Toni Morrison: why books must not be censored

"You have to read, you have to know, you have to have access to knowledge," said Toni Morrison, just weeks after one of her own novels, "Song of Solomon," was banned from (and then reinstated to) a reading list at a Michigan high school.

Morrison was speaking at an event in New York to launch the National Coalition Against Censorship's new initiative, the Free Speech Leadership Council. According to the Guardian, she spoke with gratitude of "the sacredness attached to reading in her own family."

Censorship, she said, comes from fear of information and the idea that knowledge can be dangerous – which she traced back to Eve's temptation in the Garden of Eden.

Morrison is also the editor of and a contributor to "Burn This Book," a collection of essays on censorship.

"The thought that leads me to contemplate with dread the erasure of other voices, of unwritten novels, poems whispered or swallowed for fear of being overheard by the wrong people, outlawed languages flourishing underground, essayists' questions challenging authority never being posed, unstaged plays, cancelled films – that thought is a nightmare," she writes. "As though a whole universe is being described in invisible ink."

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