Roberto Clemente book pulled from shelves in Florida school district
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A book about the life and legacy of Pittsburgh Pirates' legend Roberto Clemente has been pulled from shelves in a Florida county.
The legacy of Clemente is usually viewed favorably, from his amazing on-the-field skills to his work in the community. So, it has some questioning why a book about his legacy was pulled.
The book "Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates" has been pulled from classrooms in Duval County, which includes Jacksonville.
"Wait, a second. What is going on? I was upset about it," Clemente's son, Roberto Jr., said over Zoom about his initial reaction.
Roberto Clemente Jr. said the book is about his dad's upbringing, his time with the Pirates, and humanitarian work. Part of the book discusses the racism Roberto Clemente was subjected to.
"You cannot erase history. That is part of history. That was part of his makeup as a human being and what he went through," Clemente Jr. said.
It created a social media firestorm, and he was getting bombarded with messages.
"I woke up and it was a wildfire going on. I'm still trying to dig into it and get my hands wrapped around it," Clemente Jr. said.
Former Pirates teammate and friend Steve Blass said the book should be perfect for children to engage with. He said Roberto Clemente's life is something many of us should strive to be.
"It's great that the children would be exposed to a man who was a humanitarian, not just a great athlete," Blass said.
According to Duval County Schools, the book was pulled as part of its effort to do the state required review of books. The district said all books must be certified by a media specialist.
Literacy group PEN America said this and almost 200 other books have been pulled because they include topics like race. 1Hood Media in Pittsburgh says we can't just ignore history – good or bad.
"I believe that it's important to know that history that happened in the past so we don't repeat it," 1Hood Media Co-Founder and CEO Jasiri X said.
Clemente Jr. said his family wants to learn more about what is happening in Duval County. They believe listening is part of finding a solution here.
"We sat down as a family and we want to reach out next week next week and see if we can have a conversation," Clemente Jr. said.
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