School District Rescinds Ban on Invisible Man

North Carolina officials thought Ellison's classic was inappropriate for teens

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Sep 26, 2013 4:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – A North Carolina school board has rescinded its ban on Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, returning it to local high school libraries. The Randolph County Board of Education voted 6-1 this week to reverse the ban it issued 10 days ago. The board voted 5-2 on Sept. 16 to pull the widely acclaimed book from the library shelves. The initial decision came in reaction to a complaint from the mother of a Randleman High School student who said the book was "too much for teenagers." The mother specifically objected to the book's language and sexual content.

Invisible Man is a first-person narrative by a black man who considers himself socially invisible. Originally published in 1952, it won the US National Book Award for Fiction in 1953. The Courier-Tribune of Asheboro has more details. (The book series that drew the most complaints nationwide in 2012? The Adventures of Captain Underpants, about a pair of fourth-grade jokesters, reports CNN.)

This 1964 file photo shows Ralph Ellison, author of the widely acclaimed The Invisible Man.
This 1964 file photo shows Ralph Ellison, author of the widely acclaimed "The Invisible Man."   (AP Photo/FILE)
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