The LA Times recently reported that a Pennsylvania High School will remove The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the eleventh grade curriculum and school library.  Commenting, the school claims that the book “offends” the students.   This action supports white supremacist’s historical revisionist efforts to deny the existence of slavery in America.  Interestingly, such action is certainly in line with the Trumpist bigoted stance.  His supporters are wasting no time in following the reality-show personality’s lead in the free expression of hatred, bigotry and lies.

Mark Twain was a white man who promoted freedom and abhorred enslavement. His story exposes of the insufferable behavior of a white male dominated South angered by the loss of the civil war.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn plainly tells how white male anger manifests into violence, poverty and segregation.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a rich commentary against slavery and  bigotry.   The important lessons of this book are never to be forgotten.


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn examines the segregated culture that emerged after the civil war.  Here, Mark Twain defines the reconstruction era in real time and examines white Southern resistance to the end of slavery.   The story of a friendship between a white boy and a Freed Slave tells a truth that historical revisionists and white supremacists do not want to admit:  In the post-slavery era of exclusion and segregation, even the idea of such a relationship was unthinkable. Such rhetoric would dangerously influence young readers.  It was not long after that prohibitionists utilized a similar “gateway” theory against beer and wine.

Bigotry is still rampant throughout the country.  No longer confined to the Southern States, white supremacists are convinced that they are superior; therefore, they selfishly believe that any human rights abuses are at the fault of those at the receiving end of their spite.  White supremacists posit that they are not to be blamed for their racist stance, and any evidence of such must be erased from  historical records and fading memories.

“I do not believe we are censoring” said the Friends Central School principal, according the LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-pennsylvania-school-strikes-huckleberry-finn-from-11th-grade-curriculum-20151214-story.html). Instead, the school lays the decision to ban the book squarely on the students, claiming that the book “made them uncomfortable”.

huckleberrry finn


Importantly, Twain’s masterpiece sequel is a lesson in American history, literature and culture.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the most targeted books for censorship.  First banned almost immediately after its publication in 1885, the literary assault continues.  The use of the “n-word” is the most contentious element.  Today, it is considered an obscenity.  Even in the context of the times, it was a term of great racial disparity, and continued in common use well into the late 20th century.  At the time of publication and though deeply offensive, the term had much less of the social and political power it garners today in an of age racial awareness and social media.   By not explaining this historical fact to the students, the school has committed an error in curriculum, not book choice.  Addressing the context and historical importance of Huckleberry Finn may ease students understanding of the issues addressed.

In conclusion, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn tells a truth that historical revisionists and white supremacists do not want to admit. They surmise, it is to white male advantage if posterity does not understand the importance of this book.  Possibly, any perceived offensiveness from 19th century verbiage is due to the lack of instruction in the assignment.  However, it is not surprising that a Trump America would prefer that the millennial generation never learn America’s true history.  Specifically,  they deny the suffering under brutish white male domination.  After all, these 17 year old students, exposed to ongoing evil of bigoted white men, will be eligible to vote in 2020.

(c) 2016 Kimmarie Rojas.