Historically, black men, women, and children were not allowed to read, write, or even own a book because of anti-literacy laws. Anti-literacy laws made it illegal for enslaved and free people of color to read or write. Southern slave states in particular enacted anti-literacy laws, prohibiting anyone from teaching enslaved and free people of color to read or write. This was to ensure that blacks had no means of cultural education, tribal identity, and religious freedom.  Illiteracy was a great and effective tool used to attempt to keep blacks from excelling past whites. Laws have changed but we can still see and feel the influence of this in our schools, in their curriculum, in the banning of books, and other efforts being made to keep groups at a severe disadvantage.

It is said that the foundation of all learning is rooted in the development of language and literacy abilities. Literacy development begins well before children enter school. Literacy is important for the success of everyone, especially children. It is an empowering tool that helps develop reflection, develop assessment, and evaluation fosters empathy, and can lead to a sense of self-efficacy.


  • Nationwide, on average, 79% of U.S. adults are literate in 2022.

  • 21% of adults in the US are illiterate in 2022.

  • 54% of adults have literacy below the 6th-grade level.

  • Low levels of literacy costs the US up to 2.2 trillion per year.

  • 34% of adults who lack proficiency in literacy were born outside the US.


The Moses Center Inc has taken on the challenge of making sure the children and families we serve all have the best literacy resources available. That children not can read and comprehend but that they enjoy it as well.  We introduce children to the library systems, expose them to storytelling, and get them involved in creative writing and journaling. Express to them through example how liberating it can be when one is knowledgeable and well versed.