Well, what can I say, the school board in Randolph County, North Carolina, has voted to remove the Invisible Man from their public school library. School board member Gary Mason said, “I didn’t find any literary value.” Pretty much everyone who's studied the novel disagrees -- and I'd add that not only does it have literary value, it has value as a work of jurisprudence (and here). I would have thought that if anything the book was too tame for the current generation.
The complaint by Kimiyutta Parson, a parent, is here. So much to say here. Ms. Parson focuses a lot on Trueblood in her complaint -- but you might find it significant that Random House's teacher's guide to the novel focuses on his crime, too -- and asks how that's related to white people's reaction to him. The main object of the novel, the critique of humanity and opposition to definition along racial lines, is completely absent from the complaint. And might I ask, am I correct in my guess that Ms. Parson is African American? If so, I suspect that Ellison would have enjoyed that part of the story -- that his novel is being evaluated on lines entirely separate from race. Maybe I'll have a chance to ask the librarians at the Ralph Ellison library in Oklahoma City at the end of next week what they think of this. At any rate, I agree with this part of Ms. Parson's appeal of the dismissal of her complaint: "We take our children's future and education very seriously." (Though I think the best line in the appeal is this "I and other companies are also looking int other ways of having great attention come to this matter publicly.")
Thanks to John Kaiser for bringing this to my attention.