Our counter-archive project is rooted in three examples of government or government related book censorship. The overall archive that this project would fit into is censorship in general. We chose to work on this specific type of censorship because it has been prevalent in the world for many centuries and continues to be used as a tool today. Censorship of books in particular, limits not only individuals within a society but the society as a whole. Books are a mode of learning and self-empowerment. The importance of books and access to them is crucial in creating a modern, educated society with room for growth and improvement. Book censorship is still happening all over the world today and our argument is that book banning is a stepping stone to the further spread of ignorance. Book banning spurs acceptance of bigotry and this is highlighted in the time periods and places we chose below. WWII book banning was at the very beginning of a horrible genocide that would take more than 6 million lives; book banning in civil rights era US was brought about because of the racism and systemic hatred that overtook this country for decades if not centuries; and modern banning of books in our education system here in the US promotes the idea that mental illness and natural sexual behavior are something to be looked down upon or to be ashamed of. These incidents of book bannings by governments or their extensions are symbolic of greater societal and cultural issues that must be urgently addressed. Tying our subsections together are the effects of book censorship that are still very much present and in effect in our society today.

A modern example of the hatred that stems from banning is the The BDS Movement. The BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) Movement that started eleven years ago, but that has recently gained traction all over America and particularly on college campuses, is a stark reminder of WWII censorship. In WWII not only were books censored, but the Nazis also promoted boycotts. The book censorship was a gateway to broader widespread blatant anti-semitism. According to their website, “The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.” They do this by boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning Israeli companies and organizations that do not share their views. According to the ADL (Anti- Defamation League), “BDS advocates employ anti-Semitic rhetoric and narratives to isolate and demonize Israel”. Their website also deploys massive amounts of propaganda. Although this is not outright censorship of jewish products, companies, and organizations, it is a recommendation of exactly that, and it is funded by government run and funded groups such as “Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the coalition of Palestinian organisations that leads and supports the BDS movement and by the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a BNC member organisation” (BDS Website). This blatant anti-semitic boycott is all too similar to the censorship seen in Nazi Germany, except it is happening here and now. 23 US states have passed anti-BDS legislation which is a positive step. Unfortunately, that still leaves more than half of our states not having done anything to speak out against this hateful campaign.

Around 60 years ago, the Civil Rights Movement changed the American history greatly. Censorship of books, involving racial issues, was strongly suggested by many who did not believe in racial equality. This resulted in many books getting banned by the government. These books were banned because it threatened the white privilege and challenged many of their beliefs of racial equality. Groups in power would look down on and scold people who read these books and thus, many of these books became unavailable. Not only were they banned in libraries and bookstores, but public schools also started banning these books because they were deemed inappropriate. Many of these books are great materials that portray the truth about black history, but people would rather erase this unfortunate past. People were threatened because the books portrayed a reality that they were not proud of. To this day, racial equality has become less of an issue; however, it is still a sensitive topic. Access to these books in the modern days has become a lot easier as there is technological advancement and improvement in racial equality. The Civil Rights Movement was a big step to racial equality because without this movement, we would not be where we are today. Because of the improvement in racial equality, people have come to terms with books related to this issue. Although the history is not something that is worth being proud of,it is worthwhile and necessary for people to learn about this part of the American history since it played an integral role in shaping modern America.

When studying censorship, the US Educational System is not the first example that might pop into one's head. Censorship induces a sense of fear and oppression that we do not associate with public school here in America. But there are more and more cases surfacing of the removal of books from curriculums due to “inappropriateness” usually by the complaint of a single parent. Using  our research and archive, we delve into the underlying problem that breeds censorship in America. All across the country students depend on their educational systems to provide them with both an extensive and varied learning experience. An education that encompases aspects from every way of life. Yet by removing books the educational curriculum begs the question where do we draw the line? When does a book that was once seen as educational become a gateway into a world of inappropriate and lewd actions? Why would we allow one sensitive parent to make decisions for the whole educational community? It becomes obvious with each account of censorship that the root of the problem is an individual or a group of individuals that feel uncomfortable over a certain topic. Therefore due to their personal discomfort of a few a war-like rampage is waged on the curriculum. In my opinion it should not be up to the discretion of a parent to make educational reasons for a student body. If a book is on the curriculum it has been vetted my administrators who believe there is an educational value to it. Ultimately as a learning community and country we must make a decision. At the end of the line censorship will always hinder and hide the truth. With my experience with high schoolers is that no matter how hard you try to hide a certain topic they will investigate on their own. In our modern age with the addition of technology and the internet into learning environments there is little to no information limited to students. But it is crucial for schools to not exclude normal topics such as sex and mental health  are so detrimental to the development of a young adult. If  superior or parent shuns a book for that certain topic a stigma will be created that will lead to many more problems. If a classroom cannot study a book where a sex scene is included what does that say about the education of safe sex in our schools? Or likewise to self harm or suicide? Bottom line the restriction of books to our student is equally as connected to WWII and the Civil Rights Period, it is plainly unjust.

Book banning is not simply an expression of a point of view but an attempt to remove materials from the public eyes, thereby restricting access to our expanding curiousity. When a government decides to ban a book, they are taking away the access we rightly have to be educated on a certain issue. Even if the motivation to ban or challenge a book is well intentioned, the outcome is detrimental. Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves. Our focus on banned books by governments during WWII, the Civil Rights Period, and even now the Modern Day concludes that there are underlyiing issues that the government tries to keep from its people. However, we believe that the decision whether to learn or not learn about something falls on one's personal choice.