The website is beginning to come together nicely. This week we are reviewing all of the websites completed by the class and giving feedback on what works and what could use some improvement. The course began very reading intensive on varying ideas on censorship, and as I reviewed a peer’s website i noticed a trend among general book censorship. In many of the cases, especially in the case of To Save A Mocking Bird, those who came out against the book did so for the use of the N-word and graphic scenes that would be too inappropriate for children. In Accomack County, this was the case. A parent made an initial complaint about the reading of To Kill A Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The parent, much like others who attempt to censor books, used the depictions of race and language by the characters as the reason for the ban. In this case it is tricky to declare that the book is not offensive to the reader, the complainant was the mother of a mixed African American child. She felt that the school reading materials should be reviewed and offer a more inclusive setting for the students, as her son hears it often enough outside of school, he should not hear it in the classroom. “She claimed that by letting students read these materials they were normalizing the use of the n-word in schools and her child shouldn’t have to hear it in their place of education, that her son already hears it enough on the street.”
After the initial complaint filed by his mother at the school board meeting, there was a petition started to bring the book from the county schools. Students at the high school wanted to bring the book back to the shelf. Then after the petition circulated, more and more parents, students, and residents to the county began to take notice. On December 2nd, 2016, there was a protest organized by Charles Knitter in protest of the banning of To Kill A Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He advertised the event on Facebook while word spread throughout the community. There were about 50 protesters there all to speak their mind and try to bring the book back to the shelves, all the while stating that the books are condemning racism and not actually condoning or encouraging racism. There efforts would prove to be successful. On December 6th, 2016, the Accomack County School Board voted to permanently reinstate both To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn back to school library shelves.
As I explored their website further, I noticed that they put in a map of other places in the United States and Canada. This case of To Kill A Mockingbird seems to be one of many, all in which targeting the use of the N-word to denounce the book as racist. I found it interesting that it has been challenged so many times, all along the same reasoning, in several parts of the country. It can really make you think about book censorship and the rights to free speech.