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The Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation and Reading Partners Team Up on a Book Drive for Read in Color Charleston



Press Release

The Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation and Reading Partners recently announced that they are kicking off their 6th annual book drive to promote literacy in memory of Cynthia Graham Hurd. Cynthia Graham Hurd was one of the Mother Emanuel Nine – the church members killed during a prayer service in June 2015. Cynthia was also a lifelong Charleston resident and 31-year librarian with Charleston County Public Library and had a love for literacy that transcended generations and genres.

With support from its partners: Channel 5, the Charleston County Library, the Berkeley County Library System and the entire community, the annual book drive to date has collected 33,000 books that were distributed to aspiring readers in the Reading Partners program. This year, the partners are bringing Read in Color to Charleston and are focused on collecting books that have diverse themes and characters. The shift to collect diverse books was a mutual decision and one that is inspired by the mirrors, windows and glass doors analogy- that they can serve as reflections of ourselves, give us insight into the experiences of others, and serve as gateways into new worlds.

 “We are delighted to continue to collect and distribute books to students, and we are excited that these books will help young children see themselves in the stories they will read,” said Malcolm Graham (pictured, above right), Cynthia’s brother and CEO of the foundation.

According to Reading Partners Executive Director, Kecia Greenho, “Less than 25% of children’s books depict non-white characters. We believe everyone should be able to see themselves in the pages of a book. The Read in Color Charleston initiative is for all of us in the Lowcountry area. By reading diverse books, we can increase understanding, empathy, and inclusion.”

The books will be distributed to almost 700 students enrolled in the Reading Partners program through its Take Reading With You program during the school year and made available to members of the community through a partnership with Little Free Libraries.  The Read in Color Charleston book-sharing boxes will be filled with culturally relevant books in neighborhoods and communities on the peninsula and in North Charleston so that the entire community has access to books that provide perspectives on racism and social justice; celebrate BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized voices; and incorporate experiences from all identities for all readers.

Books can be purchased at Barnes and Noble, Buxton Books, Turning Page Bookstore and a complete list of diverse books can be found online by visiting the following link: Books purchased online should be sent to Reading Partners at 6296 Rivers Ave., Suite 305, North Charleston, SC 29406.

Reading Partners South Carolina is accepting applications now for the next group of AmeriCorps members! Serving with AmeriCorps is an opportunity to work alongside the Charleston community and support students, all while gaining hands-on career experience. If you or anyone you know is passionate about service, check out our open positions and apply today! We are also building our volunteer force to work with over 700 students this fall. The unfinished learning due to COVID-19 school disruptions has exacerbated the literacy crisis for our most vulnerable students; sign up today at or call 843-860-3915 to help make Charleston a more literate community.

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