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Roll of Honor: Emily Wheelock Reed
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2000 FTRF Roll of Honor inductee Emily Wheelock Reed


About Emily Wheelock Reed

Emily was the 2000 recipient of the Roll of Honor Award.

Emily died in 2000, a few weeks before her nephew Jack accepted the Roll of Honor Award on her behalf. The award recognized her bravery when, in 1959, she kept the book The Rabbits' Wedding on the Alabama central library shelves against segregationists' protests that it promoted miscegenation. Emily continued to be a staunch supporter of intellectual freedom principles, and a decade later became a charter member of the Freedom to Read Foundation. She remained a member until her death.

News & Features

Read her New York Times obituary and a biographical study of her at ttp://

The play Alabama Story was inspired by her amazing efforts. Its world premiere production took place January 2015 in Salt Lake City. Listen to this podcast by KUER's RadioWest featuring playwright Kenneth Jones.

 Video by University of Georgia's University Librarian Toby Graham, for the #FTRF45 reception in Salt Lake City on January 17, 2015

Roll of Honor Citation

Steadfast in your commitment to intellectual freedom, you set an example for us all by your 1959 defense of the children’s classic, The Rabbits' Wedding.

THANK YOU, Emily, for refusing to give in to the segregationist pressure of the Alabama State Senate. Your remarkable stand occurred at a time and place where such action involved rare courage and personal and professional sacrifice. 

Thank you for your defense of the intellectual rights of children. In this, too, you proved to be ahead of your time. 

Thank you for standing firm when attacked again in 1959, this time for holding Martin Luther King, Jr.’s book, Stride Toward Freedom, in the state library’s collection. You would not apologize for disseminating an American Library Association “notable books” list on which this book appeared. 

Thank you, Emily, for being a charter member, and constant supporter, of the Freedom to Read Foundation. Thank you for over sixty years of continued membership in the American Library Association. 

Thank you, Emily, for embodying our commitment to the freedom to read. 

Candace D. Morgan, President
Judith F. Krug, Executive Director 

Chicago, IL
July 2000