Timeline Entry for 1983: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Banned Books Week, Censorship, Freedom to Read Foundation, General Interest, Office for Intellectual Freedom, Uncategorized

Leading up to Banned Books Week 2012, ALA will highlight one book from its new timeline of banned and challenged books each day. Today we feature 1983, when I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou, faced significant controversy.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings book coverIn 1983, four members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee called for the rejection of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” claiming the work preaches “bitterness and hatred toward white people and encourages deviant behavior because of references to lesbianism, premarital sex and profanity.” Maya Angelou’s autobiography, published in 1969 and nominated for a National Book award in 1970, details the poet’s early years and illustrates the power of literature in surviving trauma and adversity. Angelou’s numerous awards and honors include the National Medal of Arts in 2000 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

For more information about Banned Books Week, please visit www.ala.org/bbooks.

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