In 1974, the Board of Education in Kanawha County, West Virginia, made a divisive decision to introduce a new set of textbooks into the standard curriculum. These books, which contained offensive language, drew comparisons between biblical stories and mythic fables, and seemingly lacked clear moral standards, sparked a significant outcry. Don Means, a businessman-turned-activist, wrote extensively about the protest, capturing the essence of a unique societal struggle against educational policy.
In "War in Kanawha County: Protest in 1974," readers will be transported to a time when families became foot soldiers in the battle over the education of their children. The tension that arose between conservatives and liberals during this period mirrored the national conflicts last seen during the era of the Boston Tea Party. The story that unfolds within the pages of this book is not only local to the hills of West Virginia but has relevance to a broader national audience, as similar curriculum controversies continue to resonate in educational discussions across the country today.
Judson Means, co-author, and son of Don, found, revived, and edited his father's account of the textbook protest, helping it reach the printed page. "This book is not intended as a vendetta, personal or otherwise," explains Judson Means. "It is intended to neither flatter nor offend. It is intended only to present the actual happenings the way the author saw them unfold, as accurately and objectively as possible."
The authors hope that "War in Kanawha County: Protest in 1974" will reach individuals who are unaware of these historical events, drawing understanding from readers to reflect on the broader implications. The book invites its readers to consider the complexities of public education, societal values, and the influence they have on one another.
About the Book
When new textbooks infused with controversial content ignited a furor in the heart of Kanawha County, West Virginia, the battle lines were drawn not in far-off fields but within family homes. "War in Kanawha County: Protest in 1974" plunges readers into a turbulent period when education ignited a societal flashpoint.
Penned by Don Means, a businessman transformed into an activist in response to the upheaval, this gripping account captures the fervor and determination of parents fighting against what they perceived as a threat to their children's moral education. In an era echoing the divisive spirit of the Boston Tea Party, the textbook protest escalated into a nationwide debate, garnering international attention.
The echoes of this 'war' still resonate today, as discussions over educational content continue to divide communities across the country. Step into the heart of the battlefield, explore the deeply human stories interwoven with the controversy and gain insight into the enduring struggle over the soul of American education. An absorbing read for anyone interested in the intersection of society, education, and free speech.
About the Authors
Don Means was a local businessman turned activist who was deeply involved in the protests against the new textbooks introduced in Kanawha County in 1974. He dedicated a significant portion of his life to detailing the incidents surrounding the protest.
Judson Means served his country with distinction in the Army and Air National Guard. He was deployed in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom, retiring from service in 2005. Today, he resides in Charleston, West Virginia, with his wife and son.