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: 11-27-19


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!

My comments are in red.

The idea of school to most of the protestors clashed with that of the government’s. Schooling involved the three “R’s” and not much more. Children should not be taught to question their parents’ authority or question God or question their surroundings. School should not expose children to sex, violence, and ‘filthy’ language. It is a place where the ideals of the country are to be taught and upheld, where the child is elevated and does not have the world knocked out from under them. The protestors sincerely loved their country, and they wanted that love to be transferred to their children. The school needed to reinforce that love. What the parents saw in those textbooks defied their logic and did not meet any of their qualifications about what school should be. McHenry, Justin J., "Silent, no more: The 1974 Kanawha County textbook controversy and the rise of conservatism in America" (2006). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. West Virginia University. 54

Protestors associated what they saw in the textbooks as being anti-American, with a Cold War mentality anything anti-American automatically translated into communism. Since communism was the antithesis of America’s capitalist society, it took the brunt of suspicion. Protestors still viewed communism as a major threat to all they held dear and sacred. It symbolized two threats. First, it marked the destruction of the family. Second, it promoted atheism. Communism destroyed the family by attacking the natural basis of relationships based on the elimination of any kind of domination. It tore down the natural hierarchy of authority, which is so central to the social conservative world. McHenry, Justin J., "Silent, no more: The 1974 Kanawha County textbook controversy and the rise of conservatism in America" (2006). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. West Virginia University. 58

(The protesters said,) What our children will be taught in the future will cause a general corruption of all moral principles in which they have been nurtured. If we revolt against God and His order, civilization would lapse into barbarism. This is what is happening in the world today. Liberty is not freedom from law. That is recklessness. Our children belong to us and not the state. The schools are worse now than they have ever been. The public schools are brain laundries in which our children are being destroyed. McHenry, Justin J., "Silent, no more: The 1974 Kanawha County textbook controversy and the rise of conservatism in America" (2006). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. West Virginia University. 58-59

(A Protester said,) A few years ago the American Civil Liberties Union, with its Marxist revolutionary doctrine, succeeded in invading our college campuses with incendiarism, and hurling epithets at our social standards, jarring such things as God, family, America, cleanliness, and replacing the English language with their favorite four letter word vocabulary.... I fail to understand the reasoning behind the theory that seamy writings by seamy individuals, such as Cleaver and Ginsberg, can contribute to the education of anything. Parents could not believe that such morally bankrupt individuals would be allowed into the minds of their kids. McHenry, Justin J., "Silent, no more: The 1974 Kanawha County textbook controversy and the rise of conservatism in America" (2006). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. West Virginia University. 67. What is wrong with that logic?

Allen Ginsberg, an outspoken, anti-war protestor, homosexual, beat poet, fills the role of Eastern, intellectual elite perfectly, but his autobiographical essay on his days at Columbia University irked many protestors. The essay chronicles Ginsberg’s friendship with a red-headed whore and describes her pulling some tricks. A story like this quickly got labeled “dirty” or “filthy” by the anti-textbook crowd. Parents sifted through the hundreds of books, searching for any obscene word or inappropriate story. The books did not disappoint. Scrolls filled with goddamn’s, hell’s, bastard’s, and so on. Protestors failed to see the beauty in e.e. cummings calling his pubic hair “electric fuzz,” but they did not stop there. They even assaulted classic children’s stories like the “Gingerbread Man,” “Three Little Pigs,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and “Pinocchio.” McHenry, Justin J., "Silent, no more: The 1974 Kanawha County textbook controversy and the rise of conservatism in America" (2006). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. West Virginia University. 66 People who want their children exposed to Ginsberg and “goddamn’s, hell’s, and bastard’s” in literature should not use tax money to do it. As for the “gingerbread Man” etc, let liberals post the proof of those statements. Here is a documented fact from one of the protested elementary level books: “(T)he children are asked to compare the fable “Androcles and the Lion” to “Daniel in the Lion’s Den.” The latter story is a fact as recorded in the Bible (Daniel 6:4-27). In the Communicating book the teacher is supposed to ask a student to tell the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den and “If it is told in any detail, you could then discuss the similarities between that story and ‘Androcles and the Lion’.” Source: PROTESTER VOICES--The 1974 Textbook Tea Party, page 89.

One of the stories the protesters objected to in the Communicating series taught cheating. When the original author, Jesse Stuart, received a copy of the story he said, “I was surprised when I saw it; I was just furious. That’s not the aim of the story at all (as the book presents it). It has a moral…It’s underhanded piracy in editing…Heath had to get it through my publisher. Then, they re-worked it.” Stuart said this is the first time a textbook publishing company has not consulted him before editing one of his works.”
The moral had been deleted—shall we say, censored? Charleston Daily Mail, 1-23-1975

Censorship is not an issue in Kanawha County. There is complete freedom to buy any book or magazine that is printed in America…In fact, no one has questioned the right of any adult in the community to read whatever he wants to read. Also, no one in the textbook dispute was interested in absolute freedom in the schools. Even those who wanted the textbooks and supported them enthusiastically did not say that a teacher should have no guidelines in choosing books. Freedom versus censorship was not the issue. What was being challenged seriously was the right of one group to dictate to another group what all children must read. To protest against this situation is not to invoke censorship in the community but to protest against a form of authoritarianism, albeit benign and unconscious. “Cultural Revolution in Appalachia” by Jack Welch, associate professor in the Department of English at West Virginia University in The Educational Forum. (Nov. 1976): 21-22.

Censorship is in the eye of the beholder. Can radical feminists censor? Read on.

Text Advisors’ Choices running into Trouble

The 20-member screening committee, comprised of parents throughout the county, will recommend only one of five elementary social studies series to the textbook selection committee…

Two of the five series—including the one which will be recommended—have been challenged by members of the Charleston Chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW).

Susan Weaver, coordinator of NOW’s Task Force on the Media and Education, said books by Silver-Burdette Co. and Laidlaw Co. are objectionable in their blatant representation of sexist stereotypes…

“We find it abhorrent that material of such poor quality could have even gotten to the point of being considered for use in the school system,” she said.

Charleston Daily Mail, Feb. 6, 1975

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.”

In the appendix, Cowan concluded, “I didn’t see any justice in the fact that textbook editors responded to criticisms that came from feminists and ethnic minorities while they remained impervious to the criticisms that came from religious people…The people I quote in this chapter taught me an enormous amount.” (305)

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

According to the dictionary definition censorship is done by an “official” (government usually, but it could be an editor). Parents trying to protect their children cannot be classified as censors. As I have demonstrated in the case of Goldenseal magazine and the Great Textbook War curriculum the real censors are those who cry loudest about the personal preference for their children such as those of the textbook protesters.

Certainly the textbook controversy should not be confused with library book selection: they are separate problems entirely. The school child is part of a captive audience and subject to indoctrination. His rights must be protected. A classroom situation however is not the same as a library situation…At the heart of the matter is whether tax-supported schools should reflect their communities’ needs and whether legally responsible parents should have a say in what their minor charges are taught. Smith, Shirley A. “Crisis in Kanawha County: A Librarian looks at the Textbook Controversy.” SLJ-School Library Journal, January 1975: 35.

Actually, the question of censorship is not involved in the controversy (Kanawha County and elsewhere). Adults can always get such books at any library, and if they wish to pass them along to their children, they are at liberty to do so. The questions that do arise relate to judgment, taste, and even social and political views. Busch, Noel F. “The Furor Over School Textbooks.” Reader’s Digest, Jan. 1976

Other challenges to philosophy, operational procedures and curricular content of the public schools have come from numerous sources including representatives of minority groups and most recently women’s groups. Even Dick and Jane has been branded as being sexist. Candor, Catherine. “A History of the Kanawha County Textbook Controversy, April 1974-April 1975.” Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1976: 214.

The review committee could not reach a consensus (a majority recommended accepting ‘all but 35 of the 325 books’; a minority recommended banning 180 of the books.” (Mason, Carol. “An American Conflict: Representing the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy. Appalachian Journal. Spring 2005: 353)
Ms. Mason, as exposed in Chapter 2 of Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party, is far from being an objective scholar. In the above statement she is referring to the Citizen’s Review Committee that was formed as a compromise during the height of the protest. Her facts are right, but her slant is sickening. Why did she refer to the protester group as “banning”? She could have said, “The review committee could not reach a consensus (a majority recommended banning ‘35 of the 325 books’; a minority recommended accepting 145 of the books.” It should be noted that the original teacher committee in effect “banned” hundreds of books they were screening and the board “banned” blatantly objectionable eight books early on.

Elmer Fike’s Business and Professional People’s Alliance for Better Textbooks cited series, book, and page or title with reasonable if not total accuracy when they quoted excerpts in a two-page ad… Moffett, James. Storm in the Mountains. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988:109

(Publishers) do their own precensoring and always have. Moffett, James. Storm in the Mountains. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988: 112.

Perhaps the most important, though least well-articulated, objections had to do with what the protesters saw as pervasive gloom in the texts. (He goes on to elaborate for three pages.) Hillocks, George, Jr. “Books and Bombs: Ideological Conflict and the Schools—A case Study of the Kanawha County Book Protest.” School ReviewVol. 86, No. 4 (Aug., 1978): 647.
Also see: Books and Bombs (Hillocks Hits Some Homeruns)


It (national trend) invovlves censoring, banning and even burning of books. (Benzin, Philip. “War over Words—Latest Moves to Ban Certain School Books Worry U.S. Educators.” The Wall Street Journal September 20, 1974: 1.)
I don’t know about elsewhere, but no books were burned in Charleston. Well, I heard that Bibles were burned by Kanawha County schools as a respectful way to dispose of them. Anyway, the protested books were eventually burned or hauled to the dumb after the county was finished with them.


It is unfortunate that censorship has been the dominant theme of most of the recent literature on the Kanawha County textbook controversy. (144) Although attempts at censorship may have been the case later in the conflict when tempers were out of control and fear was deeply felt on both sides, it was not the problem in April...The initial reaction of school officials to the objections to the books (that is to assume that the objections were attempts at censorship) is an example of not listening to what a communicator is saying but rather reacting to one’s prejudiced view of the situation. (161) [Burger, Robert H. “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of Communications and Power.” Library Quarterly 48.2 (1978)]
The word “may” should be emphasized.

When queried about the possible spillover of censorship to the public libraries of the state, James Nelson (director of the Huntington Co, PL) said: “We’re not inhibited [by censorship presssures]...” (Anonymous. “NEA Reort on Kanawha County.” Wilson Library Bulletin. March, 1975: 535.)
This was tacked on to a piece about the National Education Association panel report which I comment on in the Not Narrow Minded page.

An injunction against mass picketing brought about some arrests, particularly after violence occurred at several schools. 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. 38.
Whose “free speech” was being violated by limiting a large group from expressing their point of view? The injunction arrests were not connected to any violence. What is meant by “several schools”? Only three were bombed and received minimal damage. See Not Ignorant.

From the very first the protesters have sought one firm goal: to keep all students in Kanawha County from reading or using the ‘dirty, filthy books...The books must be totally and completely removed. There has never been any willingness to compromise on this essential point. 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. 40.
Only a segment of the protesters held that position (complete removal) and none of them advocated Kanawha County children not using the books outside the public schools.

The protests of 1974 and early 1975 have created a situation that continues to threaten vital principles of free speech. (41) The precedent set in the West Virginia controversy indicates that free speech has suffered severe blows. (43) 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.
The author is referring to the perceived limitations on the free speech of liberals. I doubt if this “Free Speech” yearbook ever addressed the issue of censorship of conservative free speech particularly when it was about scientific flaws in evolutionism.

The one area where the textbook protest has had an adverse effect upon free speech has been upon freedom to teach....One example, almost ludicrous and yet tragic, was reported by the principlal of an elementary school: ‘A teacher came up to me the other day and asked ‘What do you think? Can we defend teaching this in class?’ She was talking about a unit in biology on the asexual reproduction of mollusks (shellfish). It's really gotten that bad." It is likely that teachers in Kanawha County and throughout West Virginia have altered and changed both their teaching methods and course content for the simple reason they don’t want to incur complaints from offended parents.” 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. 43.
Aside from the questionable need to teach about shellfish reproduction on the elementary level, the example is ridiculous and pure propaganda. Also, teachers have never had an unrestricted right to teach or say anything they want in a public school classroom. What is wrong with teachers changing their course content to avoid offending parents? The children belong to the parents and the parents pay the taxes that pay the teacher!

Alice Moore clearly stated at a major textbook protest rally that she did not want ALL of the books removed. Listen at point 4:45 at

Questions about censorship:

Rob Reiner (of Castle Rock Entertainment) wants to prevent depiction of cigarette smoking in films because of the negative influence on kids. Is that censorship?

How do special interest groups (feminist, environmentalist, globalist, humanist, homosexual) all seek to incorporate their agenda into textbooks? Are there others?

Should the majority matter when it concerns school textbooks?

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.

“Censorship is another loaded word that is often misused to create a false impression rather than to express a truth. There are so many books and other materials available that some selection must be made. As surely as some books are selected others must be rejected. When is the choosing of one book and the rejection of another a legitimate selection process and when is it undesirable censorship? Too often the answer is: if you agree with the choice, it is legitimate selection; if you disagree, it is censorship. Used this way censorship becomes propaganda in the worse sense.” (pg. 6 Dec. 12, 1974)

“It may be honestly claimed that censorship rarely applies in the selection of textbooks. Censorship implies that the book is banned and its printing forbidden.” (pg. 6 Dec. 12, 1974)

In 1998 (October 11) the Charleston Gazette gave a self-described “spirited liberal” five columns (completely across the page) at the top of the page to run a condensed version of her of her memoirs (Speak to the Past: A Memoir Fat With Words)--a chapter about the Textbook War. Henry Thaxton and I separately requested to respond. I found out that Henry was involved after his brief letter was published. The complete correspondence on that mater is available to read. Henry was allowed 200 words and his article was placed in the lower corner of the page. The text wrapped around a cartoon which was about the same size as the article. The cartoon featured a set of books labeled “reading, writing, ‘rithmetic, and religion.” The headline (written by the Gazette) was also slanted. It read “Textbook Controversy Chapter Full of Venom.” Actually, Henry pointed out Calwell’s venom.

Caldwell also said that Alice Moore “Went on a rampage that had echoes of other fanatical and destructive movements—like Hitler’s fascism in Germany where they also burned books.” and the protesters “appeared to be misfits.”

On January 5, 2004 the Gazette ran a full page 1C article with five photos that allowed Caldwell to tell her life story in which she attacked Alice Moore and claimed there were “screaming crowds” at the board office who were “all so ignorant”. I was allowed a short letter-to-the-editor to respond to her statement of “being open minded, but mocking the “crazy sects” that “baptized members in a in stream”.

This action by the Gazette is simply sneaky censorship.

(T)he Board of Education adopted a set of guidelines for future textbook adoptions that, if given the interpretation obviously meant by their proponent-the anti-book Board member-would not only bar the disputed books from Kanawha County classrooms, but would proscribe the use of any language arts books, including McGuffey's Readers, and would permit very little learning. (pg. 344) Retention of the guidelines could prohibit future history texts from telling the true story of Watergatebecause that story might cause some students to question the superiority of our government to all others…(pg. 347) “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy” West Virginia: Documents in the History of a Rural-Industrial State (
That is pure hyperbole and that is putting it politely!


Books were seized during the West Virginia school book controversy and Mrs. Wood said, ‘one of the saddest days of my life was entering that great cavernous warehouse where box after box of books were piled with no one to read them. (Garland, Gregg. “Niles Teachers Hear ‘Horror Stories’ of Censorship”. Tribune Chronicle June 18, 1977: 11)
This is a statement made by Nell Wood to a group of Ohio teachers. Wood was the chairman of the committee of five white female teachers that selected the protested books. Mrs. Wood was filled with hate toward the protesters in 1974 and her hatred had not subsided in 2009. She referred to the protesters as “stupid”) in the radio documentary “The Great Textbook War” (point 47:00 at In the same program she complained that no one ever wanted to hear her opinion (point 49:45 of original version—not on the website version). That claim is disproven by this incident and others cited on page 180 of Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. This particular statement, seemingly made to obtain sympathy to this saint of anti-censorship is amusing. The context implies that there was a forceful seizure of books. Actually, cases of unopened books were picked up by maintenance workers as part of t a so-called “cooling off” period deceitfully designed to break the school attendance boycott. Alice Moore made an excellent point in a “ The board spent$300,000 on textbooks and most of them were eventually destroyed without ever being used. Boxes of books, many never opened, were gathered up all over the county and hauled off to the trash dump where they were either burned or buried. All that waste could have been avoided, if the school system had been more in touch with the community.” (Goldenseal, Summer 2012, page 65) Mrs. Wood went on to say, “We need the parents behind us to maintain the freedom of our educational system.” What malarkey! Mrs. Wood and her ilk ignored the will of the overwhelming majority of Kanawha County parents.

But from a simple plan to boycott schools until the books were banned, the Kanawha controversy escalated to a multi-county crisis... (“The Book Banners.” Newsweek 30 September 1974: 94.)
The books WERE NEVER BANNED! They were temporarily removed for review by a panel of citizens. What is wrong with that? A panel of teachers (ultimately five white women) reviewed them originally. 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.

(protesters) took exception to Sigmund Frued’s Character and Anal Eroticism, selections by Pulitzer-prizewinning Poet Gwendolyn Books and authors Dick Gregory and Eldridge Cleaver, and a profile of Poet Allen Ginsberg featuring a description of a prostitute, all of them for use as supplementary texts in high school English classes. Also attacked was a collection of myths that appeared to challenge the literal interpretation of the Bible, to be used in junior high classes. Others found an E. E. Cummings poem with lines like the one referring to pubic hair as“shocking fuzz of your electric fur” too erotic. (“Battle of the Books.” TIME September 30, 1974: 81)
Frued’s obsession with the anus was not going to contribute to the language and literary enhancement of the students. Gregory is covered on pages 180-181 and Cleaver is on page 15 of Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. Regarding how pro-bookers see high school supplementary English classes, see Public School Obscenity. The myths were for ELEMENTARY CHILDREN. See Chapter 4 of Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party for details as well as "The Books". The phrase “appeared to challenge” is the reporter’s bias. The protesters had solid arguments that the books “directly challenged” their biblical beliefs. The insertion of “literal interpretation” is a bigoted slur. As for the Cummings poem, any reasonable person should easily see what bother the protesters in 1974. Even now, most parents (of any aged government school student) would object. Amusingly, the chair woman of the teacher committee that selected the books refused to read that poem aloud at a board meeting. Audio tapes of that meeting have disappeared. Regarding Mrs. Brooks, her poem “ The Preacher Ruminates behind the Sermon” was thoroughly religious, but it is the religion of the pro-book* preachers. It depicts a god that does not exist and totally contradicts the biblical God. Can one imagine what would occur if Mrs. Brooks had wrote about Allah:

But who walks with Him?--dares to take His arm,
To slap Him on the shoulder, tweak His ear,
Buy Him a Coca-Cola or a beer,
Pooh-pooh His politics, call Him a fool?

See NOT RACISTS for how this was connected to the racism slur against the protesters.

Some parents demanded that this selection from Jump Rope Jingles and Other Useful Rhymes—a supplemental text for poor readers in junior and senior high school—be banned because it taught disrespect for authority.

I was standing on the corner
Not doing any harm.
Along came a policeman
And took me by the arm.
He took me around the corner
And he rang a little bell.
Along came a police car
And took me to my cell.

On an entirely different level, many parents protested that one excerpt from Allen Ginsberg at Columbia—supplemental reading for high school student—was obscene: “A tall, red-haired chick. She had been mainly a whore, actually, with very expensive johns, who would pay her a hundred dollars a shot. And she was a very lively chick who took a lot of pot.” (“Back to the Boycott.” TIME November 4, 1974: 88-90)
magazine could easily compete for the Most Biased Media prize of 1974-75. Ginsberg was a drug using, subversive, sodomy promoting radical. By printing some of the objectionable material and then trying to diminish it with statements (sometimes false--such as those cited above for the article “Battle of the Books.” TIME September 30, 1974: 81 ) like “supplemental.” Does anyone doubt that such books would only be seen by those “poor readers”? Better yet, why were poor readers (likely poor financially and often black) be subjected to demeaning “literature”? Oh, it may be a matter of opinion, but a large majority of Kanawha County citizens had (and many—hopefully a majority--still do as of 2012) the opinion the poem was disrespectful to police officers.


Mrs. Moore asked that a final vote be delayed. Her initial concern, she said later, was that the new books might follow a recent trend in treating certain slang and dialect as acceptable usage—one of a number of types of relativism to which she opposed. (Trillin, Calvin. “U.S. Journal: Kanawha County, West Virginia.” New Yorker Sept. 30, 1974: 119)
This is a rare case of a reporter getting correct the original objection raised by school board member Alice Moore. After that, he gets back into the narrow-minded liberal groove. However, I wonder what the reaction would have been had that been the only problem Mrs. Moore found. What is wrong with expecting the schools to teach correct grammar? How in the world is that desire related to relativism (that there is no absolute truth)? This demonstrates the typical media bias poured upon the protesters.

Again, Trillin put in some truth and ruined it with tripe:...Mrs. Moore began making the books available to people around the county who might be expected to share her views. In June, at a noisy school-board meeting attended by a thousand protesters—after eliminating eight books that contained most of the passages parents had found offensive.
This contradicts the often spouted claim that the protesters did not read the books. Mrs. Moore took the books where she was invited. Her goal was to inform the citizens, not recruit a following. But, so what if she had taken the books to like-minded people? The fact is that she did her job. It was like-minded people who elected her. Trillin seemed to take in stride (or intentionally ignore) the astounding fact of a thousand (probably a low estimate) people attending a school board meeting.

A third example of how Trillin tripped over the truth is when he wrote ...among fundamentalist Christians opposition grew over the summer as the books were displayed in church halls and roadside parks around the county.
This was followed by a quote from local liberal and Christian mocker newspaper column: “Bawl-and-stomp preachers, who must feel something like nymphomaniacs at the Legion convention, cannot conceal their pleasure at being sought out and questioned for television audiences by men wearing neckties.”
There are nine YouTube videos such as this one (Textbook War Video II) that display the demeanor of the preacher protesters. The main leaders suffered immensely for their stance as detailed in Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party. There certainly was no pleasure in that. Regarding the local columnist’s article, if a picture is worth a thousand words, the video is worth a million words and they all are all “liar!”

...the protesters brought up the objections about foul language and anti-Americanism and Eldridge Cleaver usually heard in such controversies. But they also objected to implications and nuances that would have escaped parents not brought up to believe in the Bible as the Holy Word of God who gives everlasting life to the saved and deals harshly with sinners . (Trillin, Calvin. “U.S. Journal: Kanawha County, West Virginia.” New Yorker Sept. 30, 1974: 120)
Trillin admitted and glossed over the profanity and anti-Americanism in the books. His point (although certainly unintentional) about the nuances is profound. This WAS the beginning of an attack upon traditional Christianity and history has proven the protesters were correct. Trillin continued: They objected to a third grade text containing a story in which a little boy who cheats a store-keeper out of a penny is afflicted with a bad conscience—the affliction that fits such a crime in Cabin Creek being swift retribution.
I doubt it Trillin knew anyone from Cabin Creek very well and he certainly had no objective basis to determine how those folks would discipline their children. A few months after Trillin’s piece appeared, Jesse Stuart, the author of that story (“A Penny’s Worth of Character”) said that the editors had cut out the part of the story where the boy’s mother tells him that “cheating is not right.” “I was furious,” Stuart said. “That’s not the aim of the story at all. It has a moral.” “It’s underhanded piracy in editing.” The book suggested classroom discussion (third graders!) asking students to “tell if there ever is a time when cheating is right.” The protesters were perfect in their prognostication. More from this section of Trillin’s article: They objected to a teachers’ manual suggesting that students be asked to compare the myth of Androcles and the Lion and the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den—an implication that the tale of Daniel might be a myth as well.
As a retired educator I say that the teacher would have followed the manual and the teacher’s bias would be brought out. Even if I am wrong, young children do not need to be engaged in that kind of discussion. Another thing--why would the Bible story even be mentioned? Why wasn’t the Bible story used in the book? Trillin closed the subject with: School officials said that he passages reprinted in handbills distributed by the protesters were taken out of context, which, although it was true, didn’t sound like much of an argument to fundamentalists. Evil is evil, they said, in whatever context.
Full context cannot be used for leaflets. The entire works were (as Trillin admitted) made available to anyone who wanted to read them. Last, evil IS evil, isn’t it?

“There are only two ways to go with regard to moral questions,” she (Alice Moore) explained. “You can either take a stand for eternal values, or you take a stand for situation ethics.” There is no doubt where this sentinel stands. The “Liberals,” she went on, “want to teach our children that there are no eternal values, that there are no right and wrong answers . . . . That’s totally opposed to our moral and religious convictions. That’s what this whole debate is about.” The whole matter boils down to: “Who has the right to form the values and the moral and religious convictions of the child—the parent or the state, through the schools.” (Hoar, William P. “Parents Revolt—When Textbooks are Propaganda.” American Opinion Nov. 1974: 9-10.
Mr. Hoar is probably the only conservative writer quoted on these pages. His comments are insightful.

Other comments by Mr. Hoar:

Seeking better to understand what was really happening, we interviewed Elmer Fike of Nitro, West Virginia, who is president of Fike Chemicals and a columnist for several local newspapers including the Kanawha Valley Leader. We found Mr. Fike’s comments instructive: “I object to this literature because I see very little in it that is inspiring or uplifting. On the contrary it appears to attack the social values that make up civilization...As we left his office, Mr. Fike asked rhetorically: “How do you compromise? You either go with subversive, bad literature, or you don’t.” (p. 8)

He (Charles Quigley) put it simply, in a single sentence: “God has given us the right to protect our young.” (p. 11)

While it is true that many of the devout and worried parents who are protesting do not have anywhere near the education and wealth boasted by many of the “progressives” pushing the radicalism. They do have character and courage, and they have read in their Bibles where it says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (p. 13)

Liberals are wise enough (in their own eyes) to be censors. They banned the book A Birthday Cake for George Washington because it had a happy talented slave as the main character.


“We must keep in mind that these particular language arts texts are perceived by the protesters as simply one piece of an entire puzzle. Other pieces, such as the current movement, nationally, in the direction of sex education, indeed all of the pieces, find their mutual relationship in this larger picture…It is in this context that the following words of Reverend Graley when he was being carted off to jail, are to be read. He told the crowd that democracy was being ‘trampled under our feet right here today…To me this is the darkest day I ever seen in West Virginia or America.’”
McNearney, Clayton L. “The Kanawha Textbook Controversy.” Religious Education 70, no.5 (1975). 529-531

“The parents also argue that if it is unconstitutional for their own brand of religion to be taught and to permeate the atmosphere of the school system then it is equally inappropriate and illegal for the philosophy of humanistic relativism to be taught there.”
McNearney, Clayton L. “The Kanawha Textbook Controversy.” Religious Education 70, no.5 (1975). 534

From a letter-to-the-editor: “‘My contention is that if you can’t have prayer or mention God in schools, then he shouldn’t be mocked either.’…More helpful, perhaps, are comments like the following from one Kanawha County school teacher who opposed the texts. ‘If educators are to live up to the intellectual level professed the past few months it’s time we got busy and selected or developed textbooks that are acceptable to the school system’s supposed position of neutrality.’”
McNearney, Clayton L. “The Kanawha Textbook Controversy.” Religious Education 70, no.5 (1975). 535

“The following guidelines have been set forth by the protesters. Unacceptable textbooks are those which contain
-Any request for information either verbal or written, that constitutes invasion of privacy.
-Any statement of question that is derogatory in any matter to any ethnic, cultural, or religious group.
-A preoccupation with subject matter of a cruel, depressing, violent or amoral nature.
­-The use of profanity, either written or spoken.
-Photographs or written material depicting disrespect of authority figures of a family, civic or religious nature.
-Any question, comment or photograph that can be classified as a treatment of situatin ethics.”
McNearney, Clayton L. “The Kanawha Textbook Controversy.” Religious Education 70, no.5 (1975). 535-536
What is wrong with those?
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.

I served on several textbook selection committees. We eliminated whole series that did not meet our standards. By the logic of the Textbook Protester’s critics we were censors and so is/was every textbook selection committee including the one that selected the books that were protested in 1974.


In 2015 Marshall University Libraries and the American Civil Liberties Union had a program to observe “Banned Books Week.” The event was a vicious attack on the Protesters that included this whopper: “The protest sparked the banning of books throughout the entire United States.” I challenge anyone to prove it.
(Banned Books Week: The Great Textbook War Lecture by Kelsie Lively , reporter (for the student newspaper) September 30, 2015

 For more about Marshall, see “Marshall Exposed.”

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

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

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

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