AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– An author whose book was removed from Columbia County schools’ curriculum was in Augusta. New York Times best selling author Nic Stone visited Augusta University to speak with educators from Georgia and South Carolina.
The AU Writing Project and Office of Diversity and Inclusion invited Stone to talk about teaching diversity through books.
“A lot of teachers are afraid, and they really want to incorporate diverse literature in their classrooms and they don’t quite know how to navigate those waters,” director of AU Writing Project, Rebecca Harper said.
The Maxwell Theatre was filled with teachers from Georgia and South Carolina.
“Every person that showed up today certainly showed their commitment to education because they came, because they wanted to know more about her work,” Harper said.
“Teachers you are very, very much appreciated. Especially at a time like this one,” Stone said.
The event happened just a week after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed SB 226 into law, which will allow schools to ban books they deem divisive.
Her book, “Dear Martin,” is about a black male who has a run in with the cops. The main character writes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to figure out if his teachings coincide with the 21st century. The book was banned by hundreds of school districts. Columbia County School System removed the book from curriculum options provided as supplemental reading material to teachers in 2019. At the time, school leaders said it was due to, “racial tendencies as a negative attribute of society.”
“I was sad. I think what people do not realize or think about when they decide to ban a book is that you’re telling the kids who are like the characters in the book that they are not welcome in certain spaces,” Stone said.
But Stone says she doesn’t think banning books about race will end the conversation.
“Hopefully, the kind of push and pull of the issue will bring some of this stuff up to the surface. Then we don’t have a choice but to talk about it,” Stone said.