Our History

Black Literacy Matters is more than a phrase; it’s a multifaceted concept that carries significant weight and purpose. It can be understood in two distinct yet interconnected ways: first, as a statement affirming the importance of Black literacy, and second, as a call to action to address concerns specific to Black literacy matters.

The vision for Black Literacy Matters was started in 2020 by Clarice L. Jackson, conceived in response to the stark disparities faced by Black students in literacy rates nationwide. As a founder deeply embedded in various literacy spaces, Clarice witnessed firsthand the alarming literacy gap between Black students and their peers. The 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores highlight the significant disadvantage Black students are in when comparing literacy proficiency. For example, in Nebraska, only 14% of Black students in the state were proficient in reading. This unacceptable statistic is not specific to Nebraska but is mirrored nationwide.

Despite widespread acknowledgment of these challenges, the deliberate focus and sustained efforts needed to address them were often lacking. The journey to trademark “Black Literacy Matters®” took two years of dedication and perseverance. It was not just about creating a brand but about initiating meaningful change in how we prioritize and address literacy issues, particularly for Black students.

For example, when we say “Black Literacy Matters,” we are highlighting the critical need to prioritize literacy initiatives within the Black community, recognizing the historical challenges and disparities faced by Black students in education. This acknowledgment is not just about words but about driving meaningful change through actionable strategies and initiatives.

Some may question the prioritization of Black Literacy Matters over a broader “all literacy matters” approach. However, it’s essential to recognize and confront biases that may influence such perceptions. Just as healthcare specialization may receive focused attention without controversy, so too should efforts to improve Black literacy outcomes.

By acknowledging and challenging biases, we create space for inclusive dialogue and action. It’s an opportunity to examine why certain areas receive more attention or trigger discomfort, uncovering underlying prejudices or misconceptions that hinder progress.

At the heart of Black Literacy Matters mission is the recognition that Black literacy matters, and through a structured literacy lens, we aim to elevate society across all sectors. Our commitment is to empower Black children by providing structured literacy programs that nurture their foundational skills. By doing so, we believe in unlocking their full potential, fostering inclusive excellence, and contributing to a society where the benefits of literacy ripple through education, workforce, and every facet of life.

The emphasis on inclusive excellence, unlocking full potential, and addressing systemic disparities sets Black Literacy Matters apart, making it a distinctive force in the pursuit of literacy improvement within the Black community.