Progress Update: Preparing for Interviews and Finding New Resources

At the end of last week, Avery got a response from Lisa Eikholdt, one of the community members at the Gwinnett County hearing who spoke in opposition of the ban. Mrs. Eikholdt has agreed to interview with us, but first wanted to know what questions we would be asking so that she could prepare. This weekend, I created a list of questions specific to Mrs. Eikholdt’s involvement in the case, as well as some more general questions regarding her opinion on censorship. We plan on sending these questions to her this week, so that she has ample time to look over them in advance. Hopefully with this method we will be able to get her written responses to our questions if she does not feel comfortable with a recorded interview, although for the purpose of our site we would prefer the latter option.

I also found some amazing photos of Laura Mallory at the State Board of Education hearing taken by photo journalist Allen Sullivan. If we can get permission from Mr. Sullivan to use one or all of these photos on our website, I would like to incorporate them somehow. If we cannot get permission, then we may want to consider linking to his website so the viewer can still have access to these photos. The images are still available for sale on his website, which makes me doubt our ability to use them, but at the very least linking to Allen Sullivan’s webpage so viewers can have a visual glimpse into the court case would be worth it.

While looking for photos of the hearing, I stumbled across a Weebly site entitled The Harry Potter Witch Hunt. This site offers a fairly general overview of censorship cases aimed at the Harry Potter series in the United States. While The Harry Potter Witch Hunt could be a useful resource for contextualizing our case among others nationwide, we will have to be cautious as there is a clear authorial bias deeply in favor of the books. The real treasure trove of this site, however, is its Citations page. After going through the provided links on this page, I was able to find several articles solely dedicated to the claim that the Harry Potter books promote Wicca. While I was expecting plenty of resources criticizing the series for its portrayal of sorcery, I was surprised that the books promoting Wicca in particular is a popular critique. One new avenue which came to fruition within these articles is the organization Family Friendly Libraries. This organization, founded in 1992 by Karen Jo Gounaud, was dedicated to monitoring access to controversial library materials for children. While the group appears to no longer be active, it offers another context for national opposition to Harry Potter in addition to documentarian Caryl Matrisciana. Gounaud herself appears in three separate C-SPAN videos between 1994 and 1998, all of which pertain to censorship of materials available to children. Two of these three videos are about books in particular, while the third deals with internet access. While we may have difficulty obtaining the court photos from Allen Sullivan, I expect we will have a much easier time gaining permission to use clips from these videos on our site.

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