Timeline entry for 1984: The Color Purple

Banned Books Week, General Interest, Office for Intellectual Freedom

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 1984 challenges to The Color Purple, by Alice Walker.

The Color Purple book coverIn 1984, The Color Purple was challenged as appropriate reading for Oakland, CA high school honors classes due to the work’s “sexual and social explicitness” and its “troubling ideas about race relations, man’s relationship to God, African history and human sexuality.” After nine months of haggling and delays, a divided Oakland Board of Education gave formal approval for the book’s use. Walker’s novel won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction in 1983, and explores themes of racism, sexism, religion, and family.

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

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