1953 – The State of Georgia approved the first literature censorship board in the U.S. Newspapers were excluded from the new legislation


Georgia launched its first major campaign against obscene literature in 1953, when the General Assembly unanimously voted to establish the Georgia Literature Commission. The onset of the paperback book revolution in the years after World War II (1941-45), the rising popularity of adult magazines, and the introduction of Playboy magazine in the United States led the legislature to create the commission, consisting of three members who would meet monthly to investigate literature that they suspected to be “detrimental to the morals of the citizens of Georgia.” If the commission determined something to be obscene, it had the power to inhibit distribution by notifying the distributor and then, thirty days later, recommending prosecution by the proper prosecuting attorney. Governor Herman Talmadge appointed Atlanta minister James P. Wesberry, Royston newspaper publisher Hubert L. Dyar, and Greensboro theater owner William R. Boswell to serve four-year terms.

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Source: Lisby, Gregory. “Georgia Literature Commission.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Mar 18, 2013. https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/georgia-literature-commission/