The classic novels “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “Killing a Mockingbird” will no longer be required reading in schools in eastern Minnesota because they contain racial slurs.
The two books will be removed from the English classes of the Duluth school district beginning next year. School authorities indicated that the measure is part of an effort as not to center out or belittle African Americans.
The District’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Michael Cary, told Conspiracy Talk News that the decision was made after parents, students and community groups voiced their concerns over the years.
The controversy surrounding the two classic novels has been the subject of debate in school districts across the country.
Killing a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, was published in 1960. Lee writes about a small southern town and a white Depression-era lawyer defending a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman.
Ninth grade students from the Duluth school district were required to read that novel.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by Mark Twain.
The 1885 novel recounts a friendship between a young white man and a runaway slave while escaping down the Mississippi River, and taught in the 11th grade classes.
“The comments we have received is that it bothers many students,” Cary said. “Conversations about race are a very important issue, and we want to make sure we address those conversations in a way that benefits all of our students.”
Books remain available as optional reading.
Stephan Witherspoon, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Black People (NAACP) in Duluth, said the move should have been made “a long time ago” because that literature has ” oppressive language. ” He assured that there are other novels with similar messages that can be used instead.
“Our children do not need to read racist insults at school,” Witherspoon said. “They have to deal with that on a daily basis in the community and throughout their lives. Racism is still very prominent.”
The district has not yet determined with which books it will replace those classic novels.