American novelist Toni Morrison has won several awards over her prestigious writing career, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “Beloved,” but she also owns the honor as the Black writer with the most banned and challenged books. The Daily Beast describes “Beloved,” as “a classic that explores the legacy of slavery not with reductive moralizing, but with psychological and narrative depth and complexity. But its frankness with race, violence and sex has made it a controversial choice in school curricula.”
Some cases where “Beloved” was banned or challenged:
**1997: Challenged by a member of the Madawaska, Maine School Committee because of the book’s language.
**2008: Pulled from the senior Advanced Placement English class at Eastern HS in Louisville, Ky., because two parents complained that the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about antebellum slavery depicted inappropriate topics of bestiality, racism and sex.
**2011: Challenged at Plymouth-Canton Schools in Michigan after a family launched an official complaint to have the novel banned from the AP English curriculum due to racial themes, sexual content, and passages about ghosts. A nine-member committee voted to keep the book.
**2013: Challenged, but retained as a text in Salem, Michigan High School AP English courses. The complainants cited the allegedly obscene nature of some passages in the book and asked that it be removed from the curriculum.
Find out more about this and other banned/challenged books by black authors here.
I'm Ellen Gee. When I'm honest, we learn things. When I'm not, we learn things too.
Capturing the Past