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Statement from The Duluth Branch of the NAACP Regarding ISD709’s Decision to Remove the Books "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" from Its Curriculum

12 Feb 2018 9:15 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

Anonymous student in a libraryWe formally state that the Duluth NAACP did not request the school district to remove two books ("Huckleberry Finn" and "To Kill a Mockingbird") from its curriculum due to the books' use of racial slurs; although many representatives from the African Heritage community have previously gone before the school board in favor of the books' removal.

The Duluth NAACP is in support of a foundational structure to help teachers navigate the topic of racism, including the use of racial slurs, in their classrooms. The issue at hand is not about censorship, and we do not advocate removing the books from the school libraries.

Rather, our support of replacing these books as classroom requirements comes from our understanding of how they confound the painful history of racism in the United States and provoke negative behavior (such as hate speech) towards African Heritage youth. Introducing this history in an institution that does not have the proper tools to have meaningful dialogue about these topics isolates our students and affects their educational success.

We formally request that there be training to help teachers navigate these concepts; and that culturally relevant authors replace the removed literature.

The Duluth NAACP is open to discussing equitable education with the school district and the curriculum committee.