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Alabama Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee To Host Discussion On Censorship In Our Schools

Charles SuhorCharles Suhor, Independent Scholar and member of the Alabama Humanities Foundation Speakers Bureau, presents “Literature in Crisis – Challenged Books” on September 29, 2006 at 11:30 a.m. at the Birmingham Public Library (Arrington Auditorium).


Teaching the enjoyment and appreciation of literature has long been a cornerstone of education. But challenges to literary works -- from Shakespeare to Steinbeck to contemporary writers like Toni Morrison and R.K Rowling -- have grown dramatically, placing this precious part of our cultural heritage in real jeopardy.


Drawing on decades of experience as a censorship consultant, Dr. Charles Suhor will explore this problem in terms of major literary, educational, and social trends -- the development of young adult (YA) literature; the study of realistic and multi-ethnic contemporary works that include sexual content and profanity; the growth of organized resistance groups (e.g., PABBIS, Parents Against Bad Books in Schools); and the ways in which conflicts over what should be taught have been worked out in the real world of teachers, students, parents, and school administrations. Recent cases will be described, including Alabama challenges.


The presenter will make use of overhead projector transparencies. Audience comments and questions will be encouraged. This presentation is part of the Alabama Humanities Foundation (AHF) 2005-2006 Speaker in the House program.


Charles Suhor was born in New Orleans, where he attended public elementary and high schools. He received a B.A. degree from Loyola, an M.A. from Catholic University, and a Ph.D. from Florida State, all in English Education. He was a high school English teacher and English Supervisor in New Orleans Public Schools for twenty years and subsequently was Deputy Executive Director of the National Council of Teachers of English in Urbana, Illinois. There he played a key role in developing the Council's anti-censorship program. Since semi-retirement in 1997, he has conducted the nationwide program from his home in Montgomery.


Dr. Suhor has written several literature and composition textbooks and numerous articles on English teaching, censorship, and interdisciplinary topics for English Journal, Language Arts, Educational Leadership, Phi Delta Kappan, and others. He has conducted education workshops on literature, composition, and peak experiences in teaching and learning.


Dr. Suhor's recent activities in addition to censorship work have been wide-ranging. He has collaborated with pianist Ellis Marsalis on programs that show connections between jazz improvisation and everyday language. He performs with The Jazz and Poetry Connection, a cooperative of poets and musicians that has appeared in seven states. He has taught jazz history at Auburn University's Montgomery campus and written an award-winning history of jazz in postwar New Orleans. His current projects include editing his late son's writings preparing an anthology of poems.


The Alabama Humanities Foundation is a nonprofit organization funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (of which the AHF is the state affiliate), as well as by corporate and individual donors. The Foundation is dedicated to the promotion and celebration of the humanities throughout the state of Alabama and, to that end, conducts its own statewide programs and awards grants, on a competitive basis, to nonprofit organizations for humanities projects. For more information on Speaker in the House or other AHF programs, please call (205) 558-3980. For more information about this program, please call Pamela Lyons at (205) 226-3613.