NAACP's Problem with Huckleberry Finn

Topics: Naacp

The overreaction of the NAACP to the Pennsylvania conference held in 1999 led to important discoveries and insight into the writings of Mark Twain(Hentoff). The NAACP petitioned to have the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” removed from the school system (Hentoff). NAACP had a misconceived argument against the book stating that the book was harmful and could lead African American children to have poor self-esteem issues although this was not proven (Hentoff). “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was deemed racist by the NAACP during the Pennsylvania conference although, the word nigger is used frequently throughout the book the story is based during the days of slavery when that word was acceptable by most white people (Hentoff).

The word nigger would not be appropriate to use in this century and should not have been used then yet it marans an era of how things were at that time when racism was so prevalent. Mark Twain wrote the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” about a young boy’s youthful adventure yet; the racism that was present during the 19th century is expressed very clearly in the story.

The setting of the story was based in the South when the whites were the dominating race and slavery was still present and cruelty towards the African American race was so prevalent.

African American Children were interviewed by Nat Hentoff the author of expelling ‘Huck Finn’ proving that the NAACP’s conception of Huckleberry Finn was their misconception (Hento ff). The children being interviewed were eighth-graders, who had better insight than most adults stating that the book was not racist and is an anti-slavery and anti-racist story even with the racial slurs in the book (Hentoff).

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The “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” continue to be a timeless story that continues to hold children’s interest today. The “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is still often studied in colleges as one of the modern fiction classics.

Huckleberry Finn was faced with tough issues that children are not faced with in the world today yet, children can still relate his struggles to their own, making better choices and doing right from wrong. (Hentoff). Huck’s library Finn chose to go with what he felt was right even though it was not what he was taught by grownups or was acceptable by the grownups (Hentoff).

The “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is part of our history that we may not want to admit to yet, it should not be forgotten or swept under the carpet so we do not have to face the past. There have been others besides the NAACP that requested the book be taken off the shelves of the library in schools due to ignorance (Hentoff).

These attempts to have “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” Finn removed from the schools is a futile attempt to erase a part of the past that the younger generation needs to learn about and make their own decisions. Huckleberry Finn makes it very clear that every person should be treated with respect regardless of their color he sets a wonderful example for any child that reads the story. Hopefully, America has come a long way since the days of Huckleberry Finn.

Those that still view Huckleberry Finn as a racist book need to read it, and see the book for what it is. The NAACP in 1999 was over-sensitive to the issues of the past brought up in the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”.

Works Cited

  1. Hentoff, Nat. “Expelling Huck Finn.”. Tribune, 27 Nov 1999. nd. 2 Jul 2013. <A25>. (Hentoff)

Cite this page

NAACP's Problem with Huckleberry Finn. (2022, Jun 15). Retrieved from

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