Censorship During The Civil Rights Period in the Southern US

Background Information

The Civil Rights Movement was a sensitive period for many Americans. Books were often banned due to its content relating to this movement. The content of these books contain either inapproriate languages or challenged the white priviledge. The banning of these books by the government from public schools and book stores made it difficult for people to have access; therefore, people are unable to gain the accurate knowledge relating to this issue.


To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee is a book told through the narrator Scout Finch. We learn a lot of about her father Atticus who strives to prove the innocence of a black man who was falsely accused of rape.

This book was banned from public school reading lists due to many inappropriate and immoral themes such as rape and racism. Constant use of the n-word in the books was considered inappropriate. Garvey, a 13 year old from Hillsborough, N.C. felt uncomfortable when reading this book. He held a public protest and earned a spot in the American Library Association's formal effort to ban this book. People believed that they can illustrate the history of U.S. censorship with countless books other than To Kill a Mockingbird


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a sequel of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. With a father strongly against Huckleberry's education and religion, he tries to escape his violence by running away with Jim(an escaped slave) to achieve freedom.

Similar to Harper Lee's book, his book was banned mostly because of the racist language used in this book. The slave, Jim, portrayed in this book cause many controversies because he was the hero of the story and that challenged the movement. The first ban occurred in Concord, MA because it is "racially insensitive,” “oppressive,” and “perpetuates racism.”  


I Know Why Caged Birds Sing written by Maya Angelou is one of the most breathtaking autobiography books. This book has been placed on the American Library Association's list with To Kill a Mockingbird. 

In 1983, th book was banned in the Alabama State Textbook Committe because it showed hatred and bitterness towards the white people. Not only was the book banned for the racism content, it also refers to premarital sex, abuse, and lesbianism.

Censorship During The Civil Rights Period in the Southern US