The timeless tale, long celebrated for its warmth and humor despite dealing with serious issues such as rape and racial inequality in the American South, would be the focus of controversy since first entering the classroom in 1963.
In 1968 the National Education Association placed the novel second on a list of titles receiving the most complaints from private organizations. The top spot belonged to Little Black Sambo.
Racial slurs, profanity, and blunt dialogue about rape have led people to challenge its appropriateness in libraries and classrooms so often that, today, the American Library Association reports that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most challenged classics of all time and still ranks at number 21 of the 100 most frequently challenged books of 2000–2009. Even as recently as 2011 and amid 326 other book challenges for that year, it ranks in the top ten more than 50 years after seeing print.