SEATTLE — Pegasus Book Exchange never put much thought into what would be in their front display window according to employee Sam Taylor. That was until he decided to celebrate Black History Month by displaying books centering around Black people.
“Things like this window display, they really help and show people that hey, this is your city," Taylor said. "Doing this and seeing how exciting it’s been, a lot of Black people will come in and say, man, that book display is awesome. It almost makes me giddy to say we’re going to amplify Black voices this month.
Taylor has a unique perspective on diversity, and it's importance, in America.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be American as I was giving up my British citizenship and taking on the American citizenship," Taylor said. "The diversity of America is the power of America. The history of the world exists just within the borders of this country.”
Despite many people thinking like Taylor, there has been a concerted effort to ban several books from public schools in recent years.
In late January, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came out against the proposed AP African American studies high school course. Because of the content in the curriculum, he called it a form of “indoctrination” and insisted the College Board’s proposed curriculum violates the “Stop WOKE Act” — a bill DeSantis signed into law last year that restricts teaching about race in the classroom. The AP College Board has since made changes to the curriculum but said they didn't do so because of political pressure.
The American Library Association notes many of the books being challenged by parents and political figures have something to do with the Black experience in America, among other minority viewpoints and experiences.
“All I can take away is that they don’t want to hear Black voices," Taylor said. "I find that to be insane. I think it’s crazy to silence voices.”
Taylor believes it's fine to disagree on the content of books and having debates about them. However, he feels censoring certain books and the work of their respective authors will only lead to more misunderstanding, hurt, and ignorance.
Pegasus Book Exchange plans to continue amplifying diverse voices in their front window each month because they've seen the positive community reaction it.
Anthony Hickerson, who's walked by the bookstore several times since the display went up, had this to say about it.
“It’s beautiful how they represent," Hickerson said. "To show that everybody in America, no matter your race, color, religion or creed has a place of belonging.”