When I visited a history museum in Moscow in 1989, I asked our guide why there was only one wheelbarrow in the museum. She replied, “We never learned about our real Russian history. What we were taught was false.” Are we at a point in our American history that books that tell the reality of our checkered history are banned or considered too controversial for students to read?
My historical fiction book, Costly Freedom, about Reconstruction days in Marietta, Georgia, has been under investigation by Facebook and taken down because of a report that the subject matter is “controversial.” The story centers around the relationships of three 12-year-old boys, one former slave, one southern boy, and my great- grandfather’s oldest son. They are prevented from attending school together because of the Ku Klux Klan. The book has an extensive teacher resource chapter that includes a time line of the history of slavery and racism in America from 1619, the year the first slave ship arrived in Virginia. My publishing company set up the Facebook page for secondary school librarians and teachers with reviews of my book included. What I suspect may have happened is that a newly elected school board member or parent did not want their child or students to learn about the true story of what Jim Wallis has called American’s Original Sin (the name of his book). Sadly, that book may be on a list of books schools, libraries, and museums will ban along with mine. (appeared as an LNP letter to the editor in January)