Art Spiegelman Speaks About Maus and Its Place in Schools and Libraries

Art Spiegelman Speaks About Maus and its Place in Schools and Libraries

When local Jewish and other faith-based organizations learned of a Tennessee school board decision to ban “Maus,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, from being taught in its classrooms, they responded by organizing a nationwide Zoom interview with author Art Spiegelman. The webinar was offered free to the public and offered an opportunity to hear Art Spiegelman’s thoughts on the banning of his book along with his views on the increased number of book challenges nationwide.

Two 8-track tapes stacked atop each other, the one on top read: Days of Future Passed.

Then and now: Banning Like it’s 1981

The last year, especially the last few months, has seen a dramatic increase in book challenges nationwide. This is alarming, as it should be; however, the timing of such an organized push repeats history with the same frequency as social challenges and advancements. The current wave of attempted censorship is a modern remake of a 1980s special that should have been left in the past.

The First Amendment: Where America Stands, a project from the Freedom Forum.

Understanding American’s View of the First Amendment: Breakdown of Freedom Forum’s Recent Survey

The First Amendment (to the United States Constitution) is often referenced in today’s society, but without being prompted can you name all five freedoms that are protected? This was part of a survey administered for The First Amendment: Where America Stands, a project from the Freedom Forum. Freedom Forum, as an organization, strives to raise awareness of First Amendment freedoms through education, advocacy, and action. This project surveyed over 3,000 Americans in summer 2020, asking them more than 200 questions to provide a detailed analysis of how people differ on the relevance of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Photo of Brandi Levy in high school, wearing a Mahoney High School cheerleading uniform and holding gold pom poms. in front of the supreme court

Mahoney v. Levy: the Evolution of Students’ First Amendment Rights

On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of Brandi Levy and public school students’ speech rights, in the case Mahoney School Board v. Brandi Levy. In 2017, Levy, then a 14 year old high school student in Pennsylvania, tried out for her school’s varsity cheering squad. After not making the team, she vented her frustrations in a Snapchat video, where she flipped off the camera and dropped a few swearwords. The school, after seeing the video, subsequently suspended her from the junior varsity cheer squad, saying that her video and its message violated the cheerleading code of conduct. After failing to come to a resolution with the school, Levy and her parents sued, arguing that punishing her for off campus speech violated Levy’s First Amendment rights.