The Brunswick County Board of Education voted 3-2 Friday to uphold a decision by the county superintendent to keep Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple,” as part of the school system’s high school curriculum. The vote came after the board received public testimony from parents, students, educators, and community members about the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
Chris Brook, Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation, released the following statement praising the board’s decision:
“Today’s vote marks a victory for academic freedom and the rights of students. The freedom to read is just as essential to a healthy democracy as the freedom of speech and all other rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. Literary classics such as ‘The Color Purple’ are part of high school curricula across the country precisely because they tackle difficult and challenging topics that compel students to think critically about the world around them. When we deny students access to certain books or ideas, we deny them access to knowledge and the tools necessary for critical thinking. We are glad the board did the right thing today, and we will continue to monitor the situation going forward.”
For more on the controversy over Walker’s book, read this post by NC Policy Watch education reporter Lindsay Wagner.