The antigovernment group, Moms for Liberty, opens its four-day summit in Philadelphia this week with a reception at the Museum of the American Revolution. Moms for Liberty has a track record of advocating for book banning, promoting policies harmful to LGBTQ+ people and people of color, and limiting access to whole, honest history. As our colleagues at the American Historical Association note, the group has “advocated censorship and harassment of history teachers, banning history books from libraries and classrooms, and legislation that renders it impossible for historians to teach with professional integrity without risking job loss and other penalties.”
The mission of Moms for Liberty and similar organizations is antithetical to the values of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) and its members. Banning books and removing topics from history classes protects no one and is, in fact, detrimental to us all. Attempting to erase people, groups, and ideas from America’s past and present hinders the transformative role of history. We believe engaging with the full sweep of American history can help society progress toward justice and that people need critical engagement with the past to understand and operate in the world today.
AASLH stands with our fellow national associations and colleagues fieldwide in condemning the actions of Moms for Liberty and expressing concern about the wellbeing of staff at the Museum of the American Revolution. We urge all museums and history organizations to think judiciously about the groups that are allowed to use their spaces and the impact these decisions have on staff, particularly members of the marginalized groups targeted by organizations like Moms for Liberty.
The stakes will only grow as we approach the nation’s 250th anniversary, coming up in 2026, and organizations of all types try to legitimize themselves by association with the themes, stories, and symbols of America’s founding era. With July 4 just around the corner and the 250th approaching, it is more pressing than ever to identify the immense threat posed by groups such as Moms for Liberty. These groups restrict individual freedom to learn and erode the very notion of an informed public—the kind of informed public our founding documents themselves envisioned.
On the contrary, as we have said before, the 250th anniversary presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to further commit to the values of inclusive history as we strive for that “more perfect Union.” The commemoration also offers a chance to strengthen our nation’s more than 20,000 history sites and organizations—vital sources of public trust, shared stories, and community connection. But we can only meet these goals by staying one step ahead of the small, powerful minority attempting to undermine them.