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After catching national attention for banning Ralph Ellison’s iconic novel Invisible Man, Randolph County, North Carolina has decided to return the book to library shelves, less than two weeks after banning it.
According to The Associated Press, on Sept. 16, Randolph County Board of Education voted 5-2 to ban the book as a reaction to a high school student’s mother, who said it was “too much for teenagers.”
That move caught the attention of national media outlets, since the book is recognized as a cornerstone of American literature. As The LA Times notes, the 1952 novel deals with racism and how it affects the victims and perpetrators. The Modern Library placed it at No. 19 on its list of the greatest books of the 20th Century.
“Banning any book, but especially a great American novel like 'Invisible Man,' just doesn't fit the values of the Randolph County I know,” Evan Smith Rakoff, associated web editor for Poets & Writers magazine, told the LA Times. “The people of North Carolina want their children to have open, expansive minds.” Rakoff is a Randolph County native.
The AP notes that the Randolph County NAACP chapter sent a letter to the board, noting how they disagreed with the ban and a local bookstore began handing out free copies.
On Wednesday, the Board of Education held a meeting to vote on rescinding its controversial decision. According to the Asheboro Courier-Tribune, they voted 6-1 to end the ban.