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Textbook War

Textbook Protest Public School Curriculum

By Karl Priest (Last update: 2-5-2012)

I found out about a curriculum that (over a period of several months) had been developed for West Virginia public schools when someone sent Avis Hill a link to an Associated Press inflammatory press release* on 14 November 2011. It was obviously a stealth attempt to produce a curriculum without Protester input. I issued a press release** on 16 November and prepared a statement*** for the media which I provided to the only reporter (Morgantown Dominion-Post) who showed up for my press conference. It is unknown if he did a story.

After announcing my presence to the West Virginia University staff member I was cordially treated. To my request to speak, I was told “no”, but assured I would be introduced. To my surprise, I was allowed to address the gathering.

My follow-up emails to the WVU professor heading up the curriculum team follow the statement.

It remains to be seen if any of my suggestions will be incorporated into the Great Textbook War curriculum for West Virginia public schools. The facts are that my book Protester Voices--the 1974 Textbook Tea Party is censored and suppressed by those who want to hide the facts about the heroes who stood up for God, children, and country in 1974.

This page will be updated as events unfold. Typos are corrected when found.


18 November 2011

Date: 18 November 20011

To: Dr. Joy Saab and Curriculum Team Members

From: Karl Priest

Subject: Textbook War Curriculum Suggestions

Dear Dr. Saab:

The Curriculum Team and your staff did a wonderful job in setting up and carrying out the Thursday night reception. A special compliment goes to Ashley Stinnet (spelling?).

Thank you so very much for allowing me to speak during the 4:30 session. I apologize that my off-the-cuff remarks failed to compliment the teachers for the hard work they did in preparing the curriculum.

It was most gratifying to be received in a respectful and professional matter. I have much experience with university professors who are aggressively hostile to someone with my point of view. Your demeanor was most refreshing. I am providing you a copy of the remarks I provided to the press (see attachment “Statement by Karl Priest”). Those remarks were in response to the press release that accused the protesters of censorship.

As we discussed, I am providing suggestions about how the program can truly reflect the viewpoint of the protesters. Admittedly, I want to persuade students to agree with me. Those opposed to me have the same goal and they have produced an overwhelming amount of literature to argue their side. I am quite willing to let students study the matter and decide for themselves. However, students cannot think critically about the matter if they do not have a fair representation of the protesters’ story.

Before I make four suggestions regarding the protester viewpoint, I have one that is neutral. Mr. Bumgardner’s display is a antastic work. It thoroughly covers the protest in an objective way. I am amazed at how he compiled his display in the four panels. It is almost a work of art. He informed me of the difficulty of transporting the display. I suggest that the display become put into a virtual 3D format. Using computer technology (similar to Google maps and vacation rental tours) students could enter a room and see the display in the near distance. By standing at a corner their view would be of two walls at 45 degree angles. They could “walk” closer and easily see and read any section of the panel. Ultimately, I hope the physical display becomes a permanent part of the Culture Center museum.

Now, my suggestions in no particular order.

1. In October 2011 a program was held (see attachment “Alice Moore Recipient”) in which all of the living members of the protest spoke and passed the baton on to the next generation. A video of that event is being developed. This video should be part of the resources.

2. The Washington Times article about the award should be part of the resources (see attachment “Times Article”).

3. The students should be assigned to take the main criticisms of the textbook protesters and evaluate how I deal with those criticisms in my book Protester Voices.

4. A study guide should be developed that requires students to compare and contrast Protester Voices with any one of the many books that are critical of the protesters. I will help with that if requested.Please be informed that i f the five high schools that are piloting the program are unable to afford purchasing classroom sets of Protester Voices, then Avis Hill and I will donate complete sets to each school. We would require that a written statement be made that students will have easy access to the books and that the books will not be trashed (or burned) when the curriculum is no longer in use.If other ideas come to mind, I will forward them. Perhaps the team members have some of their own.

Please respond with the decision of the Curriculum Team to each suggestion.

Thank you.

Note: Team members did not receive a copy from me. Copies were sent to individuals who I am keeping informed. 18 November 2011

Hello Karl,

Thank you for your kind comments. It was nice to meet with you and to share ideas yesterday. I will share these comments with the team as we begin further editing of the curriculum. Once we have considered these suggestions, I will update you on our work. Everyone's schedules are pretty intense for the next month, so it may take a little while.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Best Regards, Joy Joy Faini Saab, Ed.D.
Chair, Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies, Social & Cultural Foundations, Educational Leadership Studies
Director, Office for Diversity & Global Initiatives


28 November 2011 Dear Dr. Saab and Curriculum Team Members:

Below are additional ideas for incorporating the protester point-of-view into the Great Textbook War curriculum.

I welcome questions and would be happy to assist in developing the ideas further.

Before I list the suggestions please allow me to address three issues.

First, I understand your trepidation at my appearance at the curriculum launch ceremony. I hope that you have now realized that folks identified as Kanawha County Textbook Protesters are not the narrow-minded, anti-education, fanatics that we have been portrayed as since 1974. When I read (on the WVU website and in different news reports) that “West Virginia University leads the fight against educational censorship with the launch of the Great Textbook War curriculum for area high schools” I was both dismayed and irritated. Not so much personally, but largely because it was more of the same accusations against people that I hold dear. Would you be outraged if people slurred and mocked your friends? Your personal integrity would surely require you to object. That is why I attended the reception. I was pleased that I was not forced to proceed as I have had to do previously in reaction to almost constant attacks against the protesters.

Second, I want to explain something with the assurance to you that no insult is intended. I have observed that people who even know about the Textbook War are distributed into what is an obvious Bell Curve. To the left is the small group who are willingly ignorant. They know the event occurred, but do not wish to know much of anything else. To the right extreme are the people who are malicious zealots. They know a lot about the Protest, but have an agenda to make sure the truth is not portrayed. The bulk of the curve consists of open-minded people with various degrees of comprehension of facts mixed with misinformation, exaggeration, and blatant lies. The distribution of a group consisting only of educators would reveal a sharp “hump” filled with the huge majority who have (by intent, oversight, or laziness) formed the opinion that the protesters were censors, stupid, and religious fanatics. To the left would be the amount of those who have no interest and to the right would be the minuscule number who (whether they agree or not) know that the aforementioned innuendos are false regarding the overwhelming majority of protesters. I have no idea where any of you fall on that graph.

In Chapter 20 of Protester Voices: The 1974 Textbook Tea Party I cite a conclusion derived from data obtained for The Big Sort Why Clustering of Like-minded America is Tearing us Apart (by Bill Bishop) which discloses that those who are liberals (and the main critics of the protesters) tend to have a narrow range of associations with people who have worldviews different than their own. Another book (not cited in Protester Voices) is Bernard Goldberg's Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News . Goldberg’s premise (according to Pat Sajak) is that media bias is “based on the sameness of worldview caused by social, intellectual, educational and professional inbreeding. These are folks who travel in the same circles, go to the same parties, talk to the same people, compare their ideas to people with the same ideas.” I think that applies to the academic realm as well. Narrow-minded thinking will not well serve the students of West Virginia. That brings me to my final point.

The third thing for you to consider is that even though you have made professional and meticulous efforts to produce a comprehensive curriculum you are limited to the immense amount of propaganda that has been accumulating for 37 years.

Besides intentional bias, there are also other issues for you to consider. For example, one of the resources listed on the curriculum website is “ The great Textbook War Revisited ” which a WVU professor presented to the Southern History of Education Society. The paper contains several historical facts—some objectively presented and some slanted against the protesters—and some glaring factual errors. I would be happy to point them out.

The night of the curriculum launch I spoke to a WVU grad student who is a professor at another West Virginia institute of higher learning. He had prepared a paper for the history class he was taking and sent it to me for comment. His paper also contained serious factual errors, but also reeked of prejudice against the protesters. He quoted renowned atheist James Haught as if Haught was an unbiased observer. He relied heavily upon scholars Carol Mason and James Moffett whose agendas are revealed in Protester Voices. Another scholar he used was Catherine Candor who mainly just reported news events, but still had a bias as disclosed in Protester Voices.

Those subjective scholars are simply a sample of the type of “history” that students will learn if they do not have access to a source that provides a counter argument and facts that rebut and correct the errors and attacks prepared by biased individuals and perpetuated by unsuspecting researchers and teachers.

Anyone who sincerely wants to study the Great Textbook War will be a victim of those who recorded it inaccurately. Until Protester Voices was published, the protester side of the protest was nearly nonexistent. The protest cannot be adequately studied without carefully considering the protester viewpoint and the only source for that information of which I am aware is Protester Voices.

The goal should be for West Virginia students to consider the controversy. I hope the emphasis will not be to perpetuate the propaganda. The statement on the WVU site and widely distributed by the Associated Press set a bad precedent for your curriculum launch.

The five pilot schools will clear a path that other teachers will follow. I am fully aware that when the classroom door is shut the teacher is the key to what is disseminated. I proved that with my lesson on evolutionism. However, assuming that a teacher (no matter their personal beliefs) will (as I did) present objective facts and allow the students to critically evaluate those facts.

Listing Protester Voices as a resource is a small step in the right direction. If students are not allowed full access and encouragement to take advantage of that opportunity then the curriculum is a sham and is good only for indoctrination of innocent young people. That statement may sting, but it is the reality.

Using Protester Voices in a public school classroom will not violate the Establishment Clause. The Protest (like most of American history) cannot be understood without considering religion. Both sides of the Great Textbook War were motivated by their personal religious convictions. Those who opposed the protesters camouflaged their religious zeal using the false accusations of “censorship” against the protesters. The opposition was led by a minister and several ministers aligned with him and were actively involved.

Following are some ideas that would enhance the experience of West Virginia students who study the Great Textbook War. I can develop them into lesson plans, assignments, worksheet, study guides, or whatever the current catchword is being used in professional education. Some are on an Advanced Placement level although any of them can be made age or ability appropriate. They can be correlated with West Virginia Content Standards. References to page numbers in Protester Voices can be provided.


1. So far I have been unable to open items from the Great Textbook War Curriculum webpage, but I see evidence that at least one suggestion (regarding other types of protesters) has been considered.

2. The items are roughly grouped into categories.

Compare (tactics-violence-effect of outsiders) the Textbook protesters to the protesters of the Vietnam War era, Mountain Top Removal, Civil Rights, G-20, and Occupy Wall Street.

List the incidents of violence during the Great Textbook War. Who or what was directlyaffected in each incident? How did the incidents affect the Protest? Determine the property damage and compare it to incidents of school vandalism today. Figure the monetary damage using the value of a dollar in 1974 and today.

Explain why the protesters claim they have been misrepresented by the media and academic researchers.

What was the Business and Professional People’s Alliance for Better Textbooks? Why do you think this group would not be of interest to some who write about the protest?

Were any teachers aligned with the protesters?

Define censorship. Can citizens censor?

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?

The book Protesters Voices states that the Protest was about religion. To what is the author referring?

List the three main religious tenets of each side. How could those religious convictions have been blended into a ompromise?

What values do you hold dear? Which of those would you abandon or alter in order to compromise with someone who holds opposite values?

Contact someone who participated in the Protest. Develop a list of questions to ask them.

Thank you for considering my suggestions.


Karl Priest


A Michigan friend of mine sent some questions for the curriculum team when he saw the curriculum launch announcement. I list them here for your information. I do not expect answers.

1) How can you claim to be fighting censorship if you censor what should be included in your curriculum? (He is referring to Protester Voices.)

2) How can you "help students think critically" and "to draw their own conclusions" if you only present one side of the issue, and present the Textbook War as nothing but "censorship"?

3) Are the students going to learn that books on creation science are censored (banned, excluded, ignored) from school libraries?

4) Are they going to learn that people have been censored and even fired from their jobs for publishing or supporting the publication of materials on Intelligent Design?

5) Are the students going to be told that the books that were asked to be removed contained language that is still also not allowed on broadcast TV?

6) Are you going to ask the students, and the student's parents, how schools expect parents to "be involved" in their children's education, when school officials won't accept their input even when they are so upset by what's being taught?

7) Are you going to teach your students that education should be left entirely in the hands of "professionals" and "experts," and they should believe whatever their teachers tell them and nothing their parents say to the contrary, no matter what? Because the schools certainly acted as if that was the way things should be in this case.


29 November 2011

Hello Karl,

Thank you for your careful study of our work thus far. Your suggestions and questions are thoughtfully constructed. I appreciate that you forwarded your friend's questions about the curriculum. It would be helpful if you could clarify with him/her that some of his/her assumptions may change once he/she has had a chance to really study the curricular elements as you have. Our team continues to work on the further refinement of the curricular elements, including a way in which practicing teachers may contribute additional ideas and enter into a peer review of the elements. Please watch for these developments as we work and as we continue to take your suggestions into consideration.

Best Regards,


12 December 2011

I sent the curriculum team an email about The Tribes of America. I did not link to the page (which had not been posted), but the email was almost identical to what was eventually placed on this website.No response was received or expected.


17 December 2011

I sent the curriculum team an email with a link to Books and Bombs: Ideological conflict and the Schools—a Case Study of the Kanawha County Book Protest”.


18 December 2011

Dr. Saab thanked me.


5 January 2012

Dear Dr. Saab and the Curriculum Team:

For your information I am sending some excerpts from a compilation of essays I found at the WV Archives.

Elmer Fike was president of the protester group The Business and Professional People's Alliance for Better Textbooks."

I think Fike's entire material should be available as part of the curriculum.

Thank you for taking a look.


“Textbook Controversy in Perspective and other Related Essays” by Elmer Fike (1974-1975)

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

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

“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)

“When the KKK came to town, it received far more publicity than it deserved. Compare the coverage: The Imperial Wizard got a big picture and a long story. When Max Rafferty, the past superintendent of the California school system and dean of a prestigious college spoke at our Alliance hearing, he got about two lines. A one-day meeting by the Kan was in the paper for days, but our three-day hearings were barely covered. (pg. 9 January 30, 1975)

“One wonders to what extent Ms. Lauri Wynn of the NEA promoted racism. Until she appeared at a NEA rally there had been no suggestion of racism in the issue…” (pg. 9 January 30, 1975)

Mr. Fike referred more than once to the 1972 book Trousered Apes: Sick Literature in a Sick Society by Marshall University professor Duncan Williams. Dr. Williams wrote, “We are teaching savagery and are naively appalled at the success of our instruction."

End Fike's comments. Following is from Karl:

The protesters predicted something like the following was coming:

Survey: Teachers often feel threatened by bullies (January 17, 2008)
Roughly 58 percent of teachers, instructional aides, bus drivers and school personnel also believe that student misbehavior in classrooms is a ‘significant problem.’ It's a common occurrence for teachers to be cursed,'' said AFT-WV President Judy Hale…More than a third of teachers, 36 percent, say they lose 20 percent of instructional time every week to disruptive behavior -- a loss that amounts to one day a week.

Teacher compensation claims include student violence (May 6, 2009)
Student violence accounted for seven of the 43 worker's compensation claims filed by Kanawha County school employees in January through March, according to school system records…

Teen violence (May 12, 2010)
School fights...More frequent--- and in many cases, more ferocious, than ever before. It's gotten to a point where some teachers said they were afraid to step into some school fights.



Thanks for keeping us in mind Karl!



12 January 2012

Dear Dr. Saab and Curriculum Team:

Following are more items that those who wish to propagandize the protesters do not want widely know. The source of the second item is a WVU (in 1976) professor.

Thank you for making this material (and other information I have provided) known to the students who study the Great Textbook War curricula.



“Text Advisors’ Choices running Into Trouble,” Charleston Daily Mail, Feb. 6, 1975 (snips)

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.


“Cultural Revolution in Appalachia.” Jack Welch, associate professor in the Department of English at West Virginia University), The Educational Forum, Nov. 1976

The (newspaper and television) coverage did little to help one understand the root causes of the problem leading to this latest struggle in the mountains, and the issue seemed to bog down under the headings of “censorship” and “fundamentalist religion,” but the issue is not as simple as that.” pg. 21

Censorship is not an issue in Kanawha County. There is complete freedom to buy and 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. hat 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. pgs. 21-22

Nor was the problem based on racial tensions in the region. pg. 22

He concluded that it was a class struggle.

On page 25 he stated that we must look at the vital area of Appalachian folk religion… which is essential to understanding the textbook controversy.

(O)ne is tempted to draw a comparison between the single action of Mrs. Alice Moore…with the single action of Mrs. Rosa parks…Both actions were initiated by women, both precipitated repercussions in communities that were culturally ready for change, and both found fervent leadership among religious leaders in the communities. pg. 28

He pointed out that on November 5, 1974 the Charleston Gazette devoted “a whole page of ridicule” by taking a 500 page document that dissident members of the textbook review committee prepared, and after openly confessing that “this is not meant as a carefully balanced representation of the 500-plus page report” the Gazette went on to draw ridiculous cartoons ridiculing the taste and even the religion of the dissidents. Such a treatment would be frankly impossible to imagine in this newspaper if the dissidents had been black or some other minority group. However, the continual barrage of editorial criticism, slanted character portraits of the principals in the controversy, and cartoons show a blindness to the import of the events that are transpiring in their own city that only class prejudice can account for. pgs 28-29



Thanks Karl.


18 January 2012

Dear Dr. Saab and Curriculum Team:

I hope that the teachers have made use of the material I have provided in a series of emails. I trust that the teachers have incorporated into student resources and lesson plans the material I have sent. Unless something highly unusual occurs this will be my last attempt to convey information to the curriculum team about the Great Textbook War. You and the piloting teachers should have realized that the matter is complicated. Two University of Tennessee professors concluded that, “The textbook dispute in Kanawha County, West Virginia is an intellectual puzzle that challenges the sociological imagination.” (Page, Ann L. & Clelland, Donald A. “The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of the Politics of Life Style Concern.” Social Forces Sept. 1978: 267.)

Granted, I am not objective. No one connected to the event is totally objective. However, I provide documentation with the intent of historical accuracy. My goal is to make sure history records that the protesters were not violet, ignorant, racist, religious fanatics seeking to burn books. Of course, people who fit into one or more of those categories were in the protester ranks. Any protester with any of those positions represented the minuscule exceptions. I can argue that the same slurs can be attached to those whom I call “pro-bookers” in my book. I am willing to discuss the point with anyone who disputes it. Besides my book, I now have a Powerpoint presentation and a webpage dedicated to documenting the lies, exaggerations, factual omissions, and historical errors used to perpetuate propaganda against the protesters. I am available to speak before a classroom of students also.

I cannot fault you and the teachers if you have believed the protesters were any of the names I listed above. Trey’s documentary was the closest to objectivity that has ever been done, but (and I have explained to him why) it still was slanted somewhat toward the pro-bookers. Stan’s panel board is excellently done, but I have not analyzed it meticulously for balance. What represents balance? The typical student will be impacted by the screaming (non-1974 individual) at the beginning of the documentary, the photos of Klan members on the panel display, and the often touted undocumented “nigger books” sign that is frequently cited.

Dr. Saab, you made a statement that I wish would come to pass when you said, “The curriculum allows students to draw their own conclusions.” There is only one conclusion students can draw unless the curriculum team makes a concerted effort to provide them with ALL OF THE STORY. In reality, students will not get the complete history of the Great Textbook War unless they have access to the protester side of the story. The overwhelming majority of documentation available to students is from newspaper articles (which mostly reported the attention grabbing news out of multiple incidents of peaceful activity), an aggressively atheistic newspaperman (James Haught), and three scholars (James Moffett, Carol Mason, and Catherine Candor-Chandler) with arguable agendas opposed to the protesters. It is a rare student who will study the matter deeply and one who does will be victimized (as even mature researchers have) by the sources just mentioned. Students will likely come to a false conclusion about the protesters.

It was academically correct for you to link to my book and website on the Great Textbook War Curriculum Wiki. I sincerely thank you for doing it since I am used to battling against the censorship of the protester side of the story. Unfortunately, it is debatable how many students will make use of the links.

Now, and I say this with respect, the curriculum team is faced with being what the protesters have falsely been accused of—being censors. The protesters agreed that parents could choose what books their children could read. It is verifiable that the protesters were instrumental in developing the opt-out/opt-in choice for parents. Avis Hill and I have offered to donate copies of my book to each piloting school (where parents could sign permission slips), but we received no takers. That amounts to stealth censorship.

Therefore, I am asking each school to request copies of Protester Voices and make them easily available to students who wish to read it. Just provide the number needed and an address. If I do not hear from anyone, then I must conclude that Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party has been censored. If my logic is in error I welcome correction.





Hello Karl,

Thank you for your generous offer. I checked with ____ and Capital High already has copies of your book. So, if you could send a class set of 25 copies to John Marshall High School [care of _____] and Morgantown High School [care of _____], the team would appreciate it.

I assume further work on the curriculum will resume if another grant is procured.

Best Regards,




Dear Dr. Saab:

Wonderful! Those students will truly have a chance to hear both sides.

I have been doing a lot of reading since my last email. I highly recommend:

Kincheloe, Joe L. Understanding the New Right and Its Impact on Education. Bloomington, IN.: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1983.

I don't want to appear rude, but I am curious about a couple of things.

(1) What about Grafton and Wheeling Park?

(2) Also, I am perplexed that Capital has copies of my book. Over a year ago I appeared before the Kanawha County Board of Education and made an offer of sets of my book for AP classes. I was told to provide enough copies for one to be sent to each high school. After that I was stonewalled and no further information was provided. I know of no book orders since then other than single copies going to various individuals throughout the country. I'd like to know where the school obtained the books and how many the school has on hand.

Capital would be an idea place to invite me and other primary sources to speak. Please send a mailing address for John Marshall and Morgantown.

Thank you,



. --------------------------------------------

2 February 2012

Dear Dr. Saab and curriculum team:

I hope all is well. Since I have not heard from you I will mail the books to these addresses which I obtained from a Google search: ...

My concerns about the other schools, expressed in my email of 26 January 2012 remain.

I am currently conducting an extensive review of literature. When finish I will have read well over thirty papers and articles. Also I will have read pertinent parts of 3-4 books. What I have discovered is that the early researches relied heavily on news reports. Those reports can easily be argued as biased to various degrees, but it is indisputable that those reports (98% would be a reasonable estimate) were about the aberrations of the protest. Then, as the years passed, the researchers read and build upon each other’s papers. There were a few scholars who actually READ THE PEOPLE who were protesters. The researchers that got to know the protesters discovered that the protesters were overwhelmingly good people. As a result, those researchers recorded objective compliments. Unfortunately, those statements are lost in the overwhelming amount of criticism. Cowan and Kincheloe are two of the few examples of researchers, journalists, or writers who took the time to get to know the people who were protesters. The prime example of that rare person is Trey Kay. None of them aligned themselves with the protesters’ worldview (Trey still has a chance) and none of them were completely complimentary, but their eyes were opened.

I remain ready to assist the curriculum team in providing the COMPLETE story to the students of West Virginia.




On February 2-3 Dr. Saab and I exchanged some brief emails in which she explained her delay in responding and answered my questions about who was teaching at which school. She concluded with: Future plans will rely on continued funding. I'm not sure who has the ability to create the proposal for funding at this time. Have you considered writing a grant?

To which I replied: No plans for a grant for me. My radical support for the protesters would likely make that a useless endeavor. It seems to me that the curriculum team has done enough to make it possible for any teacher who wishes to address the subject should be able to do so. I can't give away anymore sets of my book, but will provide discounted copies to teachers who contact me. Thank you for your kind efforts to assist me.

It appears that Dr. Saab is a sincere woman of integrity. The two teachers who requested a set of books are courageous—IF THEY LET STUDENTS USE THE BOOKS. Only time will tell what becomes of the Great Textbook War Curriculum. Will it be a major means of brain-washing students in the taxpayer supported “public” schools or will it be a paradigm shift toward a truly open-minded and truthful account of what is arguably one of the top five non-disaster historical events in the state of West Virginia?

The first line of the curriculum press release* read “West Virginia high schools will learn about educational censorship.” The problem is that those students will be unknowingly misinformed (even brain-washed), due to censorship of which they are unaware, unless they are presented with a clear presentation of the protesters’ position. If events occur, I will post them.


*Press Release (14 November 2011) by the Associated Press

Both Charleston newspapers had refused a request to cover the Textbook Protest Truth Program but they had no problem releasing the AP story. A longer version of the following ran in the falsely conservative Charleston Daily Mail.

Five W.Va. high schools to study Textbook War of 1974


Five West Virginia high schools will learn about educational censorship and how to fight it through a new traveling exhibit about the Kanawha County Textbook War of 1974.

West Virginia University helped develop the curriculum. Morgantown, Grafton, John Marshall, Wheeling Park and Capital high schools are set to use it.

WVU's College of Human Resources and the West Virginia Humanities Council will host a public reception to celebrate its launch Thursday in Morgantown.

In 1974, controversy over textbooks being adopted by the Kanawha County Board of Education led to protests by parents and community members angry that taxpayers had helped fund use of the books.

Those disputes escalated to strikes and violence. The curriculum features multimedia components, including a radio documentary by Trey Kay offering the various perspectives of participants.

**Press Release (16 November 2011) By Karl Priest


WVU's Got Censorship

West Virginia University claims to lead "the fight against educational censorship with the launch of the Great Textbook War curriculum for area high schools," but the truth is that WVU's College of Human Resources Office for Diversity and Global Initiatives is engaging in blatant censorship.

A West Virginia retired teacher, Karl Priest, will hold a press conference to reveal the left-wing liberal duplicity behind the curriculum which is intended to brain-wash students in public schools.

Dr. Joy Saab, director of the WVU Office for Global Initiatives and Diversity will says, "“The cultural war is still alive and well today...It’s important for teachers to be aware of this censorship and history to help students think critically about what they are reading."  (  See below.

Priest agrees with Saab about the cultural war, but will provide evidence that her side is fighting a war of terrorism on the minds of students.

Priest will hold his press conference at 3:00 p.m. on November 17 before the reception to launch the curriculum begins at 3:30 p.m. in Allen Hal at WVU.

Contact Karl Priest at ...

***Statement by Karl Priest November 17, 2011

Since 1974 the Kanawha County Textbook protesters have been mocked and maligned by the media, academia, and left-wingers. The methods used involve a mix of misinformation, omitted facts, exaggerations, and blatant lies.

Finally, in 2009 Trey Kay produced a documentary which came close to presenting a fair and balanced factual report of the event that launched the cultural war in which we are still engaged. Mr. Kay suffered some harsh criticism from the left-wing for daring to portray the protesters as the good people they were. That same year the Kanawha Valley Historical and Preservation Society provided a forum at the State Culture Center that was truly objective. The good thing about the curriculum that is being launched today is that it is built upon those two works.

Unfortunately, West Virginia University’s College of Human Resources Office for Diversity and Global Initiatives exposed its prejudice by proudly proclaiming “West Virginia University leads the fight against educational censorship with the launch of the Great Textbook War curriculum for area high schools.” (1) It is obvious that WVU has already condemned the protesters as censors.

Censorship is defined as “the suppression of speech or other public communication by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.” (2) By definition, the protesters were not censors. What were they engaged in?The Kanawha County Textbook Protesters, as an overwhelmingly whole, were good people. Honest folks. The kind of neighbors anyone would love to have. Their leaders were not the demons that the left-wing wants to portray. Alice Moore is a bright and articulate woman who can embarrass a room full of liberals in a debate. The preachers who became the best known were cut from the same cloth as the preachers who helped establish our great country.

The Kanawha County Textbook Protesters loved their children and wanted to protect them—not just from physical harm, but from moral and spiritual devastation. They were the indisputable majority of Kanawha County citizens. That fact is established by the huge amount (70% at a low minimum) that officially refused to allow their young children to use the objectionable books. That fact is also established by Alice Moore’s easy re-election after the protest was over.

There is only one source that provides the truth of the textbook protest because it is written by the protesters. My book (Protester Voices—the 1974 Textbook Tea Party) has a chapter written by Alice Moore and individual chapters written by each of the five famous preachers. It also has a chapter that has sections written by other protest participants—a parent, a student, a coal miner, a mother, and others including a non-protester teacher who came to realize (from being close to those who want to slur the protesters) that she was wrong! Protester Voices also deals with the common charges of (besides censorship) racism and violence.

On my website (3), I have documented how Protester Voices has been censored and suppressed—including by West Virginia University. For WVU and the teachers who developed this curriculum to not make Protester Voices unambiguously available to public school students is an obvious form of censorship--just done in a sly way.

I was told that the developers of the Textbook War curriculum had a copy of Protester Voices on hand many months ago when they were working. How they neglected to confer with me (a retired West Virginia teacher) is a mystery. Dr. Joy Saab (the director of the WVU Office for Global Initiatives and Diversity) told me in an email this week that she wished she would have thought about including me. In response to my question as to how she and the curriculum team plan to make sure the protester side is fairly represented to the public school students of West Virginia she responded with, “ We are most concerned about this aspect.”

I am going to take the initiative and provide an opportunity for the curriculum team to correct an egregious error and dispose of Dr. Saab’s dilemma.

I suggest that the students be assigned to take the main criticisms of the textbook protesters and evaluate how I deal with those criticisms in Protester Voices.

Also, I will donate my professional expertise in developing a study guide that compares and contrasts Protester Voices with any one of the many books that are critical of the protesters. That would provide an opportunity for students to truly “think critically” as WVU would have us believe is the goal.

If the five high schools that are piloting the program are unable to afford purchasing classroom sets of Protester Voices, then Avis Hill and I will donate complete sets to each school. We would require that a written statement be made that students will have easy access to the books and that the books will not be trashed (or burned) when the curriculum is no longer in use.

Now, let’s see who the censors really are. Let’s see if inclusiveness includes the point of view expressed in Protester Voices. Let’s see if WVU’s diversity is diverse enough to include the voices of the textbook protesters.

In closing, the Kanawha County Textbook Protesters were parents and citizens who believed that schools were really “public”. They found out that the true description is “government” schools. Even though I will try (as I am doing today) to help children still serving time in the pagan seminaries of government schools, my mission is to encourage Christian parents to rescue their children. I do this through the Exodus Mandate ministry (4). Just about three weeks ago a documentary movie, IndoctriNation (5), was released. Exodus Mandate helped sponsor this project which exposes the dangers of government schools. I strongly encourage parents and church leaders to view the film IndoctriNation.

The developers of the Textbook War curriculum may do the right thing and not censor or even suppress Protester Voices. They may even do the rare thing and tell the truth about the textbook protesters. The best case scenario will still not mitigate the government schools’ malicious attack upon Christian and traditional American values and good citizens like the textbook protesters.

Protesters Voices is a book that every patriot should read so they can be inspired by those who fought on the RIGHT side of the Great Textbook War.


(2)Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body. (




The WVU press release: WVU College of Human Resources and Education launches Great Textbook War curriculum

West Virginia University leads the fight against educational censorship with the launch of the Great Textbook War curriculum for area high schools.

The College of Human Resources Office for Diversity and Global Initiatives and the West Virginia Humanities Council will host the Great Textbook War curriculum launch at a reception on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 3:30 p.m. in Allen Hall.

The reception, open to the public, will feature the Great Textbook War traveling exhibit, sponsored by Henry Battle and the Kanawha Valley Historical Society.

“The heightened emotions raised from the controversy makes the Great Textbook War worthy of study,” said Dr. Joy Saab, director of the Office for Global Initiatives and Diversity.

Textbooks incorporating multicultural education were first released in Kanawha County, W.Va., in 1974, which included controversial topics. Parents and community members protested the textbook adoption because taxpayers funded the books, resulting in censorship and other severe First Amendment conflicts, and in some cases, threats of violence.

“School buildings were hit by dynamite and Molotov cocktails, buses were riddled with bullets, journalists were beaten and surrounding coal mines were shut down by protesting miners,” said producer and narrator Trey Kay in the Great Textbook War documentary.

Through multimedia components, the Great Textbook War curriculum teaches students the history of the controversy surrounding adoption of textbooks and the steps taken to overcome it.

The curriculum features Kay’s radio documentary, including perspectives of those affected: teachers, administrators and parents representing both proponents and opponents of the textbooks. Historian Stan Bumgardner produced Books and Beliefs: The Great Textbook War Story.

Participating schools include Morgantown High School, Grafton High School, John Marshall High School, Wheeling Park High School and Capital High School.

“The cultural war is still alive and well today, as seen in the censorship that occurs when textbooks are sent to companies for sanitization. They go through a wash before begin sent to the schools—scary,” Saab said. “It’s important for teachers to be aware of this censorship and history to help students think critically about what they are reading. The curriculum allows students to draw their own conclusions.”

Read more about the censorship and suppression of Protester Voices.

For the record, I do not post personal correspondence on my website. I distinguish between personal and professional correspondence. For example, my correspondence regarding the WVU Curriculum is professional although it is directed to me personally. I post it as a matter of historical record. That said, there are other situations, such as when I had a dialogue with Richard Dawns that I post the emails because of the scientific (in that case) value.

I know an atheist who is fanatical about his religious dogma even though he fervently denies being religious. He is a likeable man with high integrity. Just because I correctly refer to him as a "flaming atheist" does not mean I do not like him. In fact, Christ commands Christians to love everyone. Therefore, there are a lot of people that I do not like, yet I love them only through Christ whose Spirit dwells in me.

I try to always speak forthrightly and truthfully although I sometimes fail. It is right that I do the same about the Christian religion. Sadly, if a person wears the label "Christian," it does not always come with high ethics. Some of the most unscrupulous men with whom I have dealt claimed to be Christians. That should not be a reflection upon Jesus Christ (who gave everyone a free will), but rather a statement about humans. Here is an analogy. I was in the Navy and know a lot about how Marines think and act. I also know a lot of their lingo and terminology. I could fool a lot of people into thinking that I am a former Marine. However, I could not fool a real Marine. Also, if a combat situation arose, I could fool hardly anyone.

However, if my friends and brethren are attacked by whomever—a nice guy or not—I take them to task. It is nothing personal.