November 25th, 1997 A memo was sent to teachers explaining that Song of Solomon was no longer to be used in curriculum in AP English. The school where it was specifically addressed was Leonardtown High School in St. Mary’s County.
The removal prompted a back and forth between citizens of St. Mary’s County in the local paper, The Enterprise. The back and forth contention highlighted racial tensions, morality issues, and perceptions of others. The removal happened at the same time other black authors were being removed from curriculum. The broader context of racial issues lead to St. Mary’s County receiving national attention.
The case itself was either never recorded or never discussed at a school board meeting.
The purpose of this website is to provide a source of information for students and community members interested in book censorship in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. The research compiled on this website includes the historical context during the time Song of Solomon was removed from St. Mary’s County Public Schools. Our work will shed light on a topic that is normally brushed over or kept quiet in the media. We intend to cover both sides of the argument for and against Toni Morrison’s book and provide primary source documents for visitors to infer their own opinions. Our website should open discussions that extend beyond book censorship. Literature has impacts on development, culture, societal morality, and personal identity. We will achieve our goals by presenting information in accessible and diverse formats. We will integrate video interviews, TimelineJS, Prezi, photographs, and images of primary source documents. We will interview local professionals, professors, librarians, and community members to provide a diverse array of opinions.
On November 25th, 1997 Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison was officially removed from the Advanced Placement reading list.