Why a School Board Banned 'Invisible Man'

Citing a lack of "literary value," a North Carolina school board has banned Ralph Ellison's 1952 novel from its reading list.

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Author Ralph Ellison (Wikimedia Commons)

Saying it lacks "literary value," members of the Randolph County Board of Education in North Carolina voted Monday to ban Ralph Ellison's award-winning 1952 novel Invisible Man from reading lists, according to UPI.

The Randolph County Board of Education voted 5-2 to remove the book following a complaint from a parent.

"This novel is not so innocent; instead, this book is filthier, too much for teenagers," [Kimiyutta] Parson wrote in a 12-page statement to the board.

Ellison's book won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1953, and in 2010, Time magazine named the book one of the top 100 English-language novels of all time…

"I didn't find any literary value," board member Gary Mason said at the meeting. "I'm for not allowing it to be available."

Invisible Man paints a complex portrait of black life in the early 20th century. Following a loud public outcry, PBS is reporting that the board may reconsider its vote at a meeting Sept. 26.

Read more at UPI and PBS.

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