American literature classics “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” were banned from Accomak County public schools in Virginia on November 29, 2016.
Marie Rothstein Williams, a mother of a biracial son, claimed the books were too racist for students to read due to the repeated use of offensive derogatory words describing African Americans.
At a school board meeting, Williams said, “I’m not disputing this is great literature, but there is so much racial slurs in there and offensive wording that you can’t get past that, and right now we are a nation divided as it is.”
Williams believes that having the students of Accomak County public schools read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” promote the acceptance of using racist derogatory terms toward African Americans. She pleaded for schools to be more cautious of the types of books they provide for their students.
Freshman Gianna Fischer said, “I don’t think ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ or ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ should be banned because it shows what is not acceptable to say to others. Also, these books can educate students on how racism played a major role in America.”
The banning and censorship of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” has led to protests throughout the county. High school students in the Accomak County School District have started a petition to bring back these “challenged” books. Many feel that their rights are taken away by having restrictions on what they can and cannot read.
Both novels are often targeted by critics that believe these books expose young students to racist ideas. Other critics believe that offensive language was purposely used to highlight how people viewed and treated African-Americans.
Freshman Gavin Lawrence said, “They should keep the books in the school curriculum because it gives an honest and different point of view to the racial inequality in society. It shows how racism was alive back then as it still is today.”
Accomak County’s Board of Education will be considering whether “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” should be brought back to their schools in the future.