Insectman Home
Contact Us
My Testimony
Our Links
Get Saved
Exodus Mandate
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 accusations 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!


It would be easy to provide plenty of examples of both blatant and subtle slant in news articles. I chose a particular article to serve as a prime example. The New York Times sent a reporter to Kanawha County and he posted several (probably dozens) of articles that were published in the Times. Following are quotes and my comments regarding “Schools Closed in Textbook Rift” by Ben Franklin (Yes, that name is correct.) (New York Times, 9-16-74, pg. 16).

“School officials, fearful of further violence by Fundamentalist crtics of supposedly ‘filthy,' ‘anti-God’ and ‘un-American’ textbooks in the Kanawha County public schools, postponed tonight for at least another day the resumption of classes…” Although it wasn’t quite as uncomplimentary in 1974 as it is today, the word “Fundamentalist” is intended to conjure images of religious fanatics. Putting “supposedly” in front of the issues the protesters had with the books is an attempt to convey that the protesters’ opinions were invalid. See below for how “supposedly” can work both ways.

“Two men were shot last week and a third man who was accused in one of the shootings was nearly beaten to death during confrontations at picket lines.” He conveniently omitted the fact that the most serious shooting was done by a pro-booker*. He may have been unaware that the second shooting was also done by a man who had accepted the books as being OK after his pastor convinced him. He emptied his gun at a group of unarmed men. One might not be surprised that the men he shot at were a little perturbed. The men in these pickets were not the typical protesters. Where their sentiments lay and what their religious convictions were is unknown. It could easily be assumed that they were typical union men. Liberals love the unions.

“The choice of non-school-related targets by the textbook pickets was regarded by many as evidence that other grievances stirred many of the demonstrators.” How many? What is the objective evidence? This is not reporting –it is editorializing. Actually, the protesters that chose to get help from unions were using a strategy of “pull the purse strings and you will get the attention of people who would otherwise ignore you.”

“Dr. Underwood’s decision not to reopen the county’s 121 schools tomorrow morning followed a weekend of sporadic violence here and in neighboring coal counties, including an apparently unprovoked attack on a CBS news reporter, Jed Duval, and his film crew. Mr. Duval said members of the four-man crew had been pushed, punched and knocked to the ground and that their sound equipment had been stolden when they approached an anti-textbook rally last night in the Campbell’s Creek area of the county.” Apparently, Mr. Franklin was perpetuating an unsubstantiated report of that incident. I was told by someone who was there that a group of miners had left the main area where the protesters were having a rally. The CBS crew tried to interject themselves into the miners’ meeting. When the CBS crew ignored the miners’ order to leave, the miners did not take it kindly. The equipment was dropped by the crew, or tossed by the miners (that part I am not sure), into the creek the the CBS crew had crossed in order to try to stick their noses into the miners’ meeting.

“The rural section is the parish of the Rev. Marvin Horan, a self-ordained Baptist preacher who has been one of the leaders of the anti-textbook protest.” Franklin exhibited a major misunderstanding of conservative Protestant churches when he referred to Horan’s “parish” ("an ecclesiastical district having its own church and member of the clergy"— ). That area of Campbell’s Creek (as almost any neighborhood or town in West Virginia (including Charleston) has several churches and local people (who wish to attend church) can go to whichever they chose. Besides being an example of Franklin’s ignorance, the “self-ordained” reference is a snobbish slur which I deal with on the "Not Religious Fanatics” page.

“The (citizen’s review committee, yet to be named, may include at least nine representatives of the anti-textbook forces. This possibility has aroused counter-statements and a few counter-demonstrations by teachers and pupils in defense of academic freedom and integrity.” The choice of “forces,” to describe the protesters, connotes an aggressive army. If Mr. Franklin did not intend that meaning, I have never seen an instance of where he referred to the pro-booker groups as “forces.” The students who demonstrated were just as likely to have wanted to get out of class as on some crusade for “academic freedom.” No K-12 teacher has complete academic freedom. Just let one try to talk about the ill effects of homosexual intercourse. “Academic freedom” is a concept better used for a college professor. Mr. Franklin could have accuaretly said the counter-reaction was due to those who did not want to allow parental or tax-payer input into the selection of textbooks. Or, to be consistent Franklin could have written, “This possibility has aroused counter-statements and a few counter-demonstrations by teacher and pupil forces supposedily in defense of academic freedom and integrity.”

“Dr. Underwood narrowly persuaded teachers yesterday to defer a proposed one-day ‘sick-out’ protest on the censorship issue.” Teachers were beginning to push for bargaining rights (Kanawha County Teacher, Nov. 1974: 1) and a sick-out would have been a display of their power (which was ultimately used in the 1980s). As a teacher union member (at the time) I doubt if they would have mustered enough support for a walk-out in 1974.

“Their wariness of what one educator called ‘our friends, the anti-book burners’…” Mr. Franklin could have omitted the slur or clarified that no books were ever burned by protesters.

“In a sermon this morning in St. John’s Church, Charleston’s largest Episcopal church, the Rev. James Lewis accused the Fundamentalists of blaming permissiveness for ‘every ill from flat feet to student rioting.’” While attempting to poke scurrilous mockery Franklin unintentionally did the protesters a favor. Liberal Lewis deceitfully has always claimed to be a peace-maker. That sermon, and other comments of his that have leaked out, prove otherwise.

More of Frankin's slurs and slant:

“Another mystery has been the fact that few, if any, of the textbook protesters have read any of the books that their leaders tell them are offensive.” (New York Times, 9-18-1974, pg. 26) That is absurd! See the details on the “Not Narrow-Minded” page.

“Three self-ordained ministers, leading a protest over the use of some public school textbooks, were arrested here today for defying a court order to end mass demonstrations at school headquarters.” (New York Times, 9-19-1974, pg. 14) The “self-ordained” slur is discussed on the “Not Religious Fanatics” page. One of the preachers was Charles Quigley who describes how he was set up on pages 284-285 of Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party.

Probably the ultimate of Franklin’s frass is the following.

After opening with a three a paragraph joke that slurred “mountain man” of Appalachia Franklin was on a roll. "It is almost certainty the threat of another world, one peopled by blacks, hipsters, war resisters and J. D. Salinger, that has moved those who lived (sic) in the coal camps to their stubborn protest...There are strung-out settlements of trailers and substandard homes on the narrow valley bottoms, without water and sewer service, sidewalks or shops...Television, tinkering with cars, squirrel and deer hunting and cruising on Saturday night shooting up roadside signs are the public recreations."

Then he quoted a critic of the protesters. “Miners go into the ground and listen to God every day they work. The one man in a section of four or five who lives through a mine disaster when the others die comes out of there a fully recognized preacher, called by Jesus’ holy name. And if he says the books are against the Lord’s teachings—well that’s where we’re at.”

Franklin concluded this piece of pure propaganda with mocking the local selling of “ginseng” which is “a healing root used in frontier medicine.” He was too stupid and biased to realize that the left-wing tree huggers purchase the product. The lady he quoted (former chair of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission is the personification of a hypocritical liberal.

Franklin, Ben A. “The Appalachia Creekers: Literally, a World Apart.” The New York Times October 27, 1974: 10)

A chief protest critic stated in her book that “Ben A. Franklin also portrayed the ‘Appalachian creekers’ as ‘literally, a world apart’ in his regular updates for the New York times.” (Mason, Carol. “An American Conflict: Representing the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy.” Appalachian Journal. Spring 2005: 363)

Alice Moore won re-election in 1976 by an overwhelming majority. She beat her closest rival by 7,000 votes. She received 25,400 votes; probably the largest vote ever cast for a school board member in Kanawha County! Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party, pg. 189.

Paul Cowan (author of The Tribes Of America) was a self-described “political radical” and part of the “New York left” (13) wrote for the ultra-liberal Village Voice when he came to Kanawha County in 1974. His experience resulted in a chapter he titled “A Fight Over America’s Future.” Cowan realized something that most liberals miss. Any “progressive movement in America must…(have) a genuine respect for ideas about family and personal discipline that sometimes seem old fashioned from the vantage point of Greenwich Village or Berkeley or Georgetown or Harvard Square.” (94)

The battle “was a cultural revolution, an effort by the rural working class to wrest the schools—the means of production of their children—away from the permissive technocrats who controlled them” (77). The protesters saw the books as part of a culture that “is an infection that incubated on liberal college campuses in the 1960s, spread to the wealthier areas of Charleston—and now threatened to defile their children’s classrooms…The fundamentalists want to cleanse America of its filth…” (78)

Cowan asked, “But why didn’t they just introduce the textbooks into the public schools their (pro-bookers*) own kids attend?” The answer was found in a “funding proposal for the training of teachers dated 1970, signed by the West Virginia superintendent of schools. According to the document, teachers are supposed to ‘induce changes…in the behavior of the culturally lost’ of Appalachia…The setting of the public school should be the testing ground, the diagnostic basis, the experimental center, the core of the design…The most important ingredient of social change is the change agent—the teacher. You had only to look at the controversial textbooks to see how they fit in with that theory.” (79) Cowan, goes on to use (in his words) some of the same arguments used by the protesters to demonstrate why the books were bad.

Cowan, Paul. The Tribes of America. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977

At least 10,000 students were kept home at one point. Page, Ann L. & Clelland, Donald A. “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of the Politics of Life Style Concern.” Social Forces Sept. 1978: 269, Charleston Gazette 10-22-74

Cultural fundamentalism was once the dominant life style in the United States…The control of the schools is now primarily in the hands of these other status groups and that is what the fight in Kanawha County is all about. Page, Ann L. & Clelland, Donald A. “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of the Politics of Life Style Concern.” Social Forces Sept. 1978: 276.

The fact (school board elections are usually political nonissues)that this is so is a measure of the cultural hegemony of the educational strata and the economic elites which largely have set public school policy…This political structure has allowed a ‘cultural minority’ of ‘cosmopolitans’ to exert disproportionate influence in setting school policy. Such cultural modernists can be elected in issueless school board contests on the basis of their skilled use of such resources as time, community prestige, and verbal and organizational abilities. They can then, without conflict and even without self-consciousness, 'subvert' or change educational policy (expropriate the means of symbolic production) in order to socialize youth to their own construction of social reality, that is, to their own life style. Page, Ann L. & Clelland, Donald A. “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of the Politics of Life Style Concern.” Social Forces Sept. 1978: 276.

We believe that the protesters are adherents of a life style and world view which are under attack from a variety of sources—the educational system, the mass media, the churches…We believe the Kanawha County dispute is the excrescence of a larger revitalization movement which elsewhere centers on sex education, pornography, evolution, busing and ‘decency’…they are attempts to build and sustain moral orders which provided basic meaning for human lives…Our prognosis for this apparently dying subculture is a long life of continual ill health. Page, Ann L. & Clelland, Donald A. “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of the Politics of Life Style Concern.” Social Forces Sept. 1978: 279.

W. Chilton III, publisher of the Charleston Gazette told about a protest leader who came into his office to show him a book found in a school library. The question presented to him was why his paper would not publish in the Gazette excerpts using sexual terms from the book. He said, “They had a pretty good argument.” R upp, Carla Marie. “Charleston Editors Wrestle with Antitextbook Crusade.” Editor and Publsher Nov. 2, 1974: 10.

When the board voted to return the books to school buildings (after a 30-day review period) some of the board members admitted there were textbooks which were controversial. Harry Stansbury said, “I feel they should be put in libraries and used only by students with parental permission.” Matthew Kinsolving said that the two series should either be rejected or kept out of the classrooms for more review. Doug Stump said, “Obviously Interaction is where most of the controversy is…Level four may be rejected in my opinion.” Charleston Daily Mail 11-8-74

The Kanawha County textbook controversy set the stage for some profound changes in the political landscape and in American education…Before the 1974 protests, conservative and fundamentalist parents sensed they were powerless…The success of the anti-textbook forces in Kanawha County gave conservatives around the country a new sense of confidence…In just a few short years the movement had gained so much momentum and influence that presidential candidate Ronald Reagan was pledging to support many of the goals of the protesting parents. Kincheloe, Joe L. Understanding the New Right and Its Impact on Education. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1983: 7-8.

Armed with this new confidence, fundamentalist parents challenged boards in all sections of the county…These challenges, with few exceptions, were not led by irrational extremists but by conservative, reasonable people operating from a philosophically consistent position. A dominant theme in the battles was the right of parents in a democratic society to control was is taught in their schools. In most cases the issues surrounding the controversies were quite similar to those in Kanawha County… Kincheloe, Joe L. Understanding the New Right and Its Impact on Education. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 19837-8.

Most protesters with few exceptions were inner-directed individuals with deep roots in the Christian tradition, whose lives centered on the home and family. One factor that contributed to the intensity of emotion involved in the Kanawha County protests and to the New Right issues in general was the perception that the home was under siege. Kincheloe, Joe L. Understanding the New Right and Its Impact on Education. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1983: 29.

If the success of the Kanawha County protesters did nothing else, it alerted Americans to the basic philosophical differences in our society. The protesters and their New Right brethren believe that our nation is in crisis and close to cultural breakdown. Kincheloe, Joe L. Understanding the New Right and Its Impact on Education. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1983:36.

The following are more lies, distortions, and mistakes that I have found that do not neatly fit on subpages such as Not RACISTS, etc.
(Italics and quotation marks are exact quotes. )

A wing of a school board building was demolished. Homes were bombed. Loaded school buses shot at. (Perlstein , Rick. “Tribal Warfare in America.” Review of: The Tribes of America. by Paul Cowan, 1979. Columbia Journalism Review November 16, 2004.) Some dynamite was exploded outsid the school board office. There is reason to believe it was not done by protesters. No one was ever charged. The damage was mostly to windows. (Charleston Gazette 10-31-72) No homes were bombed. Some school buses occupied only by drivers were shot. No one was ever charged.

Alice Moore…had moved this same year to Charleston, WV from Florida where she had previously been involved in anti-sex education campaigns. (6) The protested books were implemented) in 54 other county districts in West Virginia that same year. (9) (Ensign, Todd. "The Kanawha County Textbook War of 1974--The Economic, Social, and Political Forces behind the Controversy." SCFD 640: WV Historical Project. ca 2010) With respect to Mr. Ensign, his paper (presented in a graduate class at West Virginia University) is not a published article in a peer-reviewed journal or a doctoral thesis by someone in the field. Nevertheless, the paper contains items that provide a perfect example of how researchers can be misguided by the abundance of errors and propaganda that has been propagated since 1974. I deal with that in detail in Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. Alice never lived in Florida and she was not involved in a sex-education fight prior to coming to West Virginia. Some of the D. C. Heath (elementary level) books were being used in two other counties according to Superintendent Kenneth Underwood (Charleston Gazette 9-27-1974).

Screaming crowds were on both sides of the street in front of the Board's office. (Source: Caldwell, Margaret. Speak to the Past—A Memoir Fat with Words. Parsons, WV, 2000.) Karl’s comment: There likely were some voices raised at times, but the video of some textbook protester activity shows how it was 99.99 percent of the time.

A book protester was shot through the heart but survived. Schools around the county were dynamited or firebombed. (Kay, Trey. “Great Kanawha County Textbook War.” Goldenseal Fall 2011) The man who was shot was not part of the protest. (Charleston Gazette 1-25-75) For the record: He was shot by a leader of the pro-bookers*. Mr. Kay also perpetuated the myth about the signs referring to “nigger Books.” No such sign has been proven No picture of any such sign was ever published by the news media, and if it existed, there is no evidence it was placed there by a book protester. Could it have been placed there by a pro-booker to inflame anger against book protesters? (FYI: I use the term “pro-booker” in Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party to refer to the left-wing liberals that opposed the protesters.

I had a position and no one wanted to hear it—they didn’t want me to say it”  (The Great Textbook War radio documentary by Trey Kay.) That statement was made by the chair of the committee of five teachers that selected the objectionable books. There were three paragraphs of a May 23, 1974 Charleston Daily Mail front page article were devoted to her defense of the textbooks. On September 27, 1974 Gazette, there was a substantial report of Wood’s, address to a Business and Professional Men’s Club. The October 1, 1974 Gazette ran an article devoted entirely the selection process. An October 2 Gazette “Text Panel Head” article featured Wood. There was an October 3, 1974 Daily Mail article with a large photo of Mrs. Wood as she spoke to a group of 400 pro-bookers*. A long column containing her photo ( Gazette , Oct. 5, 1974, pg. 16B) was a mini-biography of her. A December 10, 1974 Charleston Gazette article had a large photo of Mrs. Wood seated at a table in the center of four other textbook selection committee members speaking to the NEA. Wood was the only teacher quoted. In 1977 Mrs. Wood was a featured speaker at an Ohio school system’s teacher training session.

Shots were fired at loaded school buses. (Welch, Edwin H. “Textbook Crisis in West Virginia.” The Educational Forum Nov. 1976.) Buses that were shot (and no one was ever arrested, so it could have been from either side) only had driver’s aboard.

Mothers stormed the board of education. (Source: A handwritten paper in the Shirley Smith folder in the West Virginia Archives Textbook War collection.) Mothers held two sit-ins in the board auditorium. Charleston Daily Mail 2-25-75, Charleston Gazette 8-29-75

Alice More was the wife of a Church of God pastor. (Jones, Philip G. “A Clash over ‘Dirty Books’ is diving a School Board, Threatening a Superintendent, and Shattering a Community.” American School Board Journal Nov. 1974.) This is a minor mistake—Alice was married to a Church of Christ pastor. However, as the headline demonstrates, the article is full of anti-protester propaganda and hyperbole. One example: Jones claimed that the board of education office “had several of its windows blown out by shotgun blasts.” One shot (no one was ever arrested) went through two small side-by-side panes over the entrance door of an empty building late at night.

Cross Lanes is referred to as “rural” and in the context of a holler like Cabin Creek. (Cowan, Paul. The Tribes of America. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977.) Cross Lanes is a suburban community far removed from the holler hotbeds of the protest.

Some dynamite was tossed into Wet Branch Elementary. (Cowan, Paul. The Tribes of America. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977) The 10-9-74 Charleston Daily Mail reported that “two doors were blown off and dozens of windows shattered at 1:20 a.m. when one or two dynamite sticks placed against the building exploded.”

The hotbed of opposition was the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek sections of the county. (Billings, Dwight and Goldman, Robert. “Comment on ‘The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy” Social Forces June 1979) Paint Creek is beyond Cabin Creek and runs through two other counties. The main “hotbed” was Campbells Creek. These authors were too eager to tie the protest to the mine wars of the early 1900s.

Alice Moore was nicknamed "Sweet Alice" by the pro-text faction. (WVU professor Stack, Sam F. "The Kanawha County Textbook War Revisited." Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Southern History of Education Society, March 12, 2011)  According to the Charleston Gazette (11-11-74) the nickname came from a Gazette reporter (Mike Snyder) who left the profession and became a blacksmith that same year.

At the April 1974 board meeting Alice Moore was apparently embarrassed by her lack of diligence in having not reviewed the books. (WVU professor Stack, Sam F. "The Kanawha County Textbook War Revisited." Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Southern History of Education Society, March 12, 2011) In a 2011 email to me Alice said, “ Why would I be embarrassed? If the tape of the broad meeting has not been destroyed, you will clearly hear one of the selection committee members saying, "It has always been our policy not to allow board member to know what books are going to be adopted in order to protect them from being pressured by book sellers.”

Alice Moore took her concerns to pastors most likely to be sympathetic to her cause and asked to display the books in their churches. In rural Appalachia churches often serve as the center of community so Moore’s move proved politically savvy in building a coalition to oppose the texts. (WVU professor Stack, Sam F. "The Kanawha County Textbook War Revisited." Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Southern History of Education Society, March 12, 2011) In a 2011 email to me Alice said, “I went everywhere I was invited, to schools, clubs and churches - anywhere invited. I requested the use of the public library in St. Albans to display the books. I did not seek out churches or any other groups. They sought me out.”

On September 12, 1974 the school board sought a compromise including Mrs. Moore who wasbeginning to realize that events were getting out of hand. Taking the compromise to the crowd Mrs. Moore was booed by the crowd as they called for the burning of the books. (WVU professor Stack, Sam F. "The Kanawha County Textbook War Revisited." Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Southern History of Education Society, March 12, 2011) If he could prove there was a call to “burn the books” it would only show there was a hothead in the crowd. In a 2011 email to me Alice said, “ I never compromised on the use of the objectionable books. I agreed to a temporary removal of all the books from the classrooms. I did not vote to return them to the classroom as all the other board members did even though they had publicly stated they found the books so offensive they would not want them taught to their children.”

In an attempt to halt the growing divisiveness and violence the school board considered establishing alternative schools. This attempt did not sway Alice Moore who refused as a board member to allow the texts under question to be used in any school. (WVU professor Stack, Sam F. "The Kanawha County Textbook War Revisited." Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Southern History of Education Society, March 12, 2011) In a 2011 email to me Alice said, “ I proposed alternative schools and the board conceded, but the idea just did not work out. A better proposal would have been alternative schools for parents who wanted their children to read the controversial books since there were comparatively few of them.”

A West Virginia University professor said that Marvin Horan was a “plumber and “self-appointed fundamentalist minister.” (166) He referred to the Episcopal minister (James Lewis) as “moderate.” (171) (Parker, Franklin. "Textbook Censorship: Case Study of Kanawha County, W.Va., 1974-75," Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Annual Meeting, Southwestern Philosophy of Education Society, Volume XXVI, 1976: 162-176.) Marvin Horan was a truck driver. How does the professor know who appointed/ordained Pastor Horan? Jim Lewis is far-left and that is documented in Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party and in the Charleston Gazette forMay 9, 2010 ( ). PLEASE see more about Professor Parker at “A Tale of Three Tiny Tomes”.

Referring to the long-range effects of the textbook protest a year 2000 teacher said, “Anybody our age who went through that, whether you know it consciously or not, whenever you look at your materials, or use supplemental materials, you [think about] the book burning era.” (30) Well, good! A teacher should consider the community and parents before using any material. For the record: NO BOOK WERE BURNED DURING THE PROTEST and the protesters (excluding a hot-head or joker that may have yelled such a thing) did not advocate the books be destroyed in any matter! Another teacher “remembers the derogatory signs that picketers waved at her as guards escorted her to school.” (30) Isn’t it odd that all photos of picketers should peaceful folks with signs like “All that is necessary for the success of evil is for good people to do nothing?” (Charleston Daily Mail 10-22-74, pg. 1B) Where are the news videos of such alleged behavior? Even, for the sake of argument, such an event occurred why would some printed words offend someone who says printed words should not bother the protesters? (Kennedy Manzo, Kathleen. “Book Binds.” Education Week, January 12, 2000)

Those rural residents came together to support Moore and wrest some political power from the wealthier and more sophisticated metropolitan area. (Kennedy Manzo, Kathleen. “Book Binds.” Education Week, January 12, 2000: 30.) Alice Moore’s support was county wide—rural, suburban, and urban. Alice Moore won re-election in 1976 by an overwhelming majority. She beat her closest rival by 7,000 votes. She received 25,400 votes; probably the largest vote ever cast for a school board member in Kanawha County! (Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party, pg. 189.)

More than 45,000, or three-fourths, of the district’s students at the time did not report to school because of their parents’ fury or fear over the matter. (Kennedy Manzo, Kathleen. “Book Binds.” Education Week, January 12, 2000:31.) There were about 45,000 students in the system. I am not sure if this is a typo or the writer is a victim of a public school education.

A frightened school bus employee shot at a group of picketers and then was severely beaten by the crowd.(Kennedy Manzo, Kathleen. “Book Binds.” Education Week, January 12, 2000: 31.) How anyone could be employed by a school bus is a mystery. Let’s chalk it to a typo and assume the reporter meant “board.” The fact is the shooter was a PRO-BOOKER* who worked for a trucking company. Charleston Gazette 9-25-74

By January 1975, half a dozen ministers and others had been indicted for the bombings. (Kennedy Manzo, Kathleen. “Book Binds.” Education Week, January 12, 2000: 31.) Only one minster was indicted.

Dozens of parents requested that their children be taught in separate classes and without the use of the targeted books, most of which had been returned to the schools. (Kennedy Manzo, Kathleen. “Book Binds.” Education Week, January 12, 2000: 31.) The reporter may have been referring to future years. I have no evidence one way or the other about that. The fact is that during the protest parents were allowed to use an opt-out form and at least 65.6% refused to allow their elementary children to use the objectionable books. Alice Moore provided documentation that the figure was at least 80% Charleston Daily Mail 3-25-75.

Anger reached the boiling point here after five months of agitations and organizing by school board member Alice Moore, an articulate, self-described ‘politician familiar with ultra-right-wing ideology and fundamentalist theology. (Seltzer, Curtis. “West Virginia Book War—A Confusion of Goals.” The Nation, Nov. 2, 1974: 430) In an email of 1-30-2012 Alice Moore responded: “That is funny. I am always flattered by how good an organizer somebody thinks I am. As for agitating, I'd like to hear of an example. I can't think of anything except publicly reading textbooks and showing them to parents. They did get agitated. As for being familiar with ultra-right-wing ideology, other than voting for the candidate of my choice, I had no political involvement before moving to West Virginia. As for fundamentalist theology, I don't think I had ever heard the term before moving to West Virginia. I just read the Bible and believed it.”

Mrs. Moore and her followers were not appeased by the deletions (of eight books). Focusing on specific passages found primarily in secondary-level supplementary paperbacks for advanced students, they argued that all $500,000 worth of books should be removed. (Seltzer, Curtis. “West Virginia Book War—A Confusion of Goals.” The Nation, Nov. 2, 1974: 430) In an email of 1-30-2012 Alice Moore responded: “ He made a giant leap from the time those 8 books were thrown out (whom nobody but I had read, unless the textbook selection committee had possibly read them and I doubt they had), to the point where some people were ready for all the books to go and just start over with a new selection. I never did insist all the books be thrown out. And the whole business about paperback books for advanced students was a story drummed up after the content was exposed.”

The miners were ‘picketed out’ by roving groups of angry mothers… (Seltzer, Curtis. “West Virginia Book War—A Confusion of Goals.” The Nation, Nov. 2, 1974: 430) According to eyewitness testimony of a coal-miner: “ One morning, as I left work, as I came to the end of the mine road I saw a few women with signs. They began to explain to the miners that were coming on evening shift and those that were leaving from day shift what they were there for. They begin to explain about the books to the miners that were standing around.” (Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party, pg. 242)

In an apparent response to the arrests and heavy penalties, unknown parties dynamited the Wet Branch grade school on Campbell’s Creek… (Seltzer, Curtis. “West Virginia Book War—A Confusion of Goals.” The Nation, Nov. 2, 1974: 432) The Wet Branch school was on Cabin Creek.

Not to be denied, Mrs. Moore carried her fight to the county’s numerous fundamental churches which had helped elect her to the school board four years before. (Kaufman, Paul J. “Alice’s Wonderland; Or, School books are for Banning.” Appalachian Journal Spring 1975:164.) Actually, Mrs. Moore went wherever she was invited.

For perhaps the first time, Kanawha County students were given a realistic look at the works of black authors who describe, from their perspective, the manifold deprivations and despair suffered by a large percentage of Americans. The textbook protesters deny that racial prejudice had anything to do with the protest. Nevertheless, it was these books which gave Alice Moore the opportunity to make her move to eradicate humanism from the schools. (Kaufman, Paul J. “Alice’s Wonderland; Or, School books are for Banning.” Appalachian Journal Spring 1975:165.) Only a left-wing liberal could make such an inaccurate accusation. Mrs. Moore objected to a black criminal (Elridge Cleaver0 and claimed that he was not typical of black folks. Had the first book she saw been by Charles Manson, she would have made the same observation. Mr. Kaufman, to my knowledge, never tried to get Cleaver’s later book in—the one where he talked about becoming a born-again Christian.

For the most part, the affected school children objected to the removal of the books and supported their teachers. (Kaufman, Paul J. “Alice’s Wonderland; Or, School books are for Banning.” Appalachian Journal Spring 1975:167.) Yeh, sure! This attorney/politician must have been in fantasy land. There was no way to know how the kids felt. I would hope that most would have trusted their parents for guidance and a high percentage of parents chose to use the County provided form to opt-out of allowing their kids to use the books. At least 65.6% refused to allow their elementary children to use the objectionable books. Alice Moore provided documentation that the figure was at least 80% Charleston Daily Mail 3-25-75.

Alice Moore was so offended by this quote (by Malcolm X) that she asked the superintendent to deliver every book to her house—all 300 of them. She planned to read them all personally. These were mostly high school supplemental books, available as additional reading at the teachers’ discretion. (Kay, Trey. Great Kanawha County Textbook War.” Goldenseal, Fall 2011. How did he determine that amount (“mostly”)? I was a sixth grade teacher during the protest and know for a fact that the entire K-6 adoption consisted of textbooks.

The National Education Society (NEA) let its philosophy leak out. “…it becomes clear that universe is trying to make humanity successful despite itself. Integration of all humanity’s vital interests around planet Earth involves doing away with all of the 150 sovereign states, wherefore world revolution is at hand. If it is bloody, all lose. If it is mind-conducted as a design science revolution, all humanity will win.” Fuller, R. Buckminster. (“Remapping Our World.” Today’s Education Nov.-Dec. 1974: 110) The article was five full pages and three pages of full length single columns. On page 107 the author refers to the potential for humanity to “cross a cosmic threshold to a new era.” He suggests the cause for human advancement is “purposeful overall evolution.” (pg. 109) Buckminster was a Unitarian and in 1927 he "resolved to think independently which included a commitment to ‘the search for the principles governing the universe and help advance the evolution of humanity in accordance with them... finding ways of doing more with less to the end that all people everywhere can have more and more.’" In his 1970 book I Seem To Be a Verb, he wrote: ‘I live on Earth at present, and I don't know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process—an integral function of the universe.’" ( The Institute that bears his name wants to design “an abundant and restorative world economy that benefits all humanity.” ( For more about this “plan” see “The Common Thread.”

The lack of parental involvement in the educational system led to a situation of growing alienation from the schools for a sizable segment of the community. The textbook controversy clearly pointed out that school systems must seek new avenues by which to increase parental involvement. (215) With compulsory attendance laws, children have become the captive audience of schools and professional educators. (216) Despite the efforts of educators at all levels, controversy in the educational arena may be inevitable. (218) ( Candor, Catherine. “A History of the Kanawha County Textbook Controversy, April 1974-April 1975.” Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1976) That is one of the many reasons why we must rescue our children.

Trillin made a lot of false assumptions in order to portray the textbook controversy as class warfare…Clearly, journalists used the phrase ‘class warfare’ because it added an air of sensationalism that sells newspapers and magazines. [Mason, Carol. “An American Conflict: Representing the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy.” Appalachian Journal. Spring 2005: 359. (Referenced: Trillin, Calvin. “U.S. Journal: Kanawha County, West Virginia.” New Yorker. September 30, 1974: 119-27.)] This is a typical example of scholars who futilely try to explain what motivated the protesters.

(Referring to the conclusion of the NEA panel over the conflict being between “rurals” “urbans”—those “acclimated to modern ideas”) Simple arithmetic, however, indicates the fallacy of that analysis. Clearly the urban parents represent well over half the opposition to the books. Hillocks, George, Jr. “Books and Bombs: Ideological Conflict and the Schools—A case Study of the Kanawha County Book Protest.” School Review Vol. 86, No. 4 (Aug., 1978): 637-638

(Referring to the NEA panel’s claim the “extreme right-wing organizations” had been present from the beginning of the protest) But the first representative of an outside group did not appear on the scene until September 26, four and one-half months after the protest began and after the school boycott and the miners’ strike were well under way. Hillocks, George, Jr. “Books and Bombs: Ideological Conflict and the Schools—A case Study of the Kanawha County Book Protest.” School Review Vol. 86, No. 4 (Aug., 1978): 638-639

…the dispute began when Alice Moore, the wife of a Fundamentalist minister, raised objections to the textbooks adopted by the school board for what she termed “obscene, un-American, anti-Christian” contents. ("Kanawha School Board Restores Disputed Textbooks.” School Library Journal December 1974: 6.) To be precise, it began when Mrs. Moore raised the issue of non-standard English and then it escalated when the other issues were discovered. However, the main point of this excerpt is (and it occurs often) the insertion of “wife of a fundamentalist minster.” That is irrelevant to an objective report. It is like saying (for example), “Mr. Doe, married to a Sunday school teacher, expressed concern over the issue of student drug abuse.”

School officials so far have resisted (banning books), although they did agree to a shaky truce that called for certain books to be removed for a month, so they could be reviewed by a newly formed citizens’ committee… (Benzin, Philip. “War over Words—Latest Moves to Ban Certain School Books Worry U.S. Educators.” The Wall Street Journal September 20, 1974: 1.) Actually ALL of the protested books were removed.

The community’s elected representatives had little voice in the selection of textbooks. (148) According to the board of education ‘Policy Manual,’ the board of education itself was not supposed to see the books recommended for adoption by the TSC (Textbook Selection Committee) until at the meeting at which they were to vote for their adoption. (149 Note 6) As a matter of fact, those books which were displayed at the public library were not the recommended titles, but all titles from which the recommendation would be made. (150 continuation of Note 6) …the actual effect of the display seemed to be little more than compliance with the regulation. (150) Burger, Robert H. “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of Communications and Power.” Library Quarterly 48.2 (1978)

Both sides deliberately enlisted support from outside organizations, and other groups, uninvited, involved themselves in the controversy. [Burger, Robert H. “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of Communications and Power.” Library Quarterly 48.2 (1978): 144] Critics of the protesters only want to cry about the outside groups, such as the Heritage Foundation, which helped the protesters.

…12,000 signatures on a protest petition which was presented to the June meeting of the board, at which an unusually large number of citizens turned out to observe the board’s process of decision. Despite this demonstration of public disapproval, the board voted three to two to accept the books… (Burger, Robert H. “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of Communications and Power.” Library Quarterly 48.2 (1978): 144) “Unusually large number of citizens”! Try about 2000 and most were forced to stand outside in a drenching rain because the room could not hold them all.

United States Commissioner of Education, Terrell Bell, said some juvenile literature “appears to emphasize violence and obscenity and moral judgments that run counter to tradition” and “I feel strongly that the scholar’s freedom of choice must have the approval and support of most parents.” (“Interpretations Differ on Bell Textbook View.” Charleston Daily Mail. December 2, 1974) The American Association of Publishers took that as “an apparent attack on textbook publishing.” Bell’s remarks also “drew critical reactions from librarians” and his remarks “Were interpreted by some as a suggestion that the government may become involved in school selection practices and policies.” (Anonymous. “Bell Discusses Speech: Reiterates Main Points.” School Library Journal. March 1975: 60.) Alice Moore pointed out (in the Daily Mail article) that the Office of Health, Education and Welfare was highly involved in school curriculum already.

The heart of the textbook controversy in Kanawha County, West Virginia was a clash of values. (Denman, William N. “Them Dirty, Filthy Books”: The Textbook War in West Virginia.” Free Speech Yearbook 1976.) Ed. Gregg Phifer. Falls Church, VA: Speech Communications Association, 1977. 39. That is exactly right, but the author went on to say, “Following state mandate the textbooks were specifically chosen to ‘...accurately portray minority and ethnic group contributions to American growth and culture and (to) depict and illustrate the inter-cultural character of our political society.’ It was precisely this fact that so enraged the protesters.” The latter part of that statement is a display of blatant ignorance or a bald-faced lie. But, he gets it right shortly thereafter by saying, “For these protesting parents the newly chosen textbooks took on an awesome power to destroy that (value system) they had fought so long to build and maintain and protest...the thought of losing (their children) to the sick, degenerate morality of an immoral world struck fear and outrage into the hearts of these parents.” (40)

On 18 April 1975 the self-proclaimed Rev. Marvin Horan and an associate were convicted for a school-bus bombing that climaxed a series of protests over "un-Christian" textbooks in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Source: “The 1970s: Religion: People in the News” ( There were not any school buses bombed.For information about Horan’s conviction see “Marvin Horan’s Trial”.

The protest began when a few dozen of the hundreds of new textbooks for the county were approved by the school board... (Byers, Robert J. “Documentary to Feature Textbook Battle.” Charleston Gazette Sept. 23, 1996) The fact is that around 325 books were chosen.

One of the most condescending articles I have found was published in Dissent magazine which proudly proclaims to be a “magazine of the left” founded by “radicals” in the “tradition of democratic socialism" and that the “most glorious vision of the intellectual life is still that which is loosely called humanist...” ( This section is taken from that article.

She (Alice Moore) never completed high school... [Humphreys, James. “Textbook War in West Virginia.” Dissent 23.2 (April 1976): pg. 167. ] WRONG! Mrs. More DID graduate from high school.

There is another very real difference between this private fundamentalist school (Charles Quigley’s Cathedral of Prayer) and the more elaborately endowed public schools: the children seem happier. They seem pleased to be here...The children are expected to work hard, complete their daily assignments, and make good grades. [Humphreys, James. “Textbook War in West Virginia.” Dissent 23.2 (April 1976): pg. 169.] Even a blind hog finds an occasional acorn and Humphreys got something exactly right when he made that observation. See point 1:27 at Textbook War Video I.

The Reverend (Charles Quigley) has just administered a dozen solid whacks to a heavy, strapping youth nearly as large as Quigley himself, as punishment for failing to bring his books to school. Humphreys, James. “Textbook War in West Virginia.” Dissent 23.2 (April 1976): pg. 169 Charles Quigley told me that he never administered more than a couple of “licks” in the rare instance that he used a paddle. At that time, corporal punishment was common in public schools. I was paddled by a female teacher who hit me so many times that the witness (a male teacher) stopped her from continuing. My crime (which was done by a friend) was leaving trash under my desk!

Some protesters took their case to Washington, D.C. In mid-September, twelve protesters used donated money and flew to the nation’s capital. Their humor and congeniality won over those they encountered including several members of the national press. An ABC television newsman said, “These people are for real. I can’t help but sympathize.” Priest, Karl. Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. Poca, WV: Praying Mantis Publishing, 2010. 71

Some scholars not aligned with the protesters realize that there is a divide between the two sides that cannot be crossed. A Kanawha Countian. Catherine Candor-Chandler, came to the same conclusion. “With compulsory attendance laws, children have become the captive audience of schools and professional educators.” (216) That is the premise of the protest and the theme of Exodus Mandate. In her next to last sentence (218) Candor-Chandler stated, “Despite the efforts of educators at all levels, controversy in the educational arena may be inevitable.” The only change I would make to that conclusion is to replace “may be” with “is.” Candor, Catherine A. “A History of the Kanawha County Textbook Controversy--April 1974-April 1975”. Doctoral Dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1976. University Microfilms International. A secular Jew, Paul Cowan, made an amazing statement when he wrote, “You cannot outlaw school prayer and still pretend that secular humanism—momentarily our national creed—does not carry its own deep assumptions about religion. Why not recognize that both attitudes are dogmas and try to develop an educational system that’s flexible enough to furnish federal funds to schools that base their curricula on the theism as well as those that base their curricula on relativism?” Cowan, Paul. The Tribes of America. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977: 90. A reviewer of Cowan’s book also noticed that there is really no way to compromise. (I)n his conclusion to the West Virginia chapter, in which he faces a moment of truth with the Creekers' charismatic leader: he has to grant her point that "maybe there is no school system that can provide for your kids and mine"... Perlstein, Rick. “Tribal Warfare in America.” Review of: The Tribes of Americaby Paul Cowan, 1979. Columbia Journalism Review November 16, 2004.

Widely ignored and censored is the protester group “Business and Professional People’s Alliance for Better Textbooks” which had business people as well as several teachers as members. Elmer Fike, the owner of a local chemical plant, was the president. He wrote a series of articles which were compiled into “Textbook Controversy in Perspective and other Related Essays” (1974-1975). Following are some excerpts.

Naturally, liberals try, as they always do, to cloak themselves with intellectualism and paint their opponents as ignorant... (pg. 2 undated)

So much emphasis has been placed on the pornography and antireligious bias in the books that it is possible that what I consider the most subversive part of the books will be overlooked. This is the subtle attack on the American way of life. It has become chic to belittle the American way… (pg. 5 September 19, 1975)

Mr. Fike referred more than once to the 1972 book Trousered Apes: Sick Literature in a Sick Society by Marshall University professor Duncan Williams. Dr. Williams wrote, “We are teaching savagery and are naively appalled at the success of our instruction." West Virginia news headlines after 1975 provide plenty of proof of what happened to “public” schools when the side opposed to the protesters prevailed.

An example of the venom spewed by pro-bookers is how they still felt in 2009. A fair-minded liberal attempted to portray the protest in an objective manner. "I received heat from some people from the pro-book camp because they felt that my report gave too much attention to and was perhaps too sympathetic to the protester perspective. They complained that I didn't tell the story of the people, who supported the textbooks.” (Kay, Trey. Email of December 5, 2011 to Karl Priest) A vitriolic quote (calling the protesters “stupid”) is in Kay’s radio documentary and can be heard (47:00) at That attitude is sadly prevalent with many of those who oppose the protesters.

A graduate student researcher repeated a lot of the Charleston Gazette propaganda in her paper, but referring to a 13 September 1974 Gazette editorial commenting on supposed motivations (a quest for acclaim by "fundamentalist clergy" and/or "effort to reduce coal stockpiles" and/or "and the exhibitionism of the plainly crazed") she stated, "The Gazette's salutation is a rather harsh, one-sided judgment." Allison, Penny (1976). Public School Textbooks as the Subject of Church-State Controversy, with a Case Study of Kanawha County West Virginia (Masters Thesis). Baylor University, Waco, TX (p. 55) She got that right!

Charleston Gazette editor Harry G. Hoffmann told a researcher that “There are a whole bunch of things mixed up in it (the Textbook Controversy): church-state, race, rich-poor, class differences, the Birch Society, the Ku Klux Klan, George Wallace’s American Party, and what some of us prefer to call the ‘plainly crazed.” Allison, Penny (1976). Public School Textbooks as the Subject of Church-State Controversy, with a Case Study of Kanawha County West Virginia (Masters Thesis). Baylor University, Waco, TX (p. 29) That is the only time I heard of George Wallace being used to slur the protesters but what Hoffmann neglected to mention were the NEA, West Virginia Council of Churches, ACLU, and the plainly devious on the other side.

“Nothing has made me angrier than to see a group intimidate students to the point that they won’t go to school,” sighs (Superintendent) Underwood. “If this is American, I guess I am anti-American.” (“The Book Banners.” Newsweek 30 September 1974: 95.) Dr. Underwood said it himself about himself. Actually, the HUGE majority of parents who participated in the boycott because they wanted to—as a result of serious concern that their values were under attack and their children were at ground zero. Some of the most outrageous items I found in researching the literature about the Textbook War were found in this “news” article and another one of the same title dated 9 June 1975.

After intensive study of the Kanawha County ruckus, the National Education Association has identified six right-wing groups—including the Ku Klux Klan—that have been organizing the protests there and in other districts across the nation. (Sheils, Merrill. “The Book Banners.” Newsweek 9 June 1975: 57.) First, as thoroughly documented in Chapter 7 of Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party, the LEFT-WING NEA did NOT do a thorough investigation. Second, the NEA representative had already appeared in Kanawha County trying to influence the pro-bookers*. Third, in Kanawha County the Klan was irrelevant to the protest as documented in Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party, on the webpage The Courageous Corps of ’74 were NOT RACIST, and in the article “Marvin Horan is not a Racist!”. Some of the most outrageous items I found in researching the literature about the Textbook War were found in this “news” article and another one of the same title dated 30 September 1974.

"People feel helpless, and they find it’s easier to censor school material than it is to express what’s really bothering them,” she (Judith Krug, head of the Library Associations’ Office of Intellectual Freedom) says. “They say, ‘If my kid didn’t read “Go Ask Alice,” then the drug problem would go away’.” The danger, Krug warns, is that right-wing political groups are ever ready to manipulate the fears and frustrations caused by temporary difficulties to effect more permanent political ends. (Sheils, Merrill. “The Book Banners.” Newsweek 9 June 1975: 57.) What CROCK! First of all, Ms. Krug should stick to stocking books and not practicing psychiatry. Secondly, one could substitute the word “left” where she uses “right” and be just as (if not more so) accurate. Go ask Alice is a book about a drug addicted teen who loses her virginity while high on acid, becomes a prostitute, and dies a miserable death. An edited version of the book was in some junior high libraries. It was not one of the selected books, but who wants kids exposed to that kind of depressing material? School drug problems rapidly grew worse after 1974as documented throughout West Virginia News headlines. If a book about a girl who was tempted like Alice, yet resisted due to her strong Christian convictions, was recommended for government school students left-wing radicals would have resisted it with passion.

Most of these controversial books are not required reading and are available only in libraries at the high-school level. (“The Book Banners.” Newsweek 9 June 1975: 57.) That is ABSOLUTELY false! Some of the most outrageous items I found in researching the literature were found in this “news” article and another one of the same title dated 30 September 1974.

The women in their hair curlers and kerchiefs from the coal mining towns and creek hollows of the Kanawha River valley south of the city wait for the Rev. James Lewis to come out of the meeting hall. As this city minister, an Episcopalian, works his way through the crowd of “creeker” women who have raged for months against the “filthy” textbooks, one woman shouts at him: “Hi, son-of-a-bitch. How are you? You approve of that don’t you? Those words are in the books.” (Matthews, John. “Texts for Our Times.” New Republic January 4, 1975: 19) That is the lead paragraph of the article in a liberal publication. Let’s look at it closely.

1. Did all of the women appear that way? A few women wore curlers and more wore kerchiefs on cool days while protesting. So what? Is that a slur against poor women, rural women, or women in general?
2. How did Mr. Matthews know where they lived? Many female protesters were from all areas of the large county.
3. Is “creeker” (see point 2) meant to be a compliment or even objective? Of course not!
4. If this incident happened it is probably why Jim Lewis claims that protesters cursed him. Also, it is a good example of sarcasm from those “creekers.”
--------------------------------- the height of the furor a quarter of Kanawha County school children stayed out of the classrooms...Officials calculated that each day the strike continues, the state loses 60,000 tons of coal production, $220,000 in miners’ wages, and $60,000 in taxes. But the children, their education disrupted, may be losing even more. (“Battle of the Books.” TIME September 30, 1974: 81) A Charleston Daily Mail headline for October 10, 1974 read “School Attendance Hits Low Point in Protesting.” The first paragraph opened with “Less than 75 per cent of Kanawha County schoolchildren attended classes Monday...” “Less than” 75% means “more than” a quarter (25%) of the students were out. On Sunday, October 28 the Daily Mail reported that protest leaders doubted the board’s figures. The county denied falsifying attendance figures, but did admit that on the previous Friday only 64.7% were in school. That means 35.3% were absent. An honest headline (assuming the figure is accurate) would have read “Over One Third of Students are Absent.” The so-called news article reported that “beatings and shootings broke out on picket lines” without mentioning the serious such incidents were done by pro-bookers*. Last, the “news” report stated, “But when violence flared during the second week of the protest, County School Superintendent Dr. K. E. Underwood closed the schools while he negotiated a truce with the protest leaders.” Not known when this article was written, but documented in Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party is that Underwood’s obstinate stance contributed to increased public frustration that led to the violence. Also, the truce proved to be a slick subterfuge as documented in Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. The concern over the absentees’ academic loss proved to be unfounded. I have found no reports claiming boycotting students were educationally deprived. Although there are variables, it would be interesting to see the standardized test scores for the Spring of 1974 and the Spring of 1975. Some of the boycotting students were homeschooled. Others attended Christian schools. The fortunate ones stayed out. See West Virginia School News headlines for proof of why they were better off not to be present in school.

Referring to the claim that coal miners walked off the job as a strategy to gain leverage for up-coming contract negotiations: There are many observers of the industry, though, who argue that the U.M.W. would be working against its own interests by secretly encouraging the strike—because the miners will lose wages that could theoretically provide some cushion if there is a strike in Novembers (the U.M.W. has no strike fund), because wildcat strikes support the contention that coal miners really cannot be controlled by their union, because going out over textbooks is an invitation for anyone with a cause to further it by keeping miners from work and wages. (Trillin, Calvin. “U.S. Journal: Kanawha County, West Virginia.” New Yorker Sept. 30, 1974: 122) To say the miners would walk out for union reasons is to demean their character and intelligence. Hear a miners own words in Textbook War Video VI.

Yet it is not a preacher ordained by the fires of a mine cave-in who has given direction to the anti-textbook drive, but an attractive articulate wife of a Baptist preacher who is a member of the county board of education. (Gibbons, Russell W. “Textbooks in the Hollows.” Commonweal December 6, 1974:232) Alice Moore was married to a Church of Christ preacher. Gibbons used the same tidbit as Ben Franklin (see above) about a mine disaster survivor being “called by Jesus’ holy name” to preach. He refers to “self-ordained fundamentalist preachers.” I discuss the “self-ordained” slur on the "Not Religious Fanatics” page. Gibbons also repeated the inflammatory “shots were fired, dynamite has been fused to schoolhouse doors, a school has been firebombed” mantra. On page 233 he claims that “half a dozen school buildings have been firebombed in addition to the board of education building.” Fact: I think two schools were fire bombed and one, mine, was likely just local vandals. There may have been 1-2 others. “Several men have been shot.” Fact: Two were shot and both by pro-bookers*. “Sheriff’s deputies in riot gear have been present when protest rallies and school meetings have been held.” Fact: Total lie.

A Charleston high school student, Jeff Butler, offered that “you hear and see worse things walking down the hallways”... (Gibbons, Russell W. “Textbooks in the Hollows.” Commonweal December 6, 1974:234) So, why should the mature adult educators stoop to that level? That statement is a great argument for Rescuing the Children.

Ezra Graley, a fundamentalist minister who has already spent eleven days in jail for his book-banning activities, promised more (demonstrations). (“Back to the Boycott.” TIME November 4, 1974: 88-90) TIME magazine could easily compete for the Most Biased Media prize of 1974-75. I have found no reference of TIME ever referring to “liberal” ministers. The reporter could have simply used the word “minister” without a descriptive adjective. Also, Pastor Graley was jailed for violating a court injunction limiting the number of protesters on school board property. Video of one of his arrests is in Textbook War Video VIII.

In a 10-23-12 email to me Alice Moore said, “The night (June 27, 1974 ) when the thousand or so people were standing outside the (school board) building, I was confronted by an angry black woman screaming at me and calling me a racist as I was trying to get through the crowd and into the building. She blocked my way and I momentary tried to reason with her which didn't help, then Darrell (her husband) began pushing me through the crowd, rushing me inside.”

In the same email Mrs. Moore disclosed some of the sneaky strategy used by the superintendent. Referring to the same board meeting that drew over a thousand people she related, “I remember the hall way being packed with people. Most everybody there, other than those employees of the system ordered to be there by Superintendent Underwood, were there in opposition to the books and in support of me. Those ordered by Dr. Underwood to attend, were there to fill the seats before parents could. They were already in the board room and seated before I came down stairs.”

Perhaps in sophisticated Eastern centers of “Liberalism” the teaching of disrespect for our country’s flag is a matter at which to twitter. But not in West Virginia; not in Hard Hat Country. We met many like miner Harry Whitington, “Our union isn’t involved,” he said, “We just want people to know that we believe in the flag. It isn’t just a rag.” Another miner, Billy Miller, declared: “In this case I am a parent first, a miner second.” (Hoar, William P. “Parents Revolt—When Textbooks are Propaganda.” American Opinion Nov. 1974: 2. Mr. Hoar is probably the only conservative writer quoted on these pages. His comments are insightful.)

A group of parents and one school board member in the Kanawha County School District convinced themselves that reputable English language arts textbooks threatened belief in God; impugned the sanctity of marriage; disparaged the United States; made patriotism appear foolish; portrayed ethical norms, such as respect for private property, as dependent on the situation; made deviations from correct grammar, even swearing, appear as legitimate as "Standard English"; and, through exercises in the teacher's manuals, encouraged students to openly discuss private family matters. Watras, Joseph. “The textbook Dispute in West Virginia, A New Form of Oppression.” Educational Leadership October 1975: 21. (The article had one half-page photo of a classroom damaged by a dynamite blast.) If the author had replaced the biased “convinced themselves” with the objective “found” he would have been more scholarly.

The classic 1970s textbook fight unfolded in Kanawha County, West Virginia, in 1974. It was long, intense, riveting, and violent...(the protested) curriculum included outrages like Eldridge Cleaver celebrating the rape of white women in Soul on Ice, and texts encouraging, nay demanding, that children question the revealed religion they learned at their parents knee...In Kanawha the fight was eventually pursued by fundamentalist preachers who dynamited the school board building. Perlstein, Rick. “Nothing New Under the Wingnut Sun: 'Textbook Wars'”.  The Nation 11 February 2013: n. page. Web 28 Feb. 2013. ( First of all “preachers” did NOT bomb the board of education building in Kanawha County. The perpetuators were never identified and it is quite possible it was done by enemies of the protesters. Secondly, why hasn’t Cleaver’s Soul on Fire made it to any of those reading lists? Third, it is despicable how Perlstein snidely refers to the questioning of the religious values of the protester’s children. I wonder if he would allow me to have a go at the values of his children or grandchildren. Finally, elsewhere in the article he mocks conservatives for saying that certain contents of a book (such as bestiality and gang rape) causes them to feel “uncomfortable.” Liberals constantly cry that something makes them uncomfortable such as a cross on a mountain. They are hypocrites. For more on Perlstein, see "Pure Propaganda & Trembling Truth".

…“Man, a Course of Study” that presented fifth-grade students with materials designed to have them explore what it means to be a human being, by combining biology, primatology, and some anthropology. (685) Representative Conlan (John Conlan R–AZ)) and those in agreement with him viewed education as the process by which you inculcate students with the traditional values of our society—God, Country, and so forth. There is assumed to be a Truth that the textbooks and teachers must teach about. Questioning these “truths” is regarded as dangerous, unpatriotic, and heretical. As the basic underlying ideology of anthropology, as I understand it, is to give students a sense that other peoples’ cultures are as valid as ours, the conflict is unavoidable. MACOS was designed to challenge conservative, ethnocentric ideas. As Conlan’s views are those of the majority of our country, MACOS was bound to offend and challenge and lose. (686) Ruby, Jay. Anthropology as a Subversive Art: A Review of Through These Eyes .” American Anthropologist. 107.4 (2005): 684–693 We knew what was happening. See page 98-100 of Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party.

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.

Mrs. Carrie L. Richmond did a Master’s paper “Bigger than the Books: the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Fight” (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. May 2015). She interviewed me and also quoted from the book Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. After the paper was finished, in an email to me she said, “ My goal in this research was not to paint either side as "the bad guys," but to present the motivations and causes…” It would be great if all researchers held to that standard. I responded, “You did a good job with the study… One major area of concern is on page 15 where you refer to the violence.  One has to be careful about reporting that aspect of the protest.  Especially, one should not take other studies at face value because the bias of the Charleston Gazette and other media stared a perpetuation of propaganda with researches (often with a bias of their own) passing on the same slanted information.  I have documented many examples.  See”.
On 4-24-16 I wrote the following letter to the Gazette-Mail and the Gazette editor acknowledged it was received on 4-25. On 5-5 I asked if the letter had been or would be published and did not receive a reply.

24 April 2016


The prominent (top of page 1C, ¾ page) article in the April 16 edition about the retired minister and his book about "love" is a prime example of liberal confusion and hypocrisy. The confusion is on the part of the compromising pastor and the hypocrisy is classical Gazette.

The pastor thinks his interpretation of the Bible trumps the obvious words in Matthew 7:23 where Jesus describes what will happen to the false preachers who will not proclaim what Jesus plainly said in John 14: 6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Also, I guarantee that fundamentalist Bible believing Christians have shown more love for non-Christians than self-professing Christian liberals whose message would not be hampered if the Bible no longer existed. One small example is rescue missions. If I knew you were heading for a washed out bridge and I failed to warn you (even vehemently) because you would be offended that I was critical of your driving or good judgement—it would not be an act of love.

As for the Gazette hypocrisy, I have documented how the paper has participated in stealth censorship of a book that makes liberals uncomfortable. See “ Why Protester Voices —the 1974 Textbook Tea PartyQualifies as a Banned Book” ( ). It is obvious the Charleston Gazette has an agenda other than providing objective news reporting.

Karl Priest


On 5-6 the editor told me “It is waiting in line to be published as space allows.” It was published on 5-11. The Gazette allowed the liberal preacher to respond on May 26.


See the addendum to 'Godless Books': The 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy for more Pertinent Points.

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”.

*"Pro-bookers" is a non-complimentary term I use in Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea P arty.


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 NOT NARROW-MINDED, NOT IGNORANT, NOT RELIGIOUS FANATICS, NOT CENSORSNOT VIOLENT, and NOT RACIST--click on each slur. 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 video is worth a million words. See Textbook War videos and see if you believe your lying eyes and ears. PART I  PART II PART III PART IV PART V PART VI PART VII PART VIII PART IX