Outside far-right groups like Moms for Liberty and Pavement Education Project, have set up shop in school districts across the country, including in New Hanover.
According to Port City Daily, known members associated with far-right groups, including Mike Korn, Patricia Koluch, and others, have spearheaded book banning and censorship efforts.
In neighboring Pender County, Korn led an effort to remove books like Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” – resulting in the district removing eight books from library shelves.
In New Hanover, their latest target is the proposed removal of the book “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” from one high school’s curriculum.
Wilmington residents and community leaders have criticized the conservative-leaning school board’s decision to review the book due to a complaint filed by one of the members of a far-right group.
“The nation’s oldest Civil Rights organization will not stand by when the rights of historically marginalized people to be represented and protected are threatened,” the NAACP stated in a press release.
“A true education is realistically informing students of the past, present and future,” stated Deborah Dicks Maxwell, president of the North Carolina NAACP. “Eliminating parts of education is not acceptable. It does not produce a clear view.”
Hundreds of Wilmington residents gathered outside the Board of Education building on the night before the hearing, with local religious leaders and Democrats protesting against the banning of yet another book.
“If you really care about children, you don’t ban books. If you really care about constitutional rights, then you don’t infringe upon the separation of church and state and support censorship,” Jill Hopman, New Hanover County Democratic Party chair, told the crowd.
Many residents and leaders attended the hearing meeting, with one current New Hanover student voicing support for the freedom to read.
“We gain knowledge and learn how to defend our opinions. If you are upset about a book that discusses racism, then you should ask yourself, why? This book does not scare me,” Hazel Eyles, a NHCS student, stated during the board meeting. “It challenges me and allows me to think; please do not deny me and my classmates a quality education because someone is afraid of a book”.
Read more at WHQR.