December 10, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’ Banned in Randolph County (NC) High Schools

High school students in Randolph County Schools in North Carolina may no longer access Ralph Ellison’s classic novel Invisible Man (Random House, 1952) in their school libraries following a vote on Monday by the local board of education to remove it from shelves, the local Times-News reports.

According to the Times-News, the Randolph County Board of Education voted by a 5-2 margin at its regular meeting to remove all copies of the book from school libraries, in response to a Randleman High School parent’s complaint about the book. The vote for removal overrode the recommendations of committees at both the school and district levels that it not be removed.

The bestselling Invisible Man describes the experience of the unnamed narrator’s life growing up in a black community in the South and the dramatic turns his life takes after moving to New York. It is widely hailed as a masterpiece of American literature for its exploration of racism and bigotry. It was one of three books from which Randleman High School juniors could choose for summer reading for the 2013–14 school year; the others were John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me and Nella Larsen’s Passing, the Times-News reports.

Karyn M. Peterson About Karyn M. Peterson

Karyn M. Peterson ( is a former News Editor ofSLJ.



  1. I am curious as to what reason they gave for banning it?

  2. Gabi Lautenbach says:

    According to the L A Times:
    “The book was brought before the board by a parent who lodged a 12-page complaint, Asheboro’s Courier-Tribune reports. She found the book’s contents inappropriate for her child, an 11th grader, citing its lack of innocence, its language and sexual content.”