September 27, 2013

School board relents: Invisible Man is “vulgar,” but it’s back on the shelves


According to the Courier-Tribune, board members were provided copies of the book before their meeting on September 16. “I doubt the entire board read the book before they decided to ban it,” one reader wrote to the newspaper. “No worries. No surer way to elevate a book to the Must Read list of teen readers than to ban it.”

Books-A-Million reports other customers paid for copies in advance for any students who might need one. Two district teachers stood up for Ellison’s book at the board meeting on Wednesday, reminding board members that 21st century students can still relate to the sense of invisibility the novel’s narrator experiences as a black man in the segregated 1950s.

Board member Gary Cook told the Los Angeles Times, “We may have been hammered on this and we may have made a mistake, but at least we’re big enough to admit it.”

Julia Fleischaker contributed to this post. 


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.