Tuesday, February 19, 2008


(This entry is copied from The Writer's Almanac, but I wanted to share it with you all.)

Originally uploaded by misslissa13
It's the anniversary of the first state literature censorship board in the country. On this day, 55 years ago (1953), the Georgia Assembly unanimously voted to create the Georgia Literature Commission, a censorship board that would keep "obscene" literature out of the state. The commission defined obscenity as "literature offensive to chastity or modesty." Three men made up the commission; one of them, a Baptist minister. If these three men decided something was obscene, they had the power to prevent its sale and could also recommend criminal prosecution.

The commission took offense to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, among others, but the commission found its match when it ruled Alan Marshall's Sin Whisper obscene. Its war against the book marked the beginning of the end for the commission, as its decision was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The board faded out of existence after 1973, a victim of budget cuts.

from The Writer's Almanac 2.19.2008

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