Banned Books Today

Banned BooksThe ACLU chapter active in my state is holding a celebration of banned books next week up in Charleston. If you’re in the area, I invite you to go and see what is happening today in the world of banned books. As an added attraction, they have provided a nifty brochure (pdf) showing many of the recently banned or challenged books from around the country. If you’re not in this area, take some time and find out what is being done in your area to celebrate Banned Books Week and become involved.

One of the problems with the documenting of “Banned Books” is that vast lists of historical aversion to many important pieces of literature tend to clutter the more current activities designed to control the lives of other people, especially younger adults, when it comes to telling them what they should and should not read. I like this idea of just hi-lighting recent activities: it shows that closed-mindedness is still common in America and doesn’t obscure the issue with archival listings dragged up from a long and sad history of book banning.

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What Does the ACLU Think?

ACLUFirst: Yes, I am a member, or as we used to say, a card carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union. Back in the 1950s, before I really had any clear idea of what was going on, many of the teachers in my school would discuss the ACLU and some sort of allegiance document they were being forced to sign in order to keep their jobs teaching in California schools. It was the time of Joe McCarthy and the shameful House Un-American Activities committee. At that time my Dad was a teacher and I expect I picked up some of the gossip and concern from him and his colleagues.

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