invisiblemanLast week, National Public Radio reported that Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1952, was banned from school libraries in a North Carolina county. The vote was conducted by the school board following a complaint by one parent who claimed the novel was “too much for teenagers.” One of the school board members, who voted 5-2 for the ban, said of the book, “I didn’t find any literary value.”

The irony in the situation can’t be missed: the seminal novel which brought black identity to the forefront of our consciousness gets relegated, sixty year later, to a truly invisible status. Such a move, especially in the south, seems at best careless.

Are people more desensitized today about race issues, thinking the Civil Rights era took care of things? At the very least, the fact that the novel communicates what it means to be black and American in the early fifties and played a groundbreaking role in the history of black literature should, in our opinion, be sufficient justification to merit the book’s inclusion on the library shelves. Your thoughts? Leave them on the Fuze Facebook page, or email us at

For another acclaimed story set in the south, in which the tensions between races play a central role in the unfolding of events, read Walter Bennett’s Leaving Tuscaloosa.

A wonderful book for generating open and lively discussion, 50 years after a voice rose up from the deep South and said, “I have a dream today.”
~~ Marjorie Hudson, Accidental Birds of the Carolinas, on Leaving Tuscaloosa

Read the entire NPR article HERE.

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