SHALLOTTE, NC (WWAY) — For the last few months the Brunswick County Board of Education has read through literature from both sides of ‘The Color Purple’ debate, and now a national group is chiming in with their own passage.
Earlier this year a West Brunswick honor student, a number of parents, and Brunswick County Commissioner Pat Sykes asked the Brunswick County Schools to close the book on ‘The Color Purple.’ That request raised more than a few eyebrows.
“This is the first time we’ve defended the color purple in a long time and I think that shows you in part is sort of a book that’s classic and beyond reproach in a way that it’s a part of the advanced placement curriculum,” said Acacia O’Connor of the National Coalition Against Censorship.
At the center of the controversy is a chapter of the book in which author Alice Walker vividly describes a rape, and if appropriate for AP high school English students.
“If the students are mature enough to handle the dialogue and the concept of the book then everybody else should be fine with it,” Alanna Davis said. “I don’t think it’s sheltering but you’re not allowing them to express themselves and tell us what they’re able to handle.”
“No one is done a service by having things kept from their view that’s the point of education,” O’Connor said.
Brunswick County Superintendent Dr. Edward Pruden recently supported the inclusion of the book in the curriculum. Dr. Pruden’s decision was echoed by one Brunswick County counselor.
“I don’t see a problem with the book,” Davis said. “There was a controversy when the book came out and when the movie came out. That was a different time this is the year 2013 going on the year 2014.”
WWAY spoke to Brunswick County School Board Chair Charlie Miller, who declined comment until after the appeals process has played out. That’s expected to happen at a special meeting Jan. 3.
WWAY also reached out to Commissioner Sykes, who is challenging the book, but she has yet to return our calls.