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Intellectual Freedom News

Banned book unAmerican

19 April 1989


In this letter to the editor, the author, J. Kevin Hunt, calls the banning of “If Beale Street Could Talk” from St. Paul High School un-American. He starts off his letter by talking about Thomas Jefferson and how he was against censorship because it was opposite of our democracy. Hunt states that School Board member Jerry Smith has not read the book in question and has said that parental advice was unacceptable because if one child checks out the book then it can be passed around. The author attacks this view and states that Smith is afraid of the exchange of ideas and that this would endanger Smith’s hopes of high school children graduating as “obedient ignoramuses”. Hunt spends the remainder of his letter talking about how students already know about the topics discussed in the book, and that banning the book will not curb a student’s interest in what the book has to say. It will actually increase the desire to read the book.


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