The Great Textbook War
October 31, 2009 ·
Charleston native Trey Kay examines the 1974 textbook controversy in the radio documentary, “The Great Textbook War.”
In 1974, Kanawha County
was the first battleground in the American culture wars. Controversy erupted
over newly-adopted school textbooks. 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.
Textbook opponents believed the books were teaching their
children to question their authority, traditional values and the existence of
Textbook supporters said children needed to be exposed to a
wide variety of beliefs and experiences, and taught to make their own
Click on the top of the page of listen to the entire
Or, if you have a slower internet connection, you may want
to listen to this documentary in three parts.
Part one describes the beginning of the controversy, as
school board member Alice Moore discovers what she considers anti-Christian and
anti-American views in textbooks.
Part two chronicles the school boycotts, miner strikes, and
school bombings that followed.
Part three details the end of the controversy, and its ongoing