Events, Literary, Rare Book Collection, Special Collections

“Banned and Rare” Readings To Mark First Amendment Day, Oct. 2

Event flier

First Amendment Day: Banned and in the Rare Book Collection
Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012
Wilson Special Collections Library
5 p.m. | Book Display, Main Lobby
5:30 p.m. | Program, Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Free and open to the public
Information: Liza TerllFriends of the Library, (919) 548-1203

Members of the UNC community will read from original editions of banned and censored books in the Wilson Special Collections Library as part of UNC’s fourth annual First Amendment Day celebration on Oct. 2.

“First Amendment Day: Banned and in the Rare Book Collection” will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of Wilson Library. A display of banned books from the Rare Book Collection will be on view at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Among the readers will be Hugh Stevens, Raleigh-based First Amendment attorney and former chair of the board of directors of the UNC Friends of the Library; University Librarian Sarah Michalak; UNC professors Emilio del Valle Escalante and Sharon James; and Kashif Powell, actor and UNC Ph.D. student in Performance Studies.

“How does a book become rare?” asked Claudia Funke, curator of rare books at UNC, and organizer of the event. “One way is for it to be banned. Great research libraries exist to collect the historical record, and their rare book collections are replete with controversial texts. The UNC Rare Book Collection is no exception.”

Readers will share excerpts from a variety of rare books, including:

  • A fifteenth-century edition of the Ars Amatoria of the ancient Roman poet Ovid;
  • The 1861 first printing in alphabetic K’iche’ of the Popol Vuh, a sacred Maya text that survived the Spanish Conquest’s destruction of indigenous books in only one transcription;
  • Alton Trials: Of Winthrop S. Gilman, Who was Indicted . . . for the Crime of Riot . . . While Engaged in Defending a Print Press From an Attack . . . by an Armed Mob (1838);
  • The short story “Dexterity,” by Russian émigré Nadezhda Teffi, whose works were banned under Stalin in the Soviet Union; and
  • Walker Percy’s copy of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

First Amendment Day, organized by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, is designed to celebrate the First Amendment and explore its role in the lives of Carolina students. The center is a collaboration between the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Law.

The reading also coincides with Banned Books Week, Sept. 30 – Oct. 6, an annual national celebration of the freedom to read.

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