The school board voted to remove five classic works of literature from the curriculum due to what it deemed “controversial” content: “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou.
In response, Portugal. The Man — which hails from Wasilla, a city within the Mat-Su Borough — have pledged to donate copies of the books directly to students in the district who would like to read them.
“These titles are often considered staples for junior and senior English classes across the country. We believe this decision is narrow-minded and unpatriotic, and we are not okay with it,” Portugal. The Man said in a press release. “That is why we are putting out a standing offer that if any student/parent in the Mat-Su Borough School District wants a copy of one or more of these books, we will mail them to you.”
This is not the first time the band has advocated for social justice. During its most recent North American tour, Portugal. The Man had native tribal leaders open each show with a blessing to remind the audience that North America was once native land. Group members have also worked with mental health organization Keep Oregon Well, gun reform movement March for Our Lives and climate action initiative Protect Our Winters.
To receive their free copies of the banned books, Mat-Su students can contact the band by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.