Timeline entry for 1995: To Kill a Mockingbird
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 the year 1995 and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee.
Published in 1960, “To Kill a Mockingbird” ranks among the true classics of modern American literature and explores complex themes of justice and compassion. It has also faced significant controversy due to its consideration of challenging issues such as rape and racial inequality. In 1995, the book was challenged in Moss Point, MS and at the Santa Cruz, CA Schools because of its racial themes. It was removed from the Southwood High School Library in Caddo Parish, LA that same year, because its language and content were found objectionable. “To Kill a Mockingbird” received the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and Harper Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.
For more information about Banned Books Week, please visit www.ala.org/bbooks.
Three ‘good’ things came of this: 1. Even though it was often one-sided, an important conversation about race took place in many communities, often leading to a greater understanding; 2. Many teachers learned the value of understanding WHY they teach why they teach, instead of just teaching something because it has always been taught; 3. I wrote to Harper Lee, and she wrote back. Her note is hanging in my office as a constant reminder to stand up for what is right.
Why has the OIF refused to comment on the riots taking place throughout the Middle East, allegedly in response to a video posted on YouTube? People have been murdered in this attempt at stifling free speech.
At the same time, a group in Iran has just increased the reward for the murder of author Salman Rushdie. Where is the OIF’s response?
It’s high time for ALA and the OIF to make a public statement condemning these events.