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.
Wentzville, MO received multiple book challenges in Fall 2021. These books, including The Bluest Eye, were removed by the School Board. By February 2022, students filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against their school for violating their civil rights through book banning. That very same day, the School Board voted 7-0 to return one of the books to the shelves and the challenger withdrew at least two of their other challenges.
Through his art, Spiegelman has taken on such topics as Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and the Crown Heights riot of 1991 and we celebrate him as a banned author.
One of the key consequences of book banning is erasure. When we decide that some things are too uncomfortable to talk about, we risk losing the memory of how things happen. We lose context, we lose people, we lose the truth.