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Textbook War

PROTESTER VOICES-- The 1974 Textbook Tea Party

A first time, first-hand protester account
of the event that launched the fight
for the heart and soul of America.

Why Protester Voices —the 1974 Textbook Tea Party Qualifies as a Banned Book

Updated 1-1-2020

Hear Karl Priest discuss the Banned Book on the Tom Roten Show.

Although a case can be made, don’t look for Protester Voices to be listed during the liberal “Banned Books Week”.

Critics of the Kanawha County Textbook Protesters cry loudly that the protesters were censors. The truth is that the protesters were NOT CENSORS.

Are there people who want to practice stealth (as well as certified) censorship* and hope this book quietly fades into oblivion? You be the judge based upon the following facts.

1. A Charleston Daily Mail editor gave an ambiguous statement (March 31, 2010) regarding doing an article about Protester Voices, but has not done so. Liberal professor and protester critic Dr. Carol Mason’s 2009 book Reading Appalachia from Left to Right: Conservatives and the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy was featured in an August 22, 2009 Daily Mail article “Kanawha County Textbook War Protest Pivotal to U.S. Today Events Called Omen of 'Rightward Shift' from '60s Liberal Radicalism.” Alice Moore (Chapter 11 of Protester Voices) aptly described the Daily Mail as pseudo-conservative.

2. A Charleston Gazette editor said she would mention it to her staff to see if anyone was interested in writing an article about Protester Voices. She did not respond when Karl Priest asked her if that was standard procedure. Liberal preacher and protester critic James Lewis's book was featured in a July 7, 1979 Gazette article “Haunting Memories Prod Lewis to Write." (Note: On June 9, 2010 a Gazette reporter told Priest, in person, that he would do an article when he finished reading Protester Voices. On July 10 he wrote a review about a book on the 2008 financial collapse and on July 24 he wrote a review of a book about Lyndon Johnson. He did not respond to Priest’s emails.)

On July 23, 2011 the Gazette featured the following piece of propaganda:

Novel tells real-life tale of Kanawha Valley

James A. Haught Jul 23, 2011

Milton's Child, a novel by Kit Thornton, Publishers Place, Huntington, 233 pages, $13.95. paperback.

One of West Virginia's most bizarre episodes -- the notorious 1974 Kanawha County fundamentalist uprising against "godless textbooks" -- has been retold by a sad victim. Christopher "Kit" Thornton was a little boy whose evangelist father removed him from school to join marches against "evil" textbooks in the streets of Charleston during that stormy time. The father also flogged him savagely for trivial boyish behavior and denounced him as a 10-year-old "atheist" from the pulpit of his Witcher Creek church.Thornton eventually broke free from his intolerant family, earned a degree in intellectual history at the University of Charleston, and took part in colorful events. (He once created a giant chessboard in the center of Town Center Mall, with costumed human pieces enacting a living chess game.) He went on to law school and now practices in Martinsburg. Although his book is couched as a novel, he says its events actually happened to him as a child. It's a dismal tale of ugliness and ignorance. His narrow-minded father was self-righteous, judgmental against most of Kanawha Valley life around him. His mother meekly submitted in their Southern Baptist home. Here's his story: The grade-school boy was whipped with belts endlessly by his raging father. The minister worried that authorities would discover purple welts and file child abuse charges. One day in 1974, word spread among the church congregation that "wicked, communist, anti-Christian" textbooks were being adopted for Kanawha County schools. Fundamentalists flooded to the church and mobilized. A speaker from the Heritage Foundation roused the throng. Marches and rallies began. Women made signs saying "I have a Bible. I don't need those filthy books." Others made signs against "Jew books."Dozens of evangelical preachers called a boycott of schools. Parishioners kept their children home. Makeshift religious schools were organized in church basements. The 10-year-old fifth-grader -- gifted with a sky-high I.Q. -- laughed at the sappy lessons. He was paddled ferociously for giving smart-aleck answers, then belted more by his father, who warned that the Bible mandates stoning for incorrigible sons. The boy retreated into private reading, seated on rock ledges above Witcher Creek. He obtained a forbidden book from a Bookmobile: John Milton's arcane, archaic Paradise Lost. In secret, he read of Satan being cast from heaven and later deceiving Adam and Eve. He wondered why God allowed such troubles. Daily textbook protests in Charleston's streets turned increasingly violent. Rocks flew through windows. Bullets were fired into schoolbuses. Dynamite shattered schools. Two people were shot. The Board of Education office was bombed. Ku Klux Klansmen rallied against the books. Coal miners went on strike to support the protests. Fundamentalists attempted to form a separate county in the upriver sector including Witcher Creek. Schools were closed. Some preachers were jailed, then released. The book reprints a 1974 Gazette report on the escalating turmoil. It quoted striking miners who complained because black Charleston police were sent to keep peace: "They sent two coon detectives. You know, two niggers. N-I-G-G-E-R-S. Now, you print that." Amid the dangerous chaos, the little boy's life disintegrated. During a church service, his father told the congregation, "there is sin in my house," and said his son had become an atheist. The child protested that it wasn't true, but was locked in a room at home. The boy hatched a clever scheme. He faked a fever and was taken to a clinic -- where doctors saw welts on his back, buttocks and legs. He was removed from his father's custody and placed in a group home. Church leaders pulled strings with state officials, and the evangelist wasn't charged. The grade-schooler eventually was sent home -- to a life of stony silence, banned to his bedroom, kept in limbo. Klansmen came to his home to consult with his father. The fundamentalist war began to collapse. A different evangelist, the Rev. Marvin Horan, and some of his followers were jailed on school-bombing charges. Public sentiment turned against the protesters. Horan went to federal prison. The uprising fizzled. The 10-year-old ran away from home, but was caught. His father engaged an exorcist minister to purge "demons" from him. The boy fought back by quoting Milton. The book ends as the father prepares to move to a new church in Oklahoma, and police haul his son to the Dunbar juvenile shelter as incorrigible. Various accounts of the 1974 tempest have been written. This evidently is the first through the eyes of a gifted child in a fundamentalist family. Superbly written. All the characters -- even thuggish klansmen and an uneducated fundamentalist girl disgraced by unwed pregnancy -- are genuine, believable, understandable, true to West Virginia's hills. Recommended. Footnote: Young Thornton later split from his parents in Oklahoma, returned to Charleston and became an outstanding U.C. student.

Mr. Haught’s piece is the ultimate example of bias, inaccuracies, and untruths. For example, his claim that “Rock-throwing mobs forced schools to close” is a blatant lie.  The only news reference to rock throwers was about seven people who were found innocent in a court of law of the charge of threatening a neighbor which included the accusation of rock throwing. (Charleston Daily Mail 10-30-74). Many other examples refuting the “violent” slur hurled at the Protesters can be found at

Also, see item 20 below.

3. The host of the West Virginia statewide radio talk show ignored Priest's offer to send him a free copy of Protester Voices. He finally requested a copy in mid-July (2010) after he was offered a chance to do an exclusive interview with the most notorious preacher-protester. To date, the interview has not been scheduled. The radio personality did not answer email from Priest.

4. The West Virginia Library Commissions featured an interview (2008) with a famous local atheist ( who maligned the protesters in a section of his book (printed by the same local printer as Protester Voices), but ignored Karl Priest’s initial (April 18, 2010) request for an interview and finally responded to a second email on May 18 stating, “Your email was received and was forwarded to our Library Development Department.  I will forward it again and ask someone to contact you.” That was the end of that.

5. In 2009, the West Virginia Book Festival (sponsored by the Library Foundation of Kanawha County) declined Karl Priest’s request to be a speaker even though they brought in an author from Montana who wrote a book about a 1943 Montana coal mine disaster. Although most of their speakers are “big time" authors, it wouldn’t be a stretch to claim that Priest's book fits the criteria for presenters at the Festival: Programs at the festival deal with a wide range of life images and interpretations that are accessible through literature. Although the festival is primarily aimed at readers, there will always be a track of programming for budding writers. Appalachian literature and its function for those of us who live in the region will always be emphasized, but the festival will incorporate authors from other areas of the country, as well. Our festival is built around a series of programs presented by authors and others. Generally speaking, authors who are invited to present programs have published a new book (

The following email was sent by Mr. Trey Kay.  Trey is a liberal with high integrity.  He is the journalist who finally had the professional and academic honesty to contact a teacher about the Textbook War.  He produced the award winning radio documentary “The Great Textbook War" ( His contact was used by God to provide the impetus for the writing of Priest's book and reunion ( Mr. Kay’s report provides unimpeachable proof that Priest's book is being censored. 

From Trey Kay:

Last week, I was invited to speak at the West Virginia Librarians Conference.  During my talk, there were at least two people who brought up your book.  One story was from a librarian in the Alum Creek area, who told a story about Avis' (Protest preacher Avis Hill) daughter donating a copy of your book to the library. 

There was another guy (don't know his name), who said something about being on the committee of the WV Book Festival and how they had an internal struggle about your application for a vendor’s booth.  They said that the joke that was going around was "isn't it ironic that a book festival is going to give a booth to a book burner?"  This of course prompted me to go off on the mild tirade that you have heard me go on about how I have seen no evidence that any book burning went on and that I think that it is a disservice to respectful debate to continue to propagate these unsubstantiated claims.  I also asked, "Why not include Karl Priest's book at the convention?  Why would his perspective of this event not be welcome?"  No one gave a response. 

See #23 below.

6. The West Virginia Book Company ( declined to distribute Protester Voices because “an academic publisher would be a better fit.” Even a cursory reading of Protester Voices would not put it in that (textbook) category (see #8). The website for the West Virginia Book Company lists categories of what they carry including Appalachian Studies, County Histories, Reference, and West Virginia History. Protester Voices fits all of those categories. In 2011 the WV Book Company published a novel critical of the protesters.

7. The director of West Virginia University Press (WVUP) told Karl Priest that WVUP is "foremost a scholarly press and I am afraid that (Protester Voices) does not fit into our program at this time.” Then she suggested a publisher with “a specifically conservative perspective.” WVUP publishes Roll Out the Carpet: 101 Seasons of West Virginia University Basketball and Witches, Ghosts, and Signs: Folklore of the Southern Appalachians. Also, it is debatable how many West Virginians would be interested in the WVUP Bringing Down the Mountains: The Impact of Mountaintop Removal on Southern West Virginia Communities. Additionally, what does the remark mean about seeking a "conservative" publisher? Is WVUP strictly a liberal publisher? (Note: According to the Spring 2012 magazine People and Mountains WVUP is a partner to The West Virginia Humanities Council. See items 16, 21, and **.)

8. Books-a-Million’s Review Board (via American Wholesale Book Company) said Protester Voices “has not met our needs at this time” and the Barnes and Noble buyer “decided not to add Protester Voices: The 1974 Textbook Tea Party to the assortment” (whatever that is). With all due respect, Priest pointed out that those book dealers either have no concept of what is happening in America or are so blinded by liberalism that they are unable to comprehend a book that would be embraced by mainstream America.

9. The Kanawha County Public Library hosted book signings at the main library and two library branches for a Gazette reporter who wrote West Virginia Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff. Isn’t it curious that the Kanawha County Public Library was not interested in Protester Voices?

10. One of the protester preachers asked a local independent supermarket to sell the books. The owner agreed, but kept them out of sight behind the counter and put up a notice on the bulletin board that customers could ask for the book. The same preacher had a restaurant owner happily agree to display the books for sale. Upon returning a few days later the owner said he would not keep the books because a couple refused to eat there if the books were for sale.

11. None of the Kanawha County area television news programs (WSAZ-3, WCHS-8, WVAH-11, and WOWK-13) would mention this one-of-a-kind historically accurate book.

12. From October 4 through October 11, 2010 the Main Cabell County Public Library hosted a program on the Great Textbook War consisting of the Great Textbook War documentary, the traveling exhibit, and the president of the Kanawha Valley Historical and Preservation Society helped host a discussion. The library did not respond to an email from Priest offering to attend. Also, at that time (and probably still) the Cabell County Library did not have a copy of Protester Voices. It is likely that other libraries have hosted a similar program.

13. The prime supplier of small press titles to libraries, Quality Books, had miniscule success in marketing Protester Voices to West Virginia libraries even through the Textbook War is arguably one of the top three (non-catastrophe) historical events of West Virginia history. It would be interesting to see how many of those libraries own a copy of a book that mocks the protesters.

14. In November 2010, Karl Priest offered to donate a classroom set of Priest's book (Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party ) to each Kanawha County high school for use in an advanced placement class. Priest included free delivery.

The board was told that the use of Protester Voices would be an excellent opportunity for high school students to learn West Virginia history from a perspective unavailable elsewhere. Discussing Protester Voices would allow a unique way for students to exhibit the tolerance and diversity that is stressed as county policy.

Karl Priest provided a copy to each board member, the superintendent, and each high school.

The teacher screeners (censors) will need a few weeks to read the book. Should Priest’s offer be accepted, this item will be removed from this list. Only one board member contacted Priest after looking at his book. That board member stated that that the book would be better for a “more mature student population” (college level). That argument could be used to dispute the sexually graphic and blasphemous books already used by the high school students.

For details of the board meeting I attended see CHECK. and CHECKMATE!.

15. (This item discloses the petty nature of liberals as much as it does their hypocrisy.) The son of a prominent editorialist, during the Protester Voices era, contacted Priest about writing a book about the Textbook War. Andy (not his real name) is a newspaper journalist. He gloated over an incident where his late father had besmirched one of the protest leaders shortly after that leader moved out of state. When Priest took Andy to task for that low blow, Andy's email comments quickly turned hostile. Andy had ordered a copy of Protester Voices from Amazon. He returned the package unopened and marked “Refused.” For more about liberals and Protester Voices see “Lounging in Liberal Land.”

16. The West Virginia Encyclopedia (e-WV), maintained by the West Virginia Humanities Council, claims to be “the comprehensive reference resource for the Mountain State of West Virginia” with “thousands of articles on West Virginia’s people and places, history, arts, science and culture.” Its article on the Textbook War is slanted against the protesters. It reports facts, but fails to mention the worse act of violence was committed by a pro-booker.   Also, the violence, taken in context, was minimal and in many cases not connected to protesters.  Anyone could have done it.  There are several other examples that are slanted against the protestors. Karl Priest requested an opportunity to rebut (using material from Protester Voices). Finally, in January 2011 Priest was told the man in charge (Ken) “will think about it.” In early February, Priest was informed that Ken wants to get a “national scholar.” For what purpose was not disclosed. Priest responded, “That makes no sense.  I was there.  I can document (already have in my book) anything I say.  The only national scholar I am aware of is highly prejudiced against the protesters.” (Note: According to the Spring 2012 magazine People and Mountains the West Virginia Humanities Council is a partner to West Virginia University Press. See items 7, 21, and **.)

17. After a Project Veritas undercover tape exposed the NPR leftist lean and bigotry toward fundamentalists Christians, Priest sent the following via the NPR website.

“In order to help you show the public that NPR does not censor the conservative public, I am available for an interview. My book Protester Voices—the 1974 Textbook Tea Party is the conservative Christian view of an event that is the subject of The Great Textbook War documentary .”

NPR responded by email by telling him to send a snail mail to a specific program. Priest asked for the email of the program that interviews authors. He waited a few days and asked again. That was on 3-23-11. There has not been a respone.

18. Liberals have grudgingly acknowledged that my book exists, but do not want to encourage anyone to read it. Following are some examples.

A. West Virginia University developed a Great Textbook War Curriculum for use in public schools and tried to limit input from the protester side.

B. The Division of Culture and History publishes Goldenseal, “the magazine of West Virginia traditional life”, ran an article about “The Great Kanawha County Textbook War” in the Fall 2011 edition. The article was slanted against the protesters. There was an intense battle to get past the censor(s) and publish the truth in the Summer 2012 edition.

19. Last, but not least. This list of blatant banners and subtle censors is not surprising except for these particular participants. The others are sickening, but these are saddening. If Christians and conservatives have intelligence and integrity, their conscience will compel them to capitulate and confess their confusion.  To date, there has been no confirmation of contrition.  A couple of examples follow.

A. Two preacher protesters and Priest asked to purchase 30 minutes on the WEMM-FM Christian radio station. They were refused because the book is “too controversial.”

The same day Priest was censored by WEMM that station broadcast two (these programs have been ongoing) infomercials (which is the category WEMM had placed Priest’s proposal when he first contacted the station). One was a “Millionaire Maker” book by Loral Langemeier. One part of of the book is called, “Getting off your lazy asses.” Immediately after that program was Dr. Newton's fish oil from Dr. Michael Pinkus. The expert is a chiropractor who works with Hollywood celebrities.

WEMM was not concerned about controversy connected to those two programs. One person who bought Langemeier's book said, "We were soon contacted by a person from this organization, attempting to upsell us on a mentoring program...We discussed it and decided against it. However, we were contacted again by their organization and this time it was a bit harder selling process. It moved on to an insulting phase...We were both under the belief that this would cancel all future obligations to the Loral Langemeier organization. Wrong, so wrong. I discovered a charge on my account for $67.00.” There is much more at

One should wonder what real medical doctors have to say about Dr. Newton’s miracle potions. The Quackwatch website ( discloses that "the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners asked a Dr. Pinkus (unlikely there are two of them) to appear before a complaint panel to answer allegations."

B. A South Charleston pastor/Christian school administrator was afraid to be associated with the Textbook Protest Truth Program. Propaganda persuaded him. It seems that ignorance (being uniformed) and fear (kowtowing to God haters) is the course on which that preacher is proceeding.

C. The silence is deafening from Bible believing Christian and/or homeschool supporting national groups like Issues in Education ( and Southwest Radio Ministries ( Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? (Mark 8:18a) Southwest Radio Ministries had the audacity to sell the free copy of Protester Voices I provided them at a conference.

20. The censorship of folks who are philosophically or religiously aligned with the Kanawha County Textbook Protesters is not limited to Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. The book, Indoctrination, was similarly censored. Here is a series of emails that expose the extremism of those who hate what the Protesters stood for.

Sent to editors of various West Virginia newspapers:

15 October 2012

Dear Editor:

The Charleston Gazette refused to print information about the IndoctriNation book. Proof is below.

Did your newspaper do the same?

If not, please send me information about what your newspaper published.

Thank you.

Karl Priest

Email between the Gazette and Karl Priest (The name of the Gazette employee is omitted because that person is not the issue.)

Karl (25 September 2012)


Contact: Karl Priest 304-769-0217

West Virginia native and resident Karl Priest is a featured author in the newly released book IndoctriNation.

The companion book to the award-winning documentary “IndoctriNation”, this eye-opening book includes:

  • An unforgettable introduction by a father who lost his son in the Columbine school massacre.
  • Revealing, firsthand accounts of Christian educators working in public schools – sharing the struggles they face in a hostile system
  • The classroom anti-Christian ideologies from humanism, marxism, utopianism, educational psychology, and more confronting students in public schools today

IndoctriNation includes chapters by nationally known figures Ken Ham, Samuel Blumenfeld, John Taylor Gatto, and Voddie Baucham, Jr..

Gazette (25 September 2012):

I'll include information about your book in the Gazette's book notes. Do you know where the book is available in the Charleston WV area?

Karl (copy from the publisher) (25 September 2012):

The book is available where all fine Christian books are sold including your favorite online retailer.

For the sake of not picking favorites (since we have numerous Christian bookstores throughout WV that sell the book) is it ok if we keep it generic?

Please let me know your thoughts…thanks!

Karl (12 October 2012):

Have I missed the mention?

If so, what date was it?


Gazette (15 October 2012):

I'm sorry, Karl. My editor decided not to run it in Book Notes.

Karl (15 October 2012):

Meaning no disrespect to you, your editor is a censor and typical of the hypocrites that have constantly cried "censors" to slur the Kanawha County Textbook Protesters.

IndoctriNation is a book and movie that so-called "open-minded" liberals fear.

Please share this with your editor.

Thank you for trying.

No editor responded.

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.

21. Although not censoring the book specifically, the West Virginia Humanities Council censored the whole subject of the Great Textbook War. See items 7, 16 and**.

22. Propaganda--fake news--no news- - censorship
(Warning: The 2nd and 3rd links go to leftwing websites.)

Propaganda--fake news--no news--censorship is a circular twisted thread used by the left and the left’s media cohorts.  This is exhibited quite well in the history of the Kanawha County Textbook Protest.

During the week of February 17, 2019 West Virginia teachers were portrayed as heroes for their rowdy rallies, blocking buses, and shutting down ALL of the state’s county school systems (  The Textbook Protesters, for years, have been slurred as villains for their rallies, bus blocking, and shutting down ONE county school system!

The propaganda and fake news of 1974, shifted to pathetic “academic” papers the next few years and the Left figured the job was done in casting the Textbook Protesters as narrow-minded, ignorant, racist religious fanatics.  Blocking news opportunities (no news) is a form of censorship ( now used by those who have an agenda to slur Christians and conservatives.

On February 21, I manned a table during History Day at the WV State Capitol.  Many local media were notified on February 18.  Not one media representative showed up to interview me.  Hoppy Kercheval was broadcasting (WV MetroNews Talkline ( just a few feet away.

Only one media person replied to my email exposing the censorship. He was from the television station WSAZ. He claimed that he would have sent his camera had he been aware. He would not accept my offer to set up an exclusive interview with some of the leaders. I told him that “it is obvious that teacher union bullies rate higher with WSAZ the great citizens who participated in one of the top WV historical events ever.” He responded, “Just know there are multiple and varied opinions in every newsroom. My concluding comment was, It is a shame that “opinions” outweigh FACTS in a newsroom.”

*Censorship, by definition, is done by a “ government, media outlet, or other controlling body.” So, other groups or individuals (in the case of my book) are suppressing it.

23. (See #5 above.) In May of 2019 I contacted the West Virginia Book Festival with this request: “Since this is the 45th anniversary of the Kanawha County event that launched the national Culture War, the West Virginia Book Festival should make a special place for  PROTESTER VOICES--The 1974 Textbook Tea Party.” When my request was refused I contacted the press. See “The West Virginia Book Festival/Fair is Unfair.”

24. In 2015 Marshall University Libraries and the American Civil Liberties Union had a sham program to observe “Banned Books Week.” The event was a vicious attack on the Protesters. I wanted to discuss the matter when I found out about it in 2019. See “Marshall Exposed."

25. I shared the WV Book Festival censorship (see #24) with several local members of the local mainstream media. Not a single one was interested. See “Mainstream Media Exposed”and #26.

26. The following email thread exposes more media and adds some Charleston officials.


CC:,,, ,,,,

(Due to typos, it was resent to mayorsoffice, tim, and susan.)

26 December 2019

Dear Mr. Lynch:

Regarding your article “Paying tribute to some of the many people who help keep Charleston's arts scene interesting” in the December 19 (page 1D) Charleston Gazette-Mail, I took special note of what Mr. Stuart Frazier said:

“I was really proud of how the “Charleston Reads Banned Books” video project came together. As part of celebrating “Banned Books Week,” I was able to get several local figures to read banned or challenged books for the library, including WTSQ’s Josh Gaffin, WSAZ’s Amanda Barren, local poet and activist Crystal Good and mayor of Charleston Amy Goodwin.”

I had missed the September 30 WSAZ special on Banned Books Week ( I had to laugh at Mr. Irr’s statement (2:28) about the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Protest.

Next time the propaganda of Banned Books Week is propagated, I suggest that all of the smug “Right to Read” folks take a look at Why Protester Voices —the 1974 Textbook Tea Party Qualifies as a Banned Book (


Karl Priest


RESPONSES (Do you think I got the brush off?):

From: Crystal Good (

Thu, Dec 26, 2019 12:21 pm

Just read your email! How thoughtful of you! Thank you.

~ Crystal

From: Tim Irr ( Fri, Dec 27, 2019 4:03 pm

Dang typos! Don’t beat yourself up. I do that all the time.

Thanks again for continuing to communicate with me.

Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 26, 2019, at 11:14 AM, "" wrote:

Due to a typo, I do not think this email was delivered to you. So, here it is.



I told them both “You are very welcome.”

I told them both “You are very welcome.”

On Thu, Dec 26, 2019 11:09 am I received an auto response from  Hello. I am out of the office until Monday, December 30, 2019. I will respond to my emails at that time. Thank you. Stuart Frazier Marketing Coordinator Kanawha County Public Library

So far, he has not responded.


What is a “Banned Book”? “A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.”

“Banned Books Week” is a sham. It is a feel good fund raiser that is, as another friend described it, “the high holy week for liberals.”

A friend said, “Many years ago I realized the Librarians' "Banned Book Week" was nothing more or less than an effort to scare off parents from being involved in what their children are exposed to. Banned books? They are the gatekeepers of what books are allowed in the library, obviously they pick and choose and the books THEY don't like don't even appear on the shelves in the first place. How many recent Creation Science, ID, or doubting-evolution books can you find in any given library?”

A national correspondent said, “O f all the fake holidays competing for attention on our calendars and social media "feeds" these days, far and away the worst is Banned Books Week, that annual festival of cloying liberal self-satisfaction…(It) is really a marketing campaign for publishers…(W)hen you actually look at the lists, you realize that virtually none of the books being trotted out has ever truly been banned. It is not an act of censorship in any meaningful sense for a school librarian to decide that, on balance, it would be better if children did not have unfettered access to lurid, often illustrated, stories about drug use and underage sodomy. This is why the Banned Books industry has settled on the cloying neologism "challenged" as an appellation for books that were never forbidden publication or even officially removed from shelves anywhere, much less "banned." What they mean by "challenged" is that somewhere, someone is documented as having said something negative about the work in question and suggested that people ought not to read it. "Challenged" as an equivocation is the kind of dodge that only someone who never reads would be dumb enough to find clever. It actually gives the game away. If no book can ever be "challenged," then the act of reading itself is a meaningless, mechanical, uncritical exercise of no value to anyone.”

A scholar said, “The irony of Banned Books Week is that it celebrates books, like the Harry Potter books, that are not really ‘banned’ in any real sense. Every library and every bookstore in the country has multiple copies of these books… even Walmart and several local supermarkets sell copies. Further, others have noted that those who do the ‘banning,’ are powerless: ‘There’s something odd about a national organization [The American Library Association (ALA)] with $54 million budget and 67,000 members reacting so zealously against a few unorganized, lawabiding parents, whose efforts, by any sensible standard, are hopelessly ineffective. The ALA’s members have immeasurably more power’… If the books featured in the lists of BBW are not actually banned, and if those who try to challenge them have little ability to actually censor media, then BBW must not exist to liberate books and celebrate the freedom to read, as BBW rhetoric would have us believe. Scholar Kenneth Kidd has provided some explanation for this, arguing that BBW operates as a system for prizing books and canon-making—if a book shows up on a BBW list, it will most certainly become a bestseller and receive enormous amounts of media attention…

“Additionally, I would like to explore the cultural capital that the ritual and discourse of BBW creates for librarians, teachers, and the institutions they work for. In all cases, I argue that BBW does not exist to celebrate democracy and the ‘freedom to read’ while fighting censorship, but rather, functions to promote progressive identities of the individuals who take part in the ritual…Texts from libraries and educators construct the censor as the worried mom in Texas, the overbearing minister in Kansas, and others whose politics seem backward to the goals of democracy. Kidd called them ‘sinner censors,’ to describe the way censors are shamed by self-righteous anticensors. He wrote, ‘The censor is constructed as a moron also through mock rhetorics of distinction’…

“Is Banned Books Week a celebration of free speech, or it is it a way for government employees to bully ordinary citizens by stigmatizing those who complain...

“(I)t is very troubling that we make an enemy out of the person who is merely contesting public school curriculum when they challenge an assigned reading, an act that should also be understood as participatory democracy, even if we do not agree with their particular politics. In other words, we are asking for them to passively accept what teachers and librarians decide are good texts, but in a context where a conservative value is taught in school, we would most likely celebrate those who challenge such curriculum, revealing that our interest is not in freedom to read, but the maintenance of our own identities…

“Libraries have been involved in ethical selections of materials since their beginning. In the early days, promoting didactic books that contributed to education for good citizenship was a point of pride. Wiegand wrote, ‘Because the ideology of reading dictated the exclusion of bad reading as well as the inclusion of good reading, turn-of-the-century public librarians willingly assumed the role of censor as a part of their professional credo’. These librarians would have been proud to publicly express that they collected with a certain goal. Contributing to citizenship education was this era’s promotion of democracy…

“The assertion that “Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular” is not actually true, then, as BBW does not act as a way to open the doors to all reading material. It promotes specific books to aid corporate publishers…

“Why do parents’ public petitions constitute censorship, while librarians’ hidden verdicts do not?” (Citations/dates in parenthesis are omitted.)

A liberal said: (Referring to the American Library Association’s list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books in libraries.) “I can't help noticing that no liberal tastes were harmed in the making of this list. It costs us nothing to celebrate these banned books. The whole campaign is pungent with self-satisfaction, a chance for us enlightened liberals to remind each other that we are freedom fighters."


**After reading Mr. Ken Sullivan's article "Awards Won" (Spring 2012 magazine, People and Mountains) in which he mentioned the Kanawha County Textbook War, on May 17, 2012 Priest contacted the West Virginia Humanities Council. After providing some history of his interaction with e-WV Priest wrote, “Unless the West Virginia Humanities Council rectifies its position regarding providing a balanced report about the protest, I must logically conclude that the West Virginia Humanities Council is guilty of what the protesters have always been accused of--CENSORSHIP.” After making a couple of additional points Priest requested that his email be forwarded to the entire West Virginia Humanities Council Board. On May 18 Mr. Sullivan responded that Priest's email would be forwarded to the board of directors. Nothing more was heard.


A Powerpoint presentation has been prepared to portray the truth about the 1974 textbook protesters to parry the pompous people who have poured propaganda into the public’s perception. Karl Priest will present this program to any local group at no cost.

For quick accurate facts see Textbook Protester Truth.