Why a School Board Banned 'Invisible Man'

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.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter