Ralph Ellison (AP)

Ralph Ellison's race classic "Invisible Man" banned in North Carolina

The novel has been banned after having been assigned as summer reading in a district under fire for school prayer


Daniel D'Addario
September 19, 2013 7:08PM (UTC)

Students in Randolph County, North Carolina won't have access to "Invisible Man."

That county's board of education voted 5-2 this week to remove all copies of the Ralph Ellison novel from school libraries, following a parental complaint about the book's content and language when it was assigned as summer reading in local Randleman High School. "It was a hard read," said board chair Tommy McDonald, who voted in favor of the ban.

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Another board member said, "I didn't find any literary value."

"Invisible Man," which won the National Book Award upon its 1953 publication and which has a place on the Modern Library's list of the 100 best novels of the twentieth century, appraises the social conditions surrounding blacks in the decades before the eventual civli rights movement; the protagonist is invisible because white society refuses to see him.

The book's fate is uncertain; a Randleman High School committee has recommended the book remain on shelves there. Randleman has recently been a flashpoint for civil liberties, with the ACLU demanding this month that the school stop invocations of the Lord's Prayer at football games.


Daniel D'Addario

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Invisible Man Ralph Ellison Randleman High School Randolph County



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