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Banned Books Information and Resources: Censorship

Activity Description and Instructions

History of Banned Books Censorship: A Short Timeline

History of Banned Books Censorship, A Short Timeline

By , Guide

Many of the books we now consider classics were once banned by federal, state, and local governments in an effort to keep undesirable influences out of the mainstream American consciousness. It didn't work. You can thank the First Amendment—and centuries of activism by authors, publishers, and supporters who took considerable risks to make banned books available to readers.

[Continue to the essay]

Colleges Can Censor, Too (Inside HigherEd)

It could be open season for censors on college campuses -- and not just of student newspapers.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled on Monday [1] that a controversial 1988 Supreme Court decision that gives high schools the ability to restrict the free speech rights of student newspapers may apply to student newspapers subsidized by public colleges and universities, too. [read the complete article]

The Long History of Censorship

By Mette Newth
Norway, 2010

Censorship has followed the free expressions of men and women like a shadow throughout history. In ancient societies, for example China, censorship was considered a legitimate instrument for regulating the moral and political life of the population. The origin of the term censor can be traced to the office of censor established in Rome i 443 BC. In Rome, as in the ancient Greek communities, the ideal of good governance included shaping the character of the people. Hence censorship was regarded as an honourable task. In China, the first censorship law was introduced in 300 AD. [read the complete article]

Standing up to Censorship and McCarthyism During the "Second Red Scare" (1956)

In 1956 Storm CenterOffsite Link, an American drama film directed by screenwriter Daniel TaradashOffsite Link, from a screenplay by Taradash and Elick Moll, and starring Bette DavisOffsite Link as the librarian, Alicia Hull, was first overtly anti-McCarthyismOffsite Link film to be produced in HollywoodOffsite Link during the height of the "Second Red Scare" (late 1940s through late 1950s). [read the complete article with videos here]

Censorship in U.S. History (PBS)

Source: From PBS > At Home > Communication

News & Censorship

During World War II most Americans followed the news of the war through three sources: radio broadcasts, newspapers – there were more than 11,000 in the country then – and newsreels that preceded the movies at their local theatres. These sources played a vital role in connecting the home front with the war front and kept Americans informed about the progress of the fighting overseas as well as its impact on their communities...[Read the complete story]

Censorship in U.S. History (CIA)

Secrets of Victory: The Office of Censorship and The American Press and Radio in World War II

Intelligence in Recent Public Literature By Michael S. Sweeney. Chapel Hill & London: University of North Carolina Press, 2001. 274 pages. Reviewed by Robert J. Hanyok

         On 17 August 1942, a nationally syndicated columnist wrote that she had received “a very stern letter” about her remarks on the weather, “… and so from now on I shall not tell you whether it rains or whether the sun shines where I happen to be.” The columnist was Eleanor Roosevelt and she was referring to an article in which she had described weather conditions during one of her official visits around the country with her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, during World War II. That the First Lady would receive such a reprimand reveals much about the nature, scope, and effectiveness of censorship in wartime America. How and why such information restrictions succeeded are the subjects of Michael Sweeney’s history of the Office of Censorship, Secrets of Victory. [Read the complete article]

Selected Websites on Censorship