The ban on books initially put in place last October by the Central York school board focused mainly on titles by Black authors. This act, rightfully so, evoked a wide range of disapproval and backlash from the community. These books included acclaimed authors Jacqueline Woodson, Ileoma Oluo, and Ibram X Kendi. In addition, titles including Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography, and books on Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. According to CNN, this ban was officially reversed this past Wednesday, September 22.
Initially, the school board’s official’s stated that this was not a ban, but merely a “freezing” on these books being taught in the school’s curriculum. However, these educational resources were frozen for nearly a year. Not only were parents appalled by the ban on these titles, but also the teachers. One even called it “disgusting,” and further said, “Let’s just call it what it is– every author on that list is a Black voice.
The backlash that ensued included student protests in front of the school, and local women called for book donations so that they could include the banned titles in local, free libraries. Reports say that they have collected thousands of books thus far.
Brad Meltzer, the author of I am Rosa Parks which was included in this book ban, spoke on the news of the Pensylvania book banishment and stated, “When you’re banning Dr. King and Rosa Parks, you’re on the wrong side of history.”
Regardless of this act being revoked, there is still a fight. The act itself speaks volumes about the state of our society and our schooling systems. The board of the York schools did not revoke this ban for any of the right reasons or principles. Here is a quote from the Central York Banned Book Club who has been covering these book titles via Twitter:
The board only gave in because of the incredible amount of pressure. They’re going to retreat for now, lick their wounds and regroup. We will still be here posting books from that list and keeping a vigilant eye on them. We will never forget.Central York Banned Book Club
For some great reads from Black voices check out our articles here.