Last week, the Randolph County Board of Education in North Carolina banned “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison in a 5-2 board vote. Yesterday, the board revisited the issue and overturned the ban by a 6-1 margin.
The ban created a huge amount of criticism and outrage among avid readers and the Randolph County library showed its contempt by increasing orders of the book and offering students a free copy.
“Yet another reason why the South will never rise,” noted one reader. “If anyone had suggested sensible gun laws or taxing churches, the same yahoos who wish to ban a book would have been enraged and threatened revolution and/or secession.”
Another reader said the ban was “retrograde and dim-witted, the Randolph County Board of Education has now offered itself as the laughingstock of the United States.”
Board member Gary Mason, who was quoted last week as saying “I didn’t find any literary value” in the book, was the lone member who voted to uphold the ban, which occurred during the American Library Association’s “Banned Books Week.”
Since the book’s publishing in 1952, the Modern Library listed it as number 19 on its list of 100 greatest novels of the 20th century.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.