Tuesday, January 23, 2007

LOVE Banning Books

Two more books are being challenged by parents of Howell Public High School students. In this entry and this entry, there is information about The Freedom Writers Diary which faced a challenge from parents and a community group called "LOVE" (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) because of profanity. Today the Daily Press and Argus reports that Black Boy by Richard Wright and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison which are both taught in Grade 11 may be removed from the curriculum because of graphic sexual content and profanity. A decision as to whether they would left in the classroom was delayed because the school board did not have the necessary number of votes to either approve or table the curriculum. The two books have been on the curriculum for years but a change from semesters to year-long classes opened the opportunity for debate on the books being used.

The newspaper reports that the majority of the speakers were in favor of allowing the continued use of the books and that they were loudly applauded by the crowd of about 150 people. The curriculum was approved by a group of teachers from the particular school, a district-wide subject-specific content committee, a district-wide curriculum and assessment committee, among others, before being presented to the school board.

The curriculum was approved by the school board with voting on the books themselves to be voted on at the February meeting.

The The Merriam-Webster Encylopedia of Literature describes Black Boy as follows:
Autobiography by Richard Wright, published in 1945 and considered to be one of his finest works. The book is sometimes considered a fictionalized autobiography or an autobiographical novel because of its use of novelistic techniques. Black Boy describes vividly Wright's often harsh, hardscrabble boyhood and youth in rural Mississippi and in Memphis, Tenn. When the work was first published, many white critics viewed Black Boy primarily as an attack on racist Southern white society. From the 1960s the work came to be understood as the story of Wright's coming of age and development as a writer whose race, though a primary component of his life, was but one of many that formed him as an artist.

Random House describes the book as follows:
The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature.

It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove--a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others--who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.

February 5, 2007
"Communications Guru," editor of Conservative Media weighs in on challenges in Howell, MI, his community.The Conservative Media: School district appears to be caving to book burners

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