The Great Textbook War

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In 1974, Kanawha County, West Virginia 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 and surrounding coal mines were shut down by protesting miners. Textbook supporters thought they would introduce students to new ideas about multiculturalism. Opponents felt the books undermined traditional American values. The controversy extended well beyond the Kanawha Valley. The newly-formed Heritage Foundation found a cause to rally an emerging Christian conservative movement. This documentary, recent winner of the Peabody award, tells the story of that local confrontation and the effect that it had on the future of American politics.

Trey Kay, who produced and hosted the Peabody Award-winning radio documentary, “The Great Textbook War”, and was a kid in the midst of the boycott in 1974, will appear on The Leonard Lopate Show on Thursday, April 22. He’ll speak about what sparked the culture wars in America. The Leonard Lopate Show airs on 93.9 and AM820 at noon weekdays.

Trey Kay will also appear on Studio 360, April 24 and 25, in a segment that examines why hot-button literature from Malcolm X, Eldridge Cleaver, Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti was introduced into schools in the early 1970s. Studio 360 airs Saturday at 3pm on 93.9 and Sunday at 10am on 93.9 and 2pm on AM820.