Morrison Off the Reading List

The superintendent of Shelby High School in Shelby, Michigan, has pulled Toni Morrison‘s Song of Solomon from a list of required books for an AP English class. A May 13 story in the Oceana Herald-Journal, written as the novel’s place in the curriculum was still under discussion, quotes superintendent Dana McGrew as saying, “there’s a bunch of different things that some people object to it.” A story yesterday in the Muskegon Chronicle reports that McGrew ultimately decided to yank the book from the required-reading list. From the story: “[McGrew] said a group of citizens around the end of March began handing out information at community and school activities protesting the use of the book at the high school.”

Somebody’s falling down on the job here: Here are two newspaper stories about an effort to pull a novel from a high-school reading list, and neither reflects an attempt to find a single person who has a problem with the book. The Chronicle did at least get hold of the class’ teacher, Jane Glerum, who declined to comment. On the evidence of the class’ syllabus, there’s nothing especially provocative about Glerum’s class—it looks like standard-issue AP English fare to me. The quote at the top takes on a new resonance, now, though: “To paraphrase Toni Morrison, I hope this class will help ‘give you the strength life demands of you and the humor with which to live it.'”

A petition protesting the school’s move is making the rounds.

(via January Magazine)

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