Memphis Censors Comics

I found a very short article about a group of comic book censors meeting at the museum in one of the museum’s press scrapbooks. Since I had to go to the library to look at microfilm for an unrelated exhibit, I decided to do a little extra digging and figure out what the story was. So here you go, the story of Memphis’ fight against the dastardly influence of comic books:

The Pink Palace Family of Museums

1954 was an unpleasant year for the comic book industry. In the spring, psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham published Seduction of the Innocent, a scathing assessment of superhero, crime and horror comics. He asserted that these books were not safe for young people because of their corrupting factors. This influence made them a leading cause of juvenile delinquency, which was a widespread fear among adults in the 1950s. His writings led to an outcry against comic books in magazine and newspaper editorials as well as a series of hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency. In April 1954, Wetham took the stand and stated,

“I can only say that in my opinion this is a public-health problem. I think it ought to be possible to determine once and for all what is in these comic books and I think it ought to be possible to keep the…

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Published by Caroline Mitchell Carrico

I am a writer, mom, and museum enthusiast in Memphis. Also a fan of reading all the words, cooking all the vegetables, and watching all my kids' soccer games.

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