The Fort Wayne Urban League exceeded a goal to put at least 500 banned books in the hands of readers for free.

Aisha R. Arrington, president and CEO of the local organization, said in a LinkedIn post Friday that 537 books were distributed in the community.

“I am just thrilled that we passed our goal,” Arrington said later through email.

The Urban League’s board of directors helped raise more than $4,500 for the campaign, which mirrored a national initiative of the organization.

The local Urban League announced the book-distribution campaign in June, distributing the first 100 books at the Juneteenth celebration Macknificent Freedom Fest at McMillen Park.

The campaign was a response to schools nationwide banning nearly 1,650 individual books in the last academic year, most of them because they included themes about race and sexuality, the Urban League said in June.

“Thank you to everyone who gave to this campaign,” Arrington said in her post on Friday. “It’s important that we work hard at not erasing Black (people’s) experiences, Black authors, and Black History.”

With the local distribution, Arrington said, the most sought-after book was Maya Angelo’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” 

“The Hate U Give” is another title that was distributed; it went to teens. Dozens of 5 and 6-year-olds received a book about Ruby Bridges who, as a first grader surrounded by federal marshals, helped desegregate a New Orleans elementary school.

Various book titles went to adults, Arrington said.