Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Good-bye, Laura!

Laura Ingalls Wilder with her fans
Laura Ingalls Wilder as a young lady
Young Laura
I have no words. From Fox News:
Laura Ingalls Wilder's name is set to be removed from a major children's book award after concerns were raised about the "Little House on the Prairie" author's depiction of certain races in the early-to-mid 20th century. The Association of Library Service to Children's (ALSC) board voted unanimously on Saturday to rename the "Laura Ingalls Wilder Award" as the "Children’s Literature Legacy Award."

The association, which took the vote at its board meeting in New Orleans, said the vote "was greeted by a standing ovation by the audience in attendance." Wilder is best known for her "Little House on the Prairie" novels, which the ALSC has stated "includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC's core values" based on Wilder's portrayal of black people and Native Americans. The first award was given to Wilder in 1954. The ALSC, which is based in Chicago, says her work continues to be published and read but her "legacy is complex" and "not universally embraced." (Read more.)
From The Guardian:
 Wilder was born in 1867 and died in 1957. She is best known for her eight Little House on the Prairie novels, about pioneer life in the American West, which were published between 1932 and 1943. In 2010, the British broadcaster Samira Ahmed wrote for the Guardian: “Wilder has a special status in American culture despite posthumous allegations of racism. The Osage nation, according to biographer Pamela Smith Hill, still condemns her work, which was based on their eviction.

“The novels are full of phrases that are unacceptable today. Even in her own lifetime Wilder apologised for her thoughtlessness and amended a line in Little House on the Prairie that said Kansas had ‘no people, only Indians’. It now reads, ‘no settlers, only Indians’.” (Read more.)
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1 comment:

Susan Kramer said...

This is sad, much like the rewriting and editing of the old Nancy Drew books, to filter out politically incorrect phrasing and characterizations. We cannot rewrite history, nor the expressions of authors of their time. It creates a sanitized, colorless transcript. It is no wonder children are not picking up the classics. I fully understand the objections of those who do not wish to perpetuate dated reflections on racism or colonialism. But they forget that these authors are of their time, and their writing opens a window on their thoughts and those of their contemporaries.