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10 Black Books You May Not Have Known Were Banned or Challenged

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Native Son, Richard Wright, 1940

Richard Wright’s landmark novel, according to, “paints a brutal picture of a young, poor Black man, 20-year-old Bigger Thomas, incited to murder by the oppression and hatred of the white world. It explores inequality, racial conflict, and Wright’s belief at the time that Communism was Black Americans’ best hope for equality.”

The book has been challenged or removed in at least eight different states because of objections to “violent and sexually graphic” content.

Some of the cases where “Native Son” was banned or challenged:

**1978: Challenged in Elmwood Park, N.J.,  because of  “objectionable” language.

**1981: Challenged in North Adams, Mass., because of the book’s “violence, sex, and profanity.”

**1988: Challenged at the Berrian Springs, Mich., High School in classrooms and libraries because the novel was deemed “vulgar, profane, and sexually explicit.”

**1998: Removed from Irvington High School in Fremont, Calif., after parents complained the book was unnecessarily violent and sexually explicit.

**1998: Challenged in the Hamilton High School curriculum in Fort Wayne, Ind., because of the novel’s graphic language and sexual content.

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