October 2, 2023

Jordan Blumetti: ‘Reading is resistance’: students and parents take on DeSantis’s book bans

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This piece from The Guardian profiles several Florida groups pushing back against DeSantis reading restrictions. For instance, there’s high school junior Iris Mogul.

The Parental Rights in Education Act and the Stop Woke Act have led to students being barred from taking some college-prep courses that are still available elsewhere in the country (most notably African American studies and Psychology), which jeopardizes scholarship and admissions requirements.

Upon learning that her AP English teacher might not be able to use Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison in the syllabus this year, Mogul came up with an idea to start a book club. Her aptly named Banned Books Club was established last month, featuring titles that have been removed from public school circulations in Florida, and meets at a celebrated Miami bookstore called Books & Books. A range of people of different ages and backgrounds, including a handful of Mogul’s peers, an audio producer and an English teacher attend.

“I wanted to share thoughts and ideas with a diverse group of people and dig into why these books were banned,” Mogul says.

The further the governor’s legislation goes, Mogul says, the more her peers are beginning to realize the knock-on effects, noting that books by Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and Zora Neale Hurston, among others, are integral to the ways in which historians study and interpret the past. The book club chose Their Eyes Were Watching God by Hurston – the Florida novelist and anthropologist and central figure of the Harlem Renaissance – as the inaugural title.

“Reading these books is a form of resistance,” Mogul says.

Read the full article here.


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