CHICAGO (AP) — A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a major children’s book award over concerns with how the early-to-mid 20th-century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans.
The Association for Library Service to Children’s board made the unanimous decision Saturday at a meeting in New Orleans. The name has been changed to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.
The association says the work of Wilder — best known for her “Little House on the Prairie” novels — “includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values.”
The first award was given to Wilder in 1954. The ALSC says Wilder’s work continues to be published and read but her “legacy is complex” and “not universally embraced.”
The announcement of the change did not sit well with some who complained that the movement to update history was going too far. Some even sarcastically implied that statues of Civil Rights Activist Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. should be torn down as well.
See some of the comments below:
“Dr. Martin Luther King stated that the homosexual lifestyle is a “culturally acquired” “problem” in need of a “solution” – a “habit” stemming from a series of negative “experiences and circumstances. Tear down all his statues and remove his name from all schools and roads NOW!!!!!!”
“Of course, the professionally offended strikes again.”
“Has anyone ever read any Mark Twain books? He writes about the attitudes towards Blacks and Native Americans at the time he lived. He didn’t necessarily agree with or support those attitudes, but his writings accurately reflect those attitudes. I guess this in one more award that needs to be renamed.”
“This is just getting out of hand.”
“Here we go again, judging the past by present day political correctness and mores. If we are truly interested in learning from the past we must first rid ourselves of present day biases against the mores of the past. The world changes and grows we can thank that on the lessons we have learned from the past. Laura Ingalls Wilder is no less talented because she grew up in an era that is different then our own. She should be celebrated for that talent.”
The American Library Association is based in Chicago.
Associated Press contributed to this story.