Banned somewhere in the U.S.A.: many African American classics are consigned to another insidious "black list".The First Amendment to The U.S. Constitution provides, apparently not in the clearest language, that writers and artists and all freethinkers freethinkers, those who arrive at conclusions, particularly in questions of religion, by employing the rules of reason while rejecting supernatural authority or ecclesiastical tradition. who weave ideas and language into an illuminating, even provocative form, have the right to do so. But the First Amendment, nonetheless, has been argued and debated countless times.
Nearly every individual, interest group and established organization imaginable has taken a potshot pot·shot also pot shot
1. A random or easy shot.
2. A criticism made without careful thought and aimed at a handy target for attack: reporters taking potshots at the mayor. at the First. So it comes as no surprise that the American Library Association American Library Association, founded 1876, organization whose purpose is to increase the usefulness of books through the improvement and extension of library services. , along with other organizations, orchestrates a Banned Books Week, which is held during the last week of September, in observance of authors (living and deceased) and their stellar works that have been subject to some form of censorship in both public and school libraries across the country. From Maya Angelou to Judy Bloom to Richard Wright, from Another Country to Harry Potter to The Color Purple, these are just a few of the "offenders" covered.
In the Introduction to the 20th Anniversary catalogue, a statement reads "Banned Books Week is ... Firmly rooted in the First Amendment of The U.S. Constitution, the rights to freedom of speech and press require continuing vigilance in order to keep them vital." Perusing the list, however, one must wonder just how much vigilance is necessary, while improving low reading skills in schools seems to be a constant challenge.
Reviewing the list of books challenged or banned--favorites, well-received and prize-winning titles--from the 20th anniversary ALA Resource Guide, BIBR BIBR Bay Islands Beach Resort (Roatan, Honduras)
BIBR Backward Indicator Bit Received found several works by or about African Americans mentioned that we'd like to share with our readers. For more information about Banned Books Week, go to the American Library Association's Web site at www.ala.org. (Various new and used editions of these titles are available.)
A HERO AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT A SANDWICH A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich is a 1973 young adult novel by Alice Childress. The main character, Benjie Johnson, is a thirteen-year-old heroin addict. The chapters are told in alternating points of view by Benjie and those close to him, including friends, a drug dealer,
by Alice Childress:
Removed from the Savannah Savannah, city, United States
Savannah, city (1990 pop. 137,560), seat of Chatham co., SE Ga., a port of entry on the Savannah River near its mouth; inc. 1789. , Ga. school libraries (1978) due to "objectionable' language. Challenged at the Aberdeen High School Aberdeen High School may refer to one of the following:
A LESSON BEFORE DYING
by Ernest Gaines:
Banned, but later reinstated after community protest at the windsor Forest High School in Savannah, Ga. (2000). The controversy began in early 1999 when a parent complained about sex, violence and profanity Irreverence towards sacred things; particularly, an irreverent or blasphemous use of the name of God. Vulgar, irreverent, or coarse language.
The use of certain profane or obscene language on the radio or television is a federal offense, but in other situations, profanity in the book that was part of an advanced placement English class.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X Malcolm X, 1925–65, militant black leader in the United States, also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, b. Malcolm Little in Omaha, Neb. He was introduced to the Black Muslims while serving a prison term and became a Muslim minister upon his release in 1952.
by Malcolm X and Alex Haley:
Restricted at Jacksonville, Fla., middle school libraries (1994) as presenting a racist view of white people and a "how-to manual" for crime.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MISS JANE PITTMAN
by Ernest Gaines:
Pulled from a seventh-grade class in Conroe, Texas (1995) after complaints about racial slurs in the book.
by Toni Morrison:
Challenged by a member of the Madawaska, Maine, School Committee (1997) because of the book's language. The 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel has been required reading for the advanced placement English class for six years.
THE BEST SHORT STORIES BY NEGRO WRITERS
by Langston Hughes:
Removed from the Island Trees, N.Y., Union Free District High School library in 1976, along with nine other titles, because they were considered "immoral, anti-American, anti-Christian, or just plain filthy."
by Richard Wright:
Challenged in the Jacksonville, Fla., public schools (1997) by a minister who said the book contained "profanity and may spark hard feelings between students of different races."
THE BLUEST EYE
by Toni Morrison:
Removed from the reading lists for ninth and tenth-graders at Stevens High School Stevens High School may refer to:
THE COLOR PURPLE
by Alice Walker:
Challenged as an appropriate reading for an Oakland, Calif., high ,school honors class (1984) for "sexual and ,social explicitness" and "troubling ideas about race relations, man's relationship to God, African history, and human sexuality." Banned in the Souderton, Pa., Area School District (1992) as appropriate reading for tenth graders because it was considered "smut smut, name for an order of parasitic fungi (Ustilaginales) and the various diseases of plants caused by them. Smuts produce sootlike masses of spores on the host. ."
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
by James Baldwin:
Challenged as a ninth-grade summer reading option in Prince William County, Va., (1998) because the book "was rife with profanity and explicit sex."
I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a 1969 autobiographical novel about the early years of author Maya Angelou's life. The autobiography explores the isolation and loneliness faced by Angelou, and the attributes of her character that helped her cope with the prejudices of
by Maya Angelou:
Four members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee (1983) called for its rejection because they said Angelou's work preaches "bitterness and hatred against whites." Removed from the curriculum pending a review of its content at the Gilbert, Ariz., Unified School (1995). Complaining parents said the book did not represent "traditional values." Challenged on the Poolesville High School Poolesville High School is a public high school located in Poolesville, Maryland. It is home to the Global Ecology Studies Program, The Math Science/Computer Science Magnet Program, and the Humanities Program. History
Poolesville High School was founded in the early 1900s. , Md., (2000) reading list for sexual content and language.
by Margaret Walker:
Challenged in the Greenville. S.C. County school libraries (1977) by the Titan of the Fourth Province of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Ku Klux Klan (k' klŭks klăn), designation mainly given to two distinct secret societies that played a part in American history, although other less important groups have also used because the novel produces "racial strife and hatred."