In 1974, the Conservative Movement was born in the hills of West Virginia. The controversy over which books students would read spurred violent protest over race, religion, and family, and saw nearly half the students removed from local public schools. It drew national attention and the arrival of members of Congress, the Heritage Foundation, the John Birch Society, and the KKK. Nearly 50 years later, the Kanawha textbook war is largely forgotten, but the legacy of protest over public education persists and removing students from school remains a tactic in the larger plan of the Conservative Movement to secure political power. This talk recounts this political history and links it to the ongoing politics of opting out, the homeschooling movement, and control of the public square.
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About the Author
Heath Brown is associate professor of public policy at the City University of New York, John Jay College, and the CUNY Graduate Center. His books include Immigrants and Electoral Politics: Nonprofit Organizing in a Time of Demographic Change (2016) and The Tea Party Divided: The Hidden Diversity of a Maturing Movement (2015).