The book details Moore’s childhood in Takoma Park, Md., and the Bronx, and tells the parallel story of another black man of about the same age named Wes Moore, who grew up in Baltimore and is now serving a sentence for his role in the murder of an off-duty Baltimore police officer County. In contrast, candidate Moore became a Rhodes Fellow and White House Fellow. The book launched its national profile.
“I think Mr. Moore needs to be cleaned up and the book needs to be removed from the curriculum,” Cox said.
The Moore campaign downplayed concerns about the book during the crowded primary he won, calling Cox’s allegation – on the day Moore defeated the freshman state’s legislature by more than 20 percentage points – a “desperate attempt by Dan Cox to distract from today’s poll results.” Moore Spokesman Brian Adam Jones went on to say that Cox was “peddling baseless conspiracy theories.”
Cox also said having the books in city schools is akin to distributing campaign materials at taxpayer expense. Citing an independent federal rule about equal time for political candidates on radio and broadcast stations, Cox said he wants his campaign materials in schools, too.
Maryland voters, tell us what you want to hear from the gubernatorial nominee.
“It is inappropriate to present material that is truly fictional campaign material as part of a curriculum, especially this fall. I’d like at least the same amount of time because my campaign materials are truthful,” Cox said, later adding that it was a matter of integrity and character that Moore allowed the inaccuracy to remain on the book cover for years.
An uncle of the imprisoned Wes Moore, Daren Muhammad, aligned himself with Cox and also criticized the book and the portrayal of some family members. Muhammad, who has been speaking publicly about the book since the spring, said Monday he never gave Moore permission to write about his parents and that it was traumatizing to have them described in a national bestseller.
Cox said his objection to the book was part of his pitch to voters that parents need more control over the school curriculum.
When asked if there were any other books he would like to see removed from the curriculum, Cox said parents have told him they have “very serious concerns about books like ‘Gender Queer'” and what he calls age-inappropriate depictions referred to as sexual acts.
The graphic novel is a memoir by Maia Kobabe about growing up asexual and non-binary. It was pulled from schools in Virginia Beach and discussed in counties from South Carolina to the Chicago suburbs.
“We need to go back to world-class education,” Cox said, adding that he believes teachers should focus on core subjects because “that’s where the jobs are.”