In 1885, “Huckleberry Finn” was banned in Concord, Mass., as “trash and suitable only for the slums.” Last year, a high school in Springfield, Ill., challenged the Mark Twain novel as racist while another, Waukegan (Mich.) High School, struck it from its list of required reading.
John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” first was banned in 1953 in Ireland. Two years ago, the Fourth Province of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Greenville, S.C., challenged the same work, which also was banned at Skyline High School in Scottsboro, Ala., “due to profanity.”
From William Golding’s classic “Lord of the Flies” to Stephen King’s recent “The Shining,” books have been banned or challenged as objectionable throughout the country. Beginning Saturday, the Fullerton public library will display some of these works during national Banned Books Week, Sept. 7-14.
“I like celebrating our First Amendment’s rights and our freedom to read,” community information librarian Judy Rohr said.
Included in the display at the library, 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., will be books such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” as well as more contemporary novels, such as Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple.” Last year, Walker’s book was challenged as inappropriate reading for an Oakland high school’s honor class because of “sexual and social explicitness,” Rohr said. The Oakland Board of Education reviewed the case and gave approval for the book after nine months of delays, she said.
Last year, Rohr said, when the Fullerton library held its first display of books “considered dangerous or objectionable,” visitors were surprised to learn what books were found offensive. “I’d hear people say, ‘Surely, someone is pulling our leg. This couldn’t have been banned.’ ”