'The Color Purple,' a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, has been...

OAKLAND, Calif. -- 'The Color Purple,' a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, has been temporarily banned in Oakland schools after a parent's complaint about 'explicit language.'

The book by San Francisco author Alice Walker won the 1982 Pulitzer for fiction.


Spurred by board member Darlene Lawson, who complained the book was 'garbage,' the board decided Wednesday to ban it temporarily while studying whether to make the order permanent.

Board member Peggy Stinnet objected, noting that she had read it, thought it was 'wonderful,' and found no reason to outlaw it.

'I think you can read things out of context,' she said. 'After all, most great books have something in them that could be considered distasteful.'

Set in Georgia between the two world wars, the novel portrays black Southern life. It is written in the form of letters between two sisters. One of the sisters was raped by their stepfather and part of the book discusses the attack.

Students in a 10th grade literature class at Far West High School were asked last October to read thebook as part of a class assignment. But along with copies of the book, the students were given letters that were to be signed by their parents if they objected to their children reading it.


Donna Green, a mother of one of the students, said Wednesday she was 'offended by the book's subject matter and graphic material.' She gave copies with 'distasteful' words underlined in yellow to board members and asked them to ban it.

The board asked a special committee of district librarians to review the book and decide whether it should be used in classes and kept in school libraries.

Novelist Walker could not be reached for comment.

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