451’s narrative is a discussion of subjugation through book censorship. Literacy continues to be blocked between the intersections of education and policy for Black Americans with systems in place to sustain subordination. It is important to understand that as Black Americans continue to strive for literacy, they are also striving for freedom.

Author Biographies

Carissa McCray

Carissa (she/her) is an English instructor in K–12 education who has worked in the city of Duval County and rural Sumter County, Florida. With insight gained from teaching grades 6 through 12, including teaching corrective to advanced courses, she has refined her craft to focus on redefining the educational trajectory for students of color that addresses equitable education, rural education, and the impact of trauma. As a motherscholar, Dr. McCray has two beautiful daughters who inform her teaching, scholarship, professional and personal experiences.

Harley Campbell

Harley (she/her) is a current student (eighth grade) in Florida. Her research focus includes mathematics and astronomy with goals of becoming an astrobiophysicist and animator. Inspired by literary discourse, Harley has applied the skills of analysis and synthesis across various content areas to achieve academic success. In addition to studying mathematics, astronomy, and literature, Harley enjoys drawing, journaling, and playing the guitar which aids in her creative and critical thinking.




How to Cite

McCray, C., & Campbell , H. (2023). Literacy is Freedom. The New Ray Bradbury Review, (7), 89–100.