Forever Free: A True Story of Hope in the Fight for Child Literacy

Tracy Swinton Bailey
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
6:30 pm
Event Videos

Alarmed by the racial and socioeconomic barriers inherent in education and the profound impact on Black children and communities of color, Tracy Swinton Bailey sought a little more than a decade ago to do something about it.  

The former English instructor founded Freedom Readers in her home state of South Carolina. The after-school and summer literacy program works to improve reading skills in low-income communities through one-to-one tutoring, the provision of free books to take home, and cultivation of a high-energy learning environment. 

As schools in Kansas City and across the country prepare to reopen, Bailey examines the longtime inequities in public education, the achievement gaps they create, and the actionable steps classroom teachers and extracurricular educators can take in a discussion of her newly released book Forever Free: A True Story of Hope in the Fight for Child Literacy. The stakes for all students, particularly those of color, are immense. 

Bailey holds a doctorate in education with a specialization in language and literacy from the University of South Carolina. She spent six years teaching high school English in a rural community, worked three years as an education consultant in urban school districts, and launched Freedom Readers in 2010. She also has written a novel, Riverside Blues, published in 2019. 

Watch her presentation live online at