In this week’s TBR Radio Presents: The Dixie Heritage Hour Dr. Ed interviews Karl Priest. Karl is the author of the book Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party.
Karl’s book is not just the result of research. The author, who has a B.S. in education and an M.A. in school administration and was an educator for over 30 years before retiring as a public school mathematics teacher and principal in West Virginia, was a key player in the events of which he writes.
Karl tells Dr. Ed about what happened when a newly elected Kanawha County, West Virginia school board member named Alice Moore actually read all of her children’s public school textbooks and ignited what some consider the opening battle of America’s culture war. Mrs. Moore challenged the board’s choice of textbooks and supplementary materials, touching off a year-long protest that riveted the nation. Among other things, it alerted parents that the educational establishment was not only anti-Christian but aggressively so. Her efforts, over 30 years later, would inspire another indigenous uprising known today as the “Tea Party” against overbearing government.
Karl tells Dr. Ed that back in 1974, thousands took their kids out of West Virginia’s schools for several weeks while others took to the streets, coal miners went on strike, shutting down the mines until the textbook issue was addressed, and some unoccupied schools were even bombed, all in an effort to get the Education Department to simply listen to parents’ concerns about the content of textbooks. As often happens today, the Ku Klux Klan was sent in as a spoiler, and book protesters spent much effort distancing themselves.
Of particular interest, Karl tells of five brave men–a plumber, a truck driver, a pastor, an accountant, and a construction worker–who were arrested on trumped-up charges. As a result, one of them actually spent three years in prison and others had their businesses seized by the IRS and faced other government persecutions in an attempt to silence the protest.
The media and leftist groups called Mrs. Moore, some pastors, teachers and parents “book burners” and “racists.” It didn’t matter that Mrs. Moore’s mentor in the challenge was Arizona’s black state school board president, Stephen S. Jenkins, who alerted her to the leftist agenda behind multiculturalism, and that some books portrayed blacks in extremely negative ways.
Mrs. Moore’s side was deemed “censors” even though they obtained copies of the challenged texts so people could read for themselves. Contrast this with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said of the massive Obamacare bill, “We have to pass it so you can find out what’s in it.”
The upshot of the protests, which drew network coverage after the miners’ strike began, was that eight books were dropped and 65 percent to 80 percent of elementary school parents opted out of using the approved texts. Publishers discontinued some of the books as news of their content spread across the country.
Many of the 320 language-arts books adopted had subtle un-American biases, others were loaded with graphic violence, profanity, sex and “values clarification” designed to replace biblical principles and parental authority with moral relativism.
Karl has hundreds of hours of video tape from the Board of Education meetings and media coverage showing that the textbooks could not be read “on the air” because of FCC guidelines prohibiting the use of profanity on radio and TV. Many of these videos have been uploaded to his YouTube channel.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has cardiac arrest over Christmas carols and graduation prayers, apparently had no problem with the textbooks and made no effort to aid the protesters.
From the powerful national teachers’ unions to academia, what former U.S. Education Secretary William Bennett calls “the blob” is clearly on the side of the radical left. The U.S. Department of Energy has even created a school curriculum that tells kids that oil and gas industries, which probably are run by fundamentalist Christians, are “evil.”
“If parents think their schools are safe,” Karl says, “they’re whistling in the dark.”
In the name of “tolerance,” the left is working hard to indoctrinate children. But the spirit of the 1974 textbook uprising is alive and well . . . until parents wise up.
For the last five years of his full-time career, with the full knowledge of state, county, and ACLU officials, Karl demonstrated to his students that mathematics proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that evolutionism is nonsense. The students saw that the evidence clearly shows that every item associated with humans, animals and plants are Intelligent Designs, and Intelligent Design is science because it is observable by billions of people trillions of times, always has been, and always will be. He always let them figure it out for themselves, and he allowed them to believe what they chose, but at least they were exposed to the scientific facts that extremists want to censor from the minds of government-school students. After one lesson, a student from an atheist family said, “Evolution is silly.”
Upon retirement, Karl had contact with more public school students than ever and took advantage of every opportunity to provide them with the facts described above. In 1995, Karl began the formation of the Kanawha Creation Science Group in West Virginia.
Karl has engaged in many confrontations with evolutionists. One evolutionist college professor even tried to have Karl arrested by the West Virginia State Police on a bogus charge of fraud. More recently, Karl and his wife were harassed by police at a concert.
Karl currently is the West Virginia State Coordinator for Exodus Mandate, which encourages the rescue of children from government schools to the safety of home or truly Christian schools.
He was declared to be WEST VIRGINIA’S BEST-KNOWN ENEMY OF EVOLUTION by the state’s leading newspaper, the Charleston Gazette.
The biggest lesson learned from the 1974 protests was that decent citizens make a BIG mistake “trusting the system.”
If you are wondering why you should tune in to listen to today’s guest talk about something that happened 45 years ago, consider this week’s episode “