By Amanda Caffey SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)—This week is Banned Books week at Syracuse University and on Tuesday afternoon students, faculty and Syracuse locals gathered at Bird Library for a read-in.
Tuesday’s read-in was organized to specifically highlight black author’s whose books have been banned by schools or government agencies on account of being inappropriate, racist or propaganda.
Syracuse University Junior Marcus Lane Jr. said that this read-in is a lot more than honoring the authors who wrote the books.
“I think it is important to raise awareness to the ways in which governments, states, or some sort of authority entity can seek to prohibit or limit people’s rights. Especially in this time it’s really important to resist any sort of impediment to exercising what we are guaranteed to by the constitution but also as human beings.”
More than 50 people came to the event to hear students and faculty read passages out of their favorite books. Many of these books are classic pieces of literature that are studied in high schools and colleges around the country today. However, Lane said that no one really studies the black monumental figures who have made a difference.
Lane said that opening a physical book is his favorite way to explore and relate to history and find how it can connect to his own life. The book that Lane chose to read, “Native Son,” is one that he read last summer for fun. This book is a classic that he said had been recommended to him by multiple professors, but he had no idea that it had been banned until today.
Another reader presented a children’s book called “Nappy Hair” that she said was her favorite book as a child. Despite winning many awards, this book about a little girl with nappy hair was been banned in many communities.
“These events, they are really important in this time. We have to continue to spread awareness and be conscious of ourselves of the ways in which oppression can exist in our society.”