Tucson Unified School District Lifts Ban on Seven Books

by Olivia Stransky    /  November 14, 2013  / No comments

Book Smugglers in the United States

Nearly two years after dismantling its Mexican American Studies program and banning over fifty books, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) has voted to allow seven books back into the curriculum. In May 2012 Sampsonia Way covered the efforts of Tony Diaz and the Librotraficantes Caravan, who protested the ban in a unique way. The books that have been allowed back into the curriculum are:

-Critical Race Theory by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic
- 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures edited by Elizabeth Martinez
-Message to Aztlán by Rodolfo Corky Gonzales
-Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement by Arturo Rosales
-Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
-Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuña
-Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years edited by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson

  1. Recommended: Censored Books in Arizona
  2. A slideshow of the books and how some of the authors responded to the Tucson Unified School District’s censorship measure that called for their removal from classrooms.
  3. Read →

The books were originally removed in 2011 due to a state law banning instruction based on ethnic background. Although these books are only going to be used as supplementary texts, the Arizona Board of Education has already criticized the decision, saying TUSD may again be violating the state law, which prohibits “classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment toward a race or class of people, advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals, or are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.”

For more information check out Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s article “TUSD’s Lift of Book Ban Draws Ire of Arizona Department of Education.” To read more about the 2012 Tucson book ban, check out Sampsonia Way’s article “Book Smugglers in the United States,” about writer Tony Diaz and Librotraficantes bringing banned books back to Tucson.

About the Author

Olivia Stransky is an editorial assistant and video editor for Sampsonia Way. She received her B.A. in literature and film from Bard College at Simon’s Rock. While a student, she worked as the editor-in-chief of Glacial Erratic, Simon’s Rock’s literary and arts magazine. After graduating she received a grant to serve as a Fulbright Scholar in Slovakia, where she taught English literature and conversation at Univerzita Komenského in Bratislava.

View all articles by Olivia Stransky

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