Hide the Spine: A WFS Book Controversy

Bella Adjei-Owusu '22, Staff Reporter

The Wilmington Friends School History department accomplishes the task of reminding students why learning from historical events is essential. Yet, the WFS community may raise the question of whether censoring controversial parts of history should be allowed. Certain members of the community think so, as they are anonymously hiding the spines of the Nazi books in the library of Mr. Ergueta’s classroom, preventing other students and staff from recognizing the books through their swastika symbol. As many may know, Mr. Ergueta is one of the history teachers at WFS and teaches delicate historical events such as the Holocaust. As a result, he has many books in his classroom he references and even allows students to borrow, some of them written by Nazis and others, concerning the Holocaust. As controversial as discussing the events of the Holocaust and the Nazis’ impact might be, having access to the works regarding those times could be significant. These texts provide a learning experience and direct support for students to utilize. Still, these factors do not always stop pieces of literature from getting canceled, as this culture does not look over even the most unsuspecting works.

A similar circumstance of censorship found within a library is not one that many would commonly assume; it happened with Dr. Seuss, beloved children’s author. The cancellation of Dr. Seuss has sparked attention across several generations, impacting the youth and all ages who grew up with some association with this author. The New York Times took note of this sudden dissociation with an opinion article titled, “Do Liberals Care if Books Disappear?” highlighting Dr. Seuss’s association with the cancellation of his books. In this article, the author drew a clear connection between Dr. Seuss’s discriminatory works and their impact on his more popular books. When Kaylyn Freeman ’22 was asked about her opinion of the circumstances regarding the revocation of some of Dr. Seuss’s books, she responded that she “separates the art from the artist.”


 It is clear Dr. Seuss’s books cannot be compared to Nazi ones, yet they are both in similar circumstances regarding their cancellation. Each book had been “censored” due to the actions or circumstances of the authors, dismissing the learning opportunities that could be drawn by people who may come across the works of these authors. When relating this issue back to the WFS community, suppose censoring certain works could be considered the right solution to maintaining a harmonious community. How may this decision impact the upcoming student body? Could younger classes struggle to find a strong connection to the material when learning about sensitive topics? It is up to the student body whether keeping those spines covered is the best idea to maintain a calm and informed community.