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The Lie: Evolution

Textbook War


Compiled by Karl C. Priest








Items are not arranged by priority.
(Typos are corrected when found without changing “update” reference.)

LAST UPDATE: 1-18-17


There is ample material to set the record straight.
Gold nuggets of truth will glitter among piles of gray gravel propaganda.

Many accusationss are repeated multiple times in separate articles and reports. No attempt has been made here to cite every inaccuracy although some duplication (not identical) have been arbitrarily included.

For detailed documentation of how
the propaganda has been perpetuated

In order to fully understand the protesters as the Courageous Corps of ’74 and
the good citizens and patriots they really were

The Kanawha County Textbook War was arguably one of the top three non-catastrophe events in West Virginia history. It also ranks in the top echelon of conservative history in America. The Kanawha County Textbook War has generated multiple articles, research papers, chapters in books and entire books.

The citations on this page are not intended to insinuate that the authors were in agreement with the protesters. To the contrary, the purpose is to demonstrate that even the most biased writer or researcher discloses facts that contradict the widely held misconceptions of the protesters. The folks who stood up for their children and their country in 1974 were good people—the kind of folks most Americans would want to have as neighbors. It is time that the truth is told!

Were the protesters ignorant? Please see the article “Who is Ignorant” for detailed discussion.If needed, scroll down that page.

Where the protesters anti-intellectual? A former Louisiana congressman was hosted by the protesters at the Civic Center. The subject of his address was to “outline methods senators and representatives could use to help solve the textbook controversy.” (Charleston Daily Mail 1-23-75)

Sounds like that was a wild night for those “radical unintelligent” protesters!

In January of 1974 the protesters hosted a hearing that included the following speakers. The newspaper headline for the first day read “Text Hearing Crowd Light” (Charleston Daily Mail 1-13-1975). One must wonder why the reporter could not connect the 12.6 inch snow fall that fell that day. The following people addressed the panel of protesters.

Marsha Seilaff, editor of Let’s Improve Today’s Education (Arizona)
Conni Marshner, director of the Heritage Foundation (Washington, DC)
Kathy Barker, member of Prince Georges County , MD Board of Education
Max Rafferty, former California Commissioner of Education
William Marshner, editor of The Wanderer (weekly Catholic publication)
Dr. A. C. Janney, chairman of the American Association of Christian Schools
Dr. William Marra, professor of philosophy at Fordham University
Janet Mellon, chairman of “Parents of New York United”
Fr. Edward Berbusse, professor of constitutional history at Fordham University
James McKenna, attorney for the Heritage Foundation
Ari Nelson, Boston radio announcer
Onalee McGraw, director of CURE (Montgomery County, MD parents’ organization)
Jim Skelly, member of Arizona House of Representatives
Dr. Charles Mosser, professor at George Washington University

Source: Several articles in the Charleston Gazette and Daily Mail January 9-16, 1975

Those who oppose her (Alice Moore) find her calm, cool, but determined and generally well prepared. ‘Sweet Alice does her homework,’ a fellow board member once observed ruefully. Kaufman, Paul J. “Alice’s Wonderland; Or, School books are for Banning.” Appalachian Journal Spring 1975:164.

The Kanawha County protesters were seen as ridiculous throwbacks to the early 20 th century. Quite the contrary, it is important to realize that the particular parameters in which protesters waged their complaints were new. With emphasis on relativism, situational ethics, and secular humanism, the leading protesters were not espousing Protestant fundamentalism of the 1920s. Mason, Carol. “An American Conflict: Representing the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy.” Appalachian Journal. Spring 2005: 365.

The academic credentials of Karl Priest are not that of a person lacking intelligence.

A petition (at the June 27 meeting) presented a profile of those books to be excluded from the system and concluded: It is our sincere belief that instructional material of this nature is alien to the proper function of tax supported educational systems and does in fact, represent a body of thought which is counter to the values and convictions of the very citizens who support these systems. [Burger, Robert H. “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of Communications and Power.” Library Quarterly 48.2 (1978): 154] That sounds quite reasonable and intelligent.

“I believe people as a whole are a little more intelligent now and aren’t so easily led by someone who has an ax to grind.” (Byers, Robert J. “Documentary to Feature Textbook Battle.” Charleston Gazette Sept. 23, 1996) That statement was made by a man who was a principal of a school in the hotbed of the protest. Since he is slurring the intelligence of the protesters, let’s look at another statement he made in the article. (Referring to the so-called “separation between church and state”) “Just as it should in schools, religion should be kept separate from politics because, as everyone who has studied history knows, things weren’t so great when the Puritans were in charge. They were burning people at the stake.” Leaving aside the fact that liberal religion was and is very much a part of public school curriculum let’s look at this “scholar’s” knowledge of history. Some of the Puritans had some severe punishments for what they considered crimes, but I have not found that the Puritans ever burned anyone at the stake. It is interesting that the non-Christian “Thomas Jefferson was unwilling to concede to Virginians any moral superiority to the Puritans. Beginning in 1659, Virginia enacted anti-Quaker laws, including the death penalty for refractory Quakers. (

Textbooks with four-letter words and references to Henry Fonda aside, there is little doubt that the education provided the children of the great majority of protesters is not as good as they want—or deserve...Little wonder the parents in Cabin Creek or Campbell’s Creek believe their children are being destroyed by a bureaucratic system that has placed a child in the sixth grade without the ability to read well or multiply. [Humphreys, James.Textbook War in West Virginia.” Dissent 23.2 (April 1976): pgs. 168-169.] The liberal Humpreys was only partially correct. It was a countywide (actually nationwide problem that increased almost exponentially beginning in the late 1960s. Finally, around 2005 liberals started catching on. In 2010 Oprah Winfrey hosted a show called “The Shocking State of Our Schools.”

In 1972 Professor Sidney Simon published Values Clarification-A Handbook of Practical Strategies for Teachers and Students which contained strategies for social transformation. Among the classroom exercises which soon filtered into textbooks and schools everywhere was a tactic called "values voting."... For example, "How many of you

• think there are times when cheating is justified?
• regularly attend religious services and enjoy it?
• would choose to die and go to heaven, if it meant playing a harp all day?"

1970. An editorial in NEA's Today's Education stated, "The change-agent teacher... is part of an association of colleagues in his local schools system, in his state and across the country that makes up an interlocking system of change-agent organizations. This kind of system is necessary because changing our society through the evolutionary educational process requires simultaneous action on three power levels."

1970s (early). "NEA presidents such as Catharine Barrett... began to talk of de-emphasizing academic basics in favor of teachers becoming philosophical 'change agents.'

Dennis Laurence Cuddy, Ph.D., Chronology of Education With Quotable Quotes (Highland City, FL: Pro Family Forum, Inc., 1993)

Logic didn’t seem to work in attempting to deal with the protest.” (Garland, Gregg. “Niles Teachers Hear ‘Horror Stories’ of Censorship. Tribune Chronicle June 18, 1977: 11) This is a statement made by Nell Wood to a group of Ohio teachers. Wood was the chairman of the committee of five white female teachers that selected the protested books. Mrs. Wood was filled with hate toward the protesters in 1974 and her hatred had not subsided in 2009. She referred to the protesters as “stupid” in the radio documentary “The Great Textbook War” (point 47:00 at In the same program she complained that no one ever wanted to hear her opinion (point 49:45 of original version—not on the website version). That claim is disproven by this incident and others cited on page 180 of Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. This particular statement, which was the lead to the news article, is a mixture of blatant falsehood and hyperbole. The protesters can validly argue that logic did not work in attempting to deal with the school board and liberals such as Mrs. Wood. Over 2000 peaceful protesters appeared at a board meeting. Most stood outside in a drenching rain. The board did not listen. Over 12,000 protesters signed a petition against the books. The board did not listen. A group of protesters compiled a 500+ page document explaining in detail their objections. The board did not listen. Mrs. Wood went on to say, “(F)lyers of misstatements were circulated by the protesters...I discovered many people feel it is alright to lie if it is for a godod (sic) cause.” There was a flyer that could have been argued to be misleading. A case could be made that it actually contained correct information incorrectly identified. The flyer certainly was not an intentional lie. This article contained several instances (cited within these Textbook Protesters Truth pages where Mrs. Wood did not get her facts straight to say the least.

Wood continued: A mixture of ‘extreme right-wing fundamentalist’ groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society were responsible for much of the havoc that was created in the West Virginia textbook controversy. She agreed with the extreme left-wing NEA panel which made that conclusion after they came into West Virginia to fan the flames. That claim of outside fundamentalist (regarding the term, see “FIRMly FUNdamentalist) groups driving the protest is not true as proven in Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. The Klan was insignificant and an embarrassment to the protesters. Trey Kay’s documentary stated regarding the Klan, “The textbook protesters had to spend a good deal of time and money publicly disavowing them.” Also see, "Marvin Horan is not a Racist”. Some outside conservatives such as the Heritage Foundation did assist the protesters. However, they did not lead the protest.

(the protest) leaders claimed not that they were more expert than the teachers who chose the books but that the experts were not to be trusted...Mentioning his own background in one meeting with the school superintendent, the Reverend Marvin Horan, who emerged as the movement’s best-known leader for a while, did not say he was a longtime student of the humanistic conspiracy; he said, “I drive a truck for a living, and I preach the gospel because the Lord called me.” The people who found themselves negotiating with the school board on behalf of the protesters were poorly educated working people who made no pretense of being anything else. (Trillin, Calvin. “U.S. Journal: Kanawha County, West Virginia.” New Yorker Sept. 30, 1974: 121) That sounds like humility to me. But, there were many highly educated people who were active in the protest. Of the five preacher leaders, Henry Thaxton, was a college educated accountant and Charles Quigley had a theology degree. See “Who is Ignorant” for more about the preachers and read their own words in Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. Trillin went on: What the boycotters were trying to do, one speaker said to the crowd that gathered outside the school-administration offices during the negotiations, was to “get the government down to where they’ll listen to us little old hillbillies.” Substitute “average tax payer” for “little old hillbillies” and you have a classic description of what conservatives have tried to do to this day. Trillin made a point that supports protester claims: The protesters often said that they and their religious beliefs were being mocked by those who were educated, rich, or powerful. They were right of course.(emphasis added) Their opponents called them “borned-again Christians” and “the Armies of Ignorance.” Office workers at the Board of Education talked about people who phoned in to object to the way the books were “wrote up.” Enough said.

After a committee of teachers proposed a long list of book purchases, school board member Alice Moore questioned their use of the term “dialectology.”

It referred not to the study of dialects but to a preference for allowing students to rely on their home speech patterns in the classroom. In this pre-Ebonics disagreement about nonstandard language at school, Moore said the practice would license incorrect usages such as “dem” and “dat” for “them” and “that.” (Skinner, David. A Battle over Books.” HUMANITIES , September/October 2010 Volume 31, Number 5) In a 10-23-2012 email to me Mrs. Moore elaborated on her position. “ I don't object to dialect being explained in a textbook as it relates to a book or story in order for children to comprehend what they might be reading in a book quoting someone in the dialect, but I object to grammatical error being taught as acceptable for use in any classroom. Every teacher, regardless of the subject taught, should correct improper grammar in every class. Our textbooks encouraged the use of dialect. Children growing up without learning to speak grammatically are handicapped in their choices for life. Why hire English teachers or any teacher if their purpose is not going to produce educated and refined adults?”

We should not only be teaching the young to read, but helping them to judge by the great touchstones of our literature what is worth reading. There is simply not enough time to waste on reading the (at best) inferior literature which has been given a dominate position in the modern classrooms...Claiming a monopoly on “realism” in a world with both gutters and mountain heights, the “progressives” want to point the young toward the sever and declare “that is realism” and “that is life”...Consider the comments of Charleston Gazette columnist Thomas A. Knight: “I like the textbooks...To me they’re vastly superior to McGuffey reader types which portray unreality...Compare the texts we have been discussing with, for example McGuffey’s Sixth Eclectic Reader. Apparently Mr. Knight, who knows about racial epithets and uses such avant-garde terms as “spiffy,” never read a copy. If he had, he would have found there selections from a pantheon of literary giants including: (Mr. Hoar provided an extensive list containing such names as William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Patrick Henry, Washington Irving, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Milton. Alferd Tennyson, Edgar Allen Poe, Benjamin Franklin, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. (Hoar, William P. “Parents Revolt—When Textbooks are Propaganda.” American Opinion Nov. 1974: 13-14. Mr. Hoar is probably the only conservative writer quoted on these pages. His comments are insightful.)

Other comments by Mr. Hoar:

Both proponents and opponents of “progressive education” trace its lineage from John Dewey of Columbia University. Dewey was in 1905, with Upton Sinclair, the founder of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, aiming to capture control of education as a means of attacking traditional American values. (p. 14)
Once seen as the painful cry of people trapped in a technological society, the book dispute can help us find our place in our schools. For example, though the protesters are said to be anti-literature, schools may have been too willing to accept superficial changes to answers charges that teachers were stifling creativity and imagination. Watras, Joseph. “The textbook Dispute in West Virginia, A New Form of Oppression.” Educational Leadership October 1975: 22-23. (The article had one half-page photo of a classroom damaged by a dynamite blast.)

The first scholar to cite Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party was Dr. Adam Laats. See a comprehensive review of his book The Other School Reformers-Conservative Activism in American Education.

See the addendum to 'Godless Books': The 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy for more points that confirm the Kanawha County Textbook Protesters were not ignorant.

This page is based upon points made in a Powerpoint presentation which was prepared to portray the truth about the 1974 textbook protesters to parry the pompous people who have poured propaganda into the public’s perception. Some of the material was overlooked or unavailable when the protesters’ book was being researched. More detailed material can be obtained from Protester Voices: The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. That is a book liberals do not want anyone to read!

The TRUTH is that the Kanawha Coutny Textbook Protesters were true patriots and heroes. They consisted of thousands of humble people who have suffered humiliation because they stood up for children and America in 1974. The Kanawha County Textbook Protesters deserve to be honored.

For documented facts that the Courageous Corps of ’74 were also NOT NARROW-MINDED, NOT RELIGIOUS FANATICS, NOT CENSORSNOT VIOLENT, and NOT RACIST--click on each slur. Also, please see PERTINENT POINTS which do not fit the slur categories. Note: Some items may apply to more than one category. In that case the item is placed arbitrarily into whatever I feel is the best fit. The anchor for these particular pages is “The Facts”.

A detailed example of how propagandists disguised as professors have passed deception down the line since 1974 is in “A Tale of Three Tiny Tomes”.

A video is worth a million words. A video is worth a million words. See Textbook War videos and see if you believe your lying eyes and ears.