North Carolina board reverses ban on 'Invisible Man' in schools

Sept. 26, 2013 at 11:11 AM
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ASHEBORO, N.C., Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A North Carolina county school board has voted to make "Invisible Man" visible again in school libraries after banning the novel about a week before.

Members of the Randolph County school board said they had been besieged with criticism after voting Sept. 16 to remove Ralph Ellison's 1952 book dealing with racism and its effects, Tribune Newspapers reported Thursday.

Some members said they had received numerous e-mails asking them to reconsider, while others said they should have consulted with the superintendent and teachers before banning the book.

Board member Matthew Lambeth apologized for banning the book, saying removing the book had been a misinformed but well-intentioned mistake.

"We've been accused of being ignorant bigots and racists. That is simply not the case," he said.

The ban was rescinded in a 6-1 vote, with the only dissenting vote that of board member Gary Mason, who said the book was "not appropriate for young teenagers."

The board had voted to ban the book after a parent complained about its language and descriptions of rape and incest.

"Invisible Man" is number 19 on Modern Library's list of the 20th Century's 100 greatest novels.

After the ban, the book's publishers, Vintage Books, had donated 100 copies to a local bookstore to be distributed free to students.

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