Hanover County School Board in Richmond, Virginia: 1966 Attempt to Censor Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

Source: bughuh, “These are interesting.” Imgur. 18 November 2014



Source: Shields, Charles J. Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. New York: Henry Holt, 2006, pp. 254-255.

Source: Google Books:


In 1966, the Hanover County School Board in Richmond, Virginia, attempt to censor Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird by removing it from school libraries after W.C. Bosher, local physician, father of a local student, and county Board of Education trustee, stated that a novel about rape was “improper for our children to read.” The Richmond News-Leader editorialized against the censorship and used its Beadle Bumble Fund to give away copies of the novel. Ms. Lee sent this letter to the Richmond News-Leader:

“Recently I have received echoes down this way of the Hanover County School Board’s activities, and what I’ve heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read.

“Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners. To hear that the novel is ‘immoral’ has made me count the years between now and 1984, for I have yet to come across a better example of doublespeak.

“I feel, however, that the problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism. Therefore I enclose a small contribution to the Beadle Bumble Fund that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice.”

For More Information: Shields, Charles J. Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. New York: Henry Holt, 2006, pp. 254-255.

See Google Books:


For More Information: “James J. Kilpatrick.” Wikipedia. Accessed 18 November 2014.


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