The Randolph County Board of Education recently voted to ban Ralph Ellison's 1952 novel from libraries.
The novel came to the attention of the board after the parent of a female eleventh-grader at Randleman High School wrote a critique that spanned 12 pages. According to the Courier-Tribune of Asheboro, N.C., the parent, Kimiyutta Parson, objected to language in the text and sexual content. Parson wrote in her complaint, “The narrator writes in the first person, emphasizing his individual experiences and his feelings about the events portrayed in his life. This novel is not so innocent; instead, this book is filthier, too much for teenagers. You must respect all religions and point of views when it comes to the parents and what they feel is age appropriate for their young children to read, without their knowledge. This book is freely in your library for them to read.”
The school board then voted five to two to ban the book from libraries within the school system. Each member was given a copy of the novel to peruse and at the beginning of the meeting, board chair Tommy McDonald inquired if everyone had read it.