Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" banned from North Carolina schools

September 20, 2013
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Ralph Ellison's classic novel cannot be read by students of one North Carolina county.

Ralph Ellison’s classic novel cannot be read by students of one North Carolina county.

The Board of Education for Randolph County, North Carolina voted 5-2 to ban Ralph Ellison’s classic novel from school libraries.  The Board entertained a complaint from a parent after the book was placed on a list of three possible choices for students’ summer reading.  “Invisible Man” won the National Book Award in 1952, and is listed by Time magazine as one of the top 100 novels of the twentieth century.  Ellison’s work addresses racial conflict decades before the civil rights movement.  His protagonist felt invisible within white America.  Members of the Board, however, felt that the novel “was a hard read” and contained no “literary value.”  A school committee had previously voted to keep the book within the libraries.  Unless the ban is changed, the books will be removed from school libraries throughout the county.

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