Two classic American novels have been banned from syllabuses at schools in Minnesota, USA since 2018. The reason being a concern that racial slurs used in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, could make pupils feel “humiliated or marginalised”. According to The Telegraph, The Duluth school district, which includes over 20 schools, is removing the books from the curriculum for ninth and 11th grade English classes.
However, copies of Lee and Twain’s classics will remain in the school libraries.
While Duluth district’s curriculum director Michael Cary has said To Kill A Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn will be replaced by books that “teach the same lessons” without using racial slurs.
The American Library Association have listed the two novels as among the most banned books from 2001-2009, mainly due to the offensive language used by some characters.
To Kill a Mockingbird deals with racial injustice in segregated 1930s Alabama.
- Literary icon and To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee dies aged 89
While Huckleberry Finn is set in the 19th century before slavery was abolished.
The American Library Association stated that most of the complaints were from black parents concerned about books on the curriculum containing racial slurs.
Both books were temporarily removed from Virginia schools in 2016 after a parental complaint.
While just this October Mississippi schools banned To Kill a Mockingbird from their syllabuses.
However, students with parental permission can take part in a study of Lee’s novel.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author died in 2016 after publishing just two books.
The second was Go Set a Watchman, her first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, written decades ago and published in 2015.
Amazon said it was their most pre-ordered book ever since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007.
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Last year, Harry Potter books were banned from a school in Nashville, Tennessee.
According to The Tennessean, pupils at St Edward Catholic School will no longer be able to borrow JK Rowling’s fantasy books to read from its library.
The magical adventures have been censored from the school library because of their content, after Reverend Dan Reehil, a pastor of the Roman Catholic school wrote an email voicing his concerns.
The email said: “These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception.”
It continued: “The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.”
While the Roman Catholic church’s Vatican newspaper has previously condemned the Harry Potter books for “promoting witchcraft”, the same publication also praised the final film.
L’Osservatore Romano’s review said: “As for the content, evil is never presented as fascinating or attractive in the saga, but the values of friendship and of sacrifice are highlighted.
“In a unique and long story of formation, through painful passages of dealing with death and loss, the hero and his companions mature from the lightheartedness of infancy to the complex reality of adulthood.”
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