Huck Finn, Boo tossed off Duluth schools’ required reading list

Duluth schools are moving on from “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Huckleberry Finn.”

The Duluth News Tribune says the two books will no longer be required reading in the curriculum because racial slurs are used in them.

“We felt that we could still teach the same standards and expectations through other novels that didn’t require students to feel humiliated or marginalized by the use of racial slurs,” said Michael Cary, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction.

The district has received complaints about both books over the years, he said.

“It’s wrong,” local NAACP president Stephan Witherspoon said of the language in the books. “There are a lot more authors out there with better literature that can do the same thing that does not degrade our people. I’m glad that they’re making the decision and it’s long overdue, like 20 years overdue.”

“Huckleberry Finn” is the 14th most challenged book, according to the American Library Association, and To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t far behind.

It cites a 1977 Eden Valley, Minn., ban as one of the first instances of a challenge to “To Kill a Mockingbird” because “damn” and “whore lady” appear in the novel.

The News Tribune says English teachers in the district were not consulted before the decision , though they appear to support it.

[Correction: The original blog post said teachers appeared to support the decision. This is incorrect. The teachers object to the unilateral decision to remove the material from the curriculum. I apologize for the misinformation.]