100-year-old Florida resident Grace Linn spoke out against a book-banning policy in her local school district, delivering a powerful speech.
Book banning has been a controversial issue for centuries. The United States, for example, saw its first book banned in 1637. While the reasons behind the censorship may vary from religious extremism to political disagreements, the practice of banning books remains a contentious issue. In recent years, there has been an increase in attempts to ban books from schools and libraries across the nation, with 2022 marking a record high. However, for Florida resident Grace Linn, who is 100 years old, the battle against book banning has been going on for years.
At a recent Martin County School Board meeting, Linn, the widow of a World War II veteran, spoke out against the district's book-banning policy. Linn spoke passionately about the importance of the freedom to read and how the Nazis crushed this freedom during World War II. She emphasized that the First Amendment guarantees the right to read whatever one wants, but some people are trying to take that right away.
Linn then shared a quilt she had made, with each square representing a stack of books that had been banned or targeted, including popular titles like "Harry Potter," "A Wrinkle in Time," "Of Mice and Men," and "The Color Purple." The quilt's purpose was to remind everyone that these books need to be proudly displayed, protected, and read if they choose to.
According to Scary Mommy, in her speech, Linn expressed her strong belief that the actions of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and conservative organizations regarding book banning are unjustifiable. DeSantis has recently enacted laws mandating elementary schools to provide a searchable list of all books accessible in their libraries or utilized in education, while also authorizing the removal of specific books, such as John Green's "Looking for Alaska" and Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale."
Also, Linn believes that banning books and burning them is the same, as both are done out of fear of knowledge. Fear is not freedom or liberty but control. Linn's husband died as a father of freedom, and she considers herself a mother of liberty. According to Comic Sands, she believes that banned books need to be proudly displayed and protected by school boards like this.
Linn delivered a passionate speech that gained immense popularity after novelist Jodi Picoult shared it on her TikTok account, receiving nearly 1 million views. Picoult has been a vocal critic of book censorship in Florida schools, as some of her own books were among the 92 titles removed from shelves in the Martin County School District. In fact, more than 20 of the banned books were authored by Picoult herself.
Book banning remains a contentious issue, and Grace Linn's speech serves as a reminder of the importance of the freedom to read. As Linn stated, fear is not freedom or liberty, but control. Banned books need to be protected and proudly displayed, not hidden away or burned. The fight against book banning is ongoing, and it is up to all of us to ensure that books remain accessible to all who wish to read them.