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Young Black Student in Library
Press Statement October 13, 2023

NAACP Celebrates Successful Appeal in Pickens County School Board Lawsuit

Young Black Student in Library


October 13, 2023

Contact: Alicia Mercedes,

COLUMBIA, S.C. – This week, in the case of Pickens County NAACP et al v. School District of Pickens County, the appellate court approved the plaintiffs' request to overturn the lower court's denial of a preliminary injunction. The lawsuit, which seeks to eliminate censorship in the Pickens County school system by challenging book bans, is now remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

Janette McCarthy-Wallace, NAACP General Counsel, released the following statement:

"One thing is clear — Black history is under attack in Pickens County. The NAACP has, and will continue to stand in solidarity with our Pickens County Branch as we fight for our constitutional rights. We are committed to the pursuit of all legal pathways that uphold educational rights and preserve the crucial inclusion of rich Black storytelling in comprehensive curricula. Our advocacy for justice and the protection of education in America remains stronger than ever."

"Black history is American history. We have a responsibility to provide our students with a complete teaching of our nation's history — both the good and the bad," said NAACP Pickens County Branch President Shelia Crawford. "In a state like South Carolina, where the legacy of slavery and systemic racism runs deep, any effort to rewrite our history is a clear attempt to send our society backwards. We stand resolute in our refusal to do so. The Pickens County School Board's decision to ban 'Stamped' from the public school curriculum is a disservice to all of our students. The Pickens County NAACP remains committed to preserving an inclusive curriculum that celebrates diversity, advances equity, and continues the pursuit of justice for Black America."

"The District's groundless censorship of Stamped makes a mockery of the Constitution and models dangerous, anti-American authoritarianism to its student body," said Allen Chaney, ACLU of South Carolina Legal Director. "The health of our pluralistic society requires public schools to incubate critical thinking, tolerance, and respectful disagreement – this current wave of school-based censorship undermines democracy and pushes us further into cynicism, distrust, and intransigence." 

The Pickens Branch of the NAACP and three families with children in Pickens County Schools filed the original lawsuit in April of this year through their attorneys from the NAACP and the ACLU of South Carolina. Visit our website for more information on our Center for Education Innovation and our work around nationwide book bans.


About NAACP 

The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.