Bradley, students read banned books out loud

October 3 2008

"More than one book a day faces removal from free and open public access in United State's school and libraries." American Library Association.

In a setting which can be easily described as serene Tuesday afternoon, a small crowd of Indiana State University students and faculty surrounded the new ISU President Daniel Bradley, as he sat quietly in his chair, waiting to read a passage from "Uncle Tom's Cabin," as part of Banned Books Out Loud.

Before he began to read, he spoke about what the book meant to him.

"This is one of the most influential books of the nineteenth century," said Bradley. "It left a great impact on our country."

"Uncle Tom's Cabin," was originally challenged due to racism content concerning the author, Harriet Beecher Stowe's portrayal of slave life in America. It was challenged for that in the contemporary period?Bradley pointed out that it was banned when it was written because it was anti-slavery and pro-abolition.

"Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P??, in Kentucky," Bradley began. "There were no servants present, and the gentlemen, with chairs closely approaching, seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness."

Bradley went on to read part of the first chapter in doing his part for Banned Books Out loud, which was one event that took place in honor of Banned Books Week.

First Lady Cheri Bradley also did her part when she read a passage from a Goosebumps, book earlier that morning. The Goosebumps book entitled, "Piano Lessons can be Murder," was originally challenged for its violent content.

Banned Books Week is a time for people to pay close attention to books that have been challenged or taken off shelves of libraries all over the world. Indiana State participates in this event by dedicating a day to "Banned Books Out Loud," which invites students, faculty, and members of the community to come to the ISU bookstore and read passages aloud of their favorite banned book. The program has been sponsored by ISU's American Democracy Project since 2004.

Students and faculty gathered throughout Tuesday (Sept. 30) in the ISU Bookstore to hear passages read aloud out from books that have been challenged or banned.

Shelbyville native, Ross Montgomery, a senior communication major at ISU was one of the many students to read on Tuesday. He chose, "Kingdom of Fear," by Hunter S. Thompson because it is one of his favorites. The book was originally challenged due to the graphic nature of the story and explicit language. This was not the first time he had participated in this event.

"I participated four years ago as a freshman," said Montgomery. "This event is important because it allows students to remember amazing books. It is always great to remind ourselves of our rights and the fantastic literature that has been banned or challenged."

As part of Banned Books Week, on Monday (Sept. 29), seven ISU faculty members gathered in the Cunningham Memorial Library for "Banned Books in Action," where they sat for most of the day at the Reader's Theatre. They began by listing one of the most banned books from 2007 and 2008, and continued on with comments and facts about that specific situation. Some of the banned books that were acknowledged included: "And Tango makes Three," which was banned due to positive portrayal homosexuality, religious issues and anti-family views; "It's Perfectly Normal," challenged for sexually explicit content; and "Give a Boy a Gun," challenged because it discusses violence in schools.

Marsha Miller, the reference instructor at ISU's Cunningham Memorial Library, said that the theatre was a great way for the library to get involved with Banned Books Week.

"This is the first Reader's Theatre at ISU," said Miller. "Statistically, people don't do a lot of recreational reading; this shows people that there are wonderful, interesting books out there just waiting to be read."

Darlene Hantzis, an ISU professor of communication and women's studies, and campus coordinator of the American Democracy Project, originally inspired the library to get involved. She wanted to humanize the concept of the week's events.

"This week gives us the chance to celebrate our freedom to read," said Hantzis.

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Darlene Hantzis, Indiana State University professor of communication and women's studies and American Democracy Project campus coordinator, at 812-237-3658 or dmhantzis@indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Spector, Indiana State University, media relations intern, at 812-237-3773 or jspector@mymail.indstate.edu

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/385145979_4xeVF-D.jpg

Cutline: ISU President Dan Bradley talks about "Uncle Tom's Cabin" before reading it as part of Banned Books Week.

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Story Highlights

Banned Books Week is a time for people to pay close attention to books that have been challenged or taken off shelves of libraries all over the world. Indiana State participates in this event by dedicating a day to

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