DURHAM, NC (WNCN) — When Minister Paul Scott isn’t organizing or speaking at events you can often find the Durham activist walking around the city with a backpack full of books.
“You give these books out for free,” said Scott.
For the past four months, he’s been going to neighborhoods impacted by gun violence and passing out books every day.
“Braggtown which has had more than its share of shootings, Wellons Village, downtown, the west end. I’m trying to be all over. Wherever people are gathered, I’m trying to put a book in their hand,” said Scott.
The majority of the novels are about Black history and gun violence.
He calls it his “street curriculum.”
He’s hoping the books will curb gun violence in Durham.
“You can’t hold a book and a gun in your hand at the same time so I’m replacing guns with books,” said Scott.
This past weekend, five people were injured in a drive-by shooting on New Year’s Day. It came as Durham lost 43 people to gun violence in 2022.
Scott said since he started the program in July, he’s passed out hundreds of books.
It’s an effort he calls the road less travelled.
“We’ve tried everything else. For years we’ve tried everything else except books. Why not? These young people are encouraging, a lot of these young people like to read but people have never approached them with books that they can relate to,” said Scott.
Although unconventional, he’s hoping it can make some kind of a difference.
“We’re not just putting books in a community. We’re having actual conversations with people as we give the books to them so the books are secondary,” said Scott.
Scott said ever since he started the program, it has taken off. He’s gotten lots of donations from the community to purchase more books.