by Al Benson Jr.
Thirty seven years ago this year my family and I became involved in a historic event that was to help to change our lives and that has, in subtle ways, changed the direction this country has gone in.
It was the textbook protest in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Many don't even remember this event. Many others would just as soon bury this event under a pile of liberal verbiage that never has and never will give the protesters' side of the issue. This, unfortunately, is typical of the liberal/Marxist mindset. Their supposed tolerance extends only to those who espouse their views, while everyone else must be suppressed.
That is why the truth about what really happened in West Virginia at that time must be buried or shoved down the "memory hole." But the fly in the liberal ointment is that the truth refuses to be suppressed and it keeps resurfacing. And, if all truth ultimately comes from God, then even the liberals can't stop it.
The book protest in Kanawha County, West Virginia, which started in the Summer of 1974, was about one government school system among many, that sought to, under the false guise of "education" change the values of public school children so they would be more attuned to accepting the anti-Christian culture of the New World Order crowd. Christian culture in West Virginia was under attack, and the New World Order's adherents felt that if they could successfully push their agenda in West Virginia then they could probably get by with it anywhere.
In early October of 1974 my family and I had just returned from a trip to Oklahoma. As I sat reading the Sunday paper while waiting for supper to cook, I came across an article (this was in one of the Chicago papers) for which the headline was "Battle over the books in a Fundamentalist Lion's Den." That caught my attention. As I read the article and ascertained the instant media bias against the book protesters, whom I knew nothing about at that point, I commented to my wife that because of the obvious bias against them in the article "these protesters must be doing something right." Little did I know! However, in the weeks to come I found out. We got in touch with folks in West Virginia and we got involved as much as we could from a distance. The following year we moved to West Virginia.
When we first became involved in this historic event, I thought to write a book about it. I gathered all the information I could. Some folks handed me boxes of news clippings. The more I looked through all the material people had handed me, the more I realized I was just not equal to the task. In our various moves around the country much of this material disappeared. Years went by and I'd had no use for it.
But I recently came across one file of old notes that I had made while I was laboring trying to put a book together. Somehow they had survived all our moves and travels. These notes are now thirty seven years old and I have never had them in print. They are handwritten observations of what I saw (no portable computers back then). They are observations of what I saw, heard, and was told by the people who had experienced some of what happened. My family and I were involved in the protest for three years, one year while still living in Illinois and the other two years living in West Virginia, so my personal knowledge of all the events is limited. Yet I feel, having been there, that my thoughts and observations might, in some small way, help to contribute to the whole picture.
At this point, the most comprehensive work yet written pertaining to this critical period has been done by a man who was a public school teacher in Kanawha County, West Virginia all the while the protest continued. He has spent his life in West Virginia and so is acquainted with the area and its people much more than I.
His name is Karl Priest and he has written a book called "Protester Voices--the 1974 Textbook Tea Party." His book covers the protest, the reasons for it, and the personalities involved quite thoroughly from a Christian perspective. Having read his book, I highly recommend it. Whatever else you read about this protest (and there is now material on the Internet about it) balance it off by reading Karl's book.
It can be obtained from him by contacting him at 141 Karmel Lane, Poca, West Virginia 25159. The book, plus shipping cost is $19. If you care enough to find out the truth, it is worth the money and then some.
To be continued, Lord willing.