February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

NC School Board Reverses Ban on Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’

The Randolph County (NC) Board of Education has reversed its recent ban of Ralph Ellison’s classic novel Invisible Man (Random House, 1952) by a vote of 6 to 1, Asheboro’s local newspaper The Courier-Tribune reports. The board had voted 5 to 2 last week to remove the book from its school library shelves, but members had agreed to hold this week’s special meeting to reconsider the book’s status after news of the ban received national and international attention from literary advocates.

Notably, the restoration of the book to Randolph County’s school libraries comes during this week’s national annual celebration of annual Banned Books Week.

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 2013–2014 school year, along with John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me and Nella Larsen’s Passing.

Last week’s vote, which removed all copies of the book from school libraries, came in response to a Randleman High School parent’s complaint about the book’s language and sexual content, overriding the recommendations of committees at both the school and district levels that it not be removed.

Karyn M. Peterson About Karyn M. Peterson

Karyn M. Peterson (kpeterson@mediasourceinc.com) is a former News Editor ofSLJ.

Diversity and Cultural Competency Training: Collections & RA

Do you want to ensure that your library’s collections are diverse, equitable, inclusive, and well-read?

Do you want to become a more culturally literate librarian and a more effective advocate for your community?

We've developed a foundational online course—with live sessions on February 28 & March 14—that will explore key concepts essential to cultivating and promoting inclusive and equitable collections.
Building Literacy-Rich Communities
Hosted by Library Journal and School Library JournalStronger Together is a national gathering of thought leaders and innovators from across the country who will share where and how partnerships between school districts and public libraries are having success. Join us May 10–12 at the University of Nebraska Omaha, as we explore the impact these collaborations are having on the institutions, communities, and kids they serve.