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The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy

A Battle of Cultures


The controversy began in April 1974, when the five-member Kanawha County Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt 325 recommended texts and supplementary books in language arts — some of which reflected more multiracial topics than those used in the past. After the vote, conservative board member Alice Moore (pictured) challenged some of the content, objecting to abuses of the English language and to what she considered anti-Christian and un-American themes. In particular, she was outraged at passages from The Autobiography of Malcolm X — one of the adopted books. Moore (pictured here at a June 1974 meeting) became a leader of the anti-textbook forces.

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