School board lifts heavily-criticized ban on Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’
The board of education for Randolph County, North Carolina voted on Wednesday to rescind its ban of Ralph Ellison’s book Invisible Man, the Asheboro Courier-Tribune reported.
The 6-1 vote reverses the board’s Sept. 16 decision to remove the novel from school libraries in the district. The ban was instigated by a parent’s complaint about its content.
“I didn’t find any literary value,” board member Gary Mason said at the time. “I’m for not allowing it to be available.” The Courier-Tribune reported that he was the only board member on Wednesday who voted to uphold the ban.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the book’s removal prompted at least two offers of free copies of Invisible Man for students, as well as an increase in orders from the county library. Readers of the Courier-Tribune also voiced their complaints on its website.
“Yet another reason why the South will never rise,” one reader posted at the time. “The ignorant squeaky wheels hold others back. Invisible Man is an incredibly important book, not just for its historical importance, but for its literary merits. If anyone had suggested sensible gun laws or taxing churches, the same yahoos who wish to ban a book would have been enraged and threatened revolution and/or secession.”
Both the Times and the Courier-Tribune reported that board members have refused to comment on the initial ban.
[Image of Ralph Ellison, circa 1961, via Wikipedia Commons]