In August of 2021, the Atheist Community of Austin was contacted by the family of David Kent. We were offered a wonderful collection of books for the Freethought Library, and we were both honored and thrilled. During the time that the Freethought Library was closed, we spent many happy hours opening the cartons of books and discovering familiar favorites as well as new titles for our shelves. Many had notes and news clippings tucked in the pages, adding to our sense of the individual who collected these books. We recently reached out to the family and asked for a few words about the man who put together the collection, and we are sharing their reply here:
David L. Kent moved with his family to Austin in 1981 to work for Madalyn Murray O'Hair. He was a proofreader for her publication, American Atheist Magazine, and frequent contributor to Freethought Today, published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Mr. Kent became a founding member of the Atheist Community of Austin, and over the years made several appearances on The Atheist Experience. He campaigned for the removal of religion from Texas school textbooks, as well as the removal of the monument of the Ten Commandments at the Texas State Capitol. Here is a clip (The Atheist Experience, "Episode 002", October 26, 1997) in which he describes the monument, why it is unconstitutional, and gives background on the history of each engraving on the monument as well as information on the organization that erected it.
Mr. Kent's freethought library has been donated to the Atheist Community of Austin on behalf of his family, who wish to preserve his unique and rare collection of books on the history of religion and its deleterious effects on societies worldwide. It is through his discovery of this subject matter that he was able to raise a generation of children free from religion, and his children now wish for his library to be publicly accessible to anyone curious about how to cultivate an evidence-based understanding of the world.