On Thursday, the third of February at 7pm, Clare Brown, the rector at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in downtown Athens in McMinn County, Tennessee, is holding a live reading of Maus. McMinn County is the school district that removed Maus, the graphic novel by Art Spiegelman, from their curriculum, that would have been used to teach children about the Holocaust. The listing of the event reads as follows;
Join us for a book-club style conversation about the 1992 Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel Maus. This documentary and creative book tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, and his son, the author.
Why have this conversation in church? Too many Christian churches in Europe and the United States did not raise protest against the events unfolding under Hitler's leadership in Europe, turning away from suffering and oppression out of fear or a misguided sense that those events were not their concern. We know that anti-semitic violence is not a thing of the past but affects communities across the world and our own state today, and are committed to standing against hatred and harm. In the Episcopal Church at our baptism, we commit to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being. Together, let's dive into this story so that we might better live out that call in our time and community.
Please read the book ahead of our conversation so that we can fully engage with the text, giving it the attention and accurate reading it merits. Content warning: this book contains some profanity and depictions and discussion of genocide.
All ages are welcome. If you are wanting a copy of the comic in question, there are lots of people willing to buy you a copy. According to Amazon, editions of Maus are now taking the 2nd, 5th, 12th and 21st place on the Amazon graphic novel charts, with The Complete Maus now the 27th bestselling book of all. Below is an official statement from the McMinn County Board of Education;
One of the most important roles of an elected board of education is to reflect the values of the community it serves. The McMinn County Board of Education voted to remove the graphic novel Maus from McMinn County Schools because of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide. Taken as a whole, the Board felt this work was simply too adult-oriented for use in our schools.
We do not diminish the value of Maus as an impactful and meaningful piece of literature, nor do we dispute the importance of teaching our children the historical and moral lessons and realities of the Holocaust. To the contrary, we have asked our administrators to find other works that accomplish the same educational goals in a more age-appropriate fashion. The atrocities of the Holocaust were shameful beyond description, and we all have an obligation to ensure that younger generations learn of its horrors to ensure that such an event is never repeated.
We simply do not believe that this work is an appropriate text for our students to study. McMinn County Board of Education