Go Tell It on the Mountain (novel)

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Artist: James Baldwin

Year: 1953

Date of Action: February 1994

Region: North America

Location: Hudson Falls, NY

Subject: Explicit Sexuality, Political/Economic/Social Opinion, Religion, Sexual/Gender Orientation, Violence

Medium: Literature

Confronting Bodies: Hudson Falls School Board, Hudson Falls, NY

Description of Artwork: Go Tell it On the Mountain was James Baldwin's semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story and debut novel. It has been used in schools since its publication in 1953.

It tells the story of John Grimes, an intelligent teenager in 1930s Harlem, and his relationship to his family and his church. The novel also reveals the back stories of John's mother, his biological father, and his violent, religious fanatic step-father, Gabriel Grimes. The novel focuses on the role of the Pentecostal Church in the lives of African-Americans, as a negative source of repression and moral hypocrisy and also as a positive source of inspiration and community. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Go Tell It on the Mountain 39th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Time Magazine included the novel in its "TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005". (source: Wikipedia)

The Incident: Among a number of books challenged in the Hudson Falls Book Bannings, "Go Tell it on the Mountain" was challenged as required reading in the Hudson Falls, N.Y. schools because the book has recurring themes of rape, masturbation, violence and degrading treatment of women. It had already been challenged as a ninth-grade summer reading option in Prince William County, Va. (1988) because the book was "rife with profanity and explicit sex." (Source: 2004 Banned Books Resource Guide by Robert P. Doyle).

Results of Incident: Unknown


Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century, ALA

Banned Books by African-American Authors, ThoughtCo., Updated November 02, 2017

National Coalition Against Censorship 2013 “Banned Books Library” Catalog

Go Tell It on the Mountain (novel), Wikipedia