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The Lie: Evolution

Textbook War





Marvin Horan is not a Racist!

By Karl Priest March 29, 2012 (revised 4-19-2012)

[Disclaimer: Marvin Horan is my friend. However, I do not pull punches with my friends. That way they know that whatever I say concerning them, whether complimentary or critical, is sincere. If the evidence led me to conclude that Marvin was a racist, I would not ignore it because I want the true history of the Kanawha County Textbook War to be recorded.]

Liberals have relentlessly tried to slur the Kanawha County Textbook protesters. With little to go on liberals have, over the years, successfully cast the protesters as racists. Without facts to fight back, Christians and conservatives have had to hang their heads. Now, that will change because the protesters were NOT racists.

One of the main methods liberals have used to portray the Kanawha County Textbook Protesters as racists involves the involvement of the Ku Klux Klan and particularly the fact that protest leader, Marvin Horan, attended a KKK rally.

The Ku Klux Klan held a rally on Saturday January 18, 1975 on the steps of the State Capitol. The next day the Charleston Gazette ran an article with some photos. The front page had a large photo showing Marvin appearing to be holding his umbrella over the head of a robed Klan official. The same photo was featured in an article published by the West Virginia history magazine Goldenseal just before a Textbook Protest Truth Program was held to honor the textbook protesters. For years the photo has done great harm to the memory of the Kanawha County Textbook Protesters. A discussion of the photo is below. The same article quotes Marvin as having made a statement that could be misconstrued to indicate support of the Klan. That alleged statement will be confronted first.

Marvin was quoted as saying, “It feels good to be standing among people today who have peace in their minds and good will in their hearts. If you have anything to contribute to me, I’d appreciate it.”

The quote could be explained as perhaps Marvin was just attempting to be a peace-maker or more likely he spoke to a small group of people that had gathered separately from the Klan supporters.

I telephoned Gazette reporter Kay Michaels in January 2012 to ask her what she remembered about that KKK meeting regarding Marvin Horan. In the course of the conversation she said that during the textbook protest she had worked closely with, and became good friends with, Ben Franklin of the New York Times. At the time I had not began researching the Times’s news coverage of the Textbook Protest. When I did, I noticed Franklin’s name in most bylines. Franklin’s reporting is a perfect example of the blatant baloney and subtle slant used by liberal reporters and I provide proof in Pertinent Points.

I read aloud Marvin’s alleged comments from her article describing the rally (Charleston Gazette 1-19-1975) and asked her if she remembered to whom he was speaking. She could not remember if he said it to the entire group, her separately, or to a group of reporters.

Several days after I spoke to Mrs. Michaels I spoke to Marvin about this matter. Marvin firmly maintained that he did not address the crowd at that rally. When the Klan speaker started using derogatory terms for Jews and blacks Marvin left. As he walked away he was surrounded by reporters asking about his criminal case. Marvin had just been released on a $50,000 bond (Charleston Daily Mail 1-18-1975). Marvin kept telling the reporters that he could not comment. For the record: Marvin told me that the Klan had in fact offered to pay for his legal defense and he refused. He did not get any money from the Klan.

I told Marvin my hunch that he had spoken separately to a group of his supporters and made the remarks reported by Michaels. Marvin said that did not happen and reaffirmed that he did not speak to any group while at the capitol that day. I told Marvin that a reporter for the Morgantown Dominion-Post (1-19-1975) had written that during that Klan rally Marvin “spoke briefly and received a long applause from his followers.”

The Business and Professional People’s Alliance for Better Textbook’s president, Elmer Fike, complained (in a December 1974 letter to the Gazette) that Kay Michaels did not report his repudiation of the textbook protest violence. Mrs. Michaels worked with an editor that referred to the protesters as “the crazies.” (Rupp, Carla Marie. “Charleston Editors Wrestle with Antitextbook Crusade.” Editor and Publisher Nov. 2, 1974: 9.) The publisher of her paper was definitely held to a code of morality that was not that of the Bible based protester ethics. (Ibid., p. 10) It is possible that the Gazette did not report the rally accurately although Kay concluded her article with, “At no time during their appearance in Charleston did klansmen (sic) publicly advocate breaking any law. On the contrary, they cautioned protesters to use legal means of settling their differences.”

I told Marvin that I wanted to investigate this incident and he did not hesitate to tell me to proceed when I said that I would report the full truth about what I found.

Marvin’s purported statement is a mystery. The only way to determine exactly what transpired is to hear audio of that rally. I contacted local broadcast news media and was told that the West Virginia Archives was in possession of their film of the protest. I went to the Archives and (with help from the video historian) could not locate any film of the event. Just try to remember what you did over 35 years ago—even at a monumental event such as your wedding.

Now, how about the front page photo?

I would hold an umbrella over my worst enemy because it is commanded by Christ

Think about the following photos. The first one appeared on the front page of the Sunday Charleston Gazette-Mail (1-19-75). Compare that to the second one that, to my knowledge, was not published anywhere. Can you understand why the Gazette featured the first one?


Next is a cropped photograph taken on the steps of another capitol building (Seattle, WA 1969).


The white man is not identified, but do you think it is likely that he was there in support of the armed protesters? A biased newspaper could make it seem that way.

Suppose Martin Luther King, Jr. had appeared there to find out what it was all about. Suppose he saw that the guns were unloaded and it was an attempt to peacefully draw attention to the plight of blacks. Suppose he refused to be a part of it but said the same words attributed to Marvin Horan.

Martin Luther King, Jr. did address the subject of black radicalism.

Although King was hesitant to criticize Black Power openly, he told his staff that Black Power ''was born from the wombs of despair and disappointment. Black Power is a cry of pain. It is in fact a reaction to the failure of White Power to deliver the promises and to do it in a hurry.… The cry of Black Power is really a cry of hurt.'' (14 November 1966).   (

Marvin went to the rally because he wanted to hear, for himself, what the Klan was going to say regarding the Textbook Protest. With the media slant, that was not an unreasonable plan. With 20-20 hindsight his appearance was certainly unfortunate, maybe even stupid, but it certainly was not proof of racism. One can detest what the Klan stands for, but still be curious about what goes on in one of their rallies. If a person attends an event they disagree with it certainly is not proof they are even slightly sympathetic. For example, I would go to hear an abortionist explain why baby killing should be legal for the same reason Marvin went to the Klan rally—so I could get the facts firsthand. That would not make me a supporter of abortionist evil.

No one I spoke to indicated that Marvin Horan has (or ever had) the slightest hint of racial bigotry.

No hero in history is without blemish. That includes the biblical patriarchs and America’s founding fathers. Even Billy Graham made mistakes. Marvin Horan is a hero and he will be the first to say he is not perfect.

Everyone has made mistakes of various degrees of seriousness. Few of us have suffered for a mistake like Marvin Horan has for attending that rally.

No record exists of Marvin ever making a racist comment. Compare that record to that of the late Robert C. Byrd (liberal icon and beloved U.S. Senator, D-WV). In the early 1940s Byrd became an “Exalted Cyclops” which is the top officer in the local Klan unit. Byrd is on record saying, “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.” (letter to segregationist Sen. Theodore Bilbo, D-MS, 1944). Also, a couple of years later Byrd wrote to the Klan Grand Wizard stating, "The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia." (

Marvin Horan has unjustly suffered for the few minutes he listened to a Klansman talk.

It is time that liberals gave up the hypocritical and desperate ploy to portray Marvin and, by extension, all Kanawha County Textbook Protesters as racist. More importantly, it is time for Christians and conservatives to overcome the propaganda that has caused them to remember the Courageous Corps of ‘74 in a negative way. Shining the light of truth on this subject should certainly allow the latter group to hold their heads high.

Marvin Horan is NOT a racist!


1. The Charleston Gazette reported (1-19-1975) “nearly 200 textbook protesters gathered” while the Morgantown Dominion-Post cited “about 150 persons”. Notice that the Gazette assumed the crowd consisted of all textbook protesters. That would have been impossible to determine without privately asking each attendee. The Gazette headline focused on Marvin: “Klan May Aid Horan Defense” and the Dominion-Post headline more fairly was “Anti-text support pledged” which really was what the rally was about. The Gazette article quoted a local Klan leader stating that if “persons opposed to the county’s newly adopted textbooks turn out in numbers to show their support of the klan (sic), the KKK will underwrite the minister’s (Horan’s) legal defense.”

2. The Klan rally and the photo came up in Marvin’s trial and after the verdict his visit to the rally was used as an excuse by federal prosecutors to try to revoke his bond (New York Times, 4-18-1975).

3. After this article was posted, as I researched about Marvin’s trial I mentioned the likely impact his appearance at the rally had upon the jury. Marvin said,"I should have trusted my instincts. When the guy started talking about blacks and Jews in degrading terms my instinct was to stand up and tell the crowd that was not part of the textbook protest. Instead, I decided to leave."

4. According to a 1976 article reporting an interview with Marvin, a liberal journalist reported that Marvin said that the Klan had some “real good ideas” and some “fine men as officers.” [Humphreys, James. “Textbook War in West Virginia.” Dissent 23.2 (April 1976): pg.167.] Assuming that this is an accurate quote (although difficult because the same reporter wrote that Alice Moore never graduated from high school) it could be argued that it was not too many years beyond when revered United States Senator Robert (D-WV) had recruited 150 members to form his own Klan unit. Humphreys went on to quote Marvin saying that he (Marvin) went to the Klan rally ”to be with his people, the protesters who were also present, not to show support for the Klan.” (ibid. 167) There you have it, a statement made by Marvin (probably in1975) about why he attended the rally. I obtained this article on April 17, 2012 after I had interviewed Marvin.


Also see Marvin Horan was Railroaded.


For more documented facts about the racism slur please see The Kanawha County Textbook Protesters were NOT Racist.

In order to fully understand the protesters as the Courageous Corps of ’74 and the good citizens and patriots they really were please read PROTESTER VOIECES—THE 1974 TEXTBOOK TEA PARTY.

See Textbook War Video Part I and Textbook War Video Part II and see if you believe your lying eyes and ears.