According to WinkNews, several outraged parents attended a recent Florida school board meeting, furious over the socialist agenda purportedly being pushed on their children. The original video can be seen here.
They are furious that their children might be taught, “Critical Race Theory”, or CRT.
CRT is an academic movement of civil rights scholars and activists in the United States who seek to critically examine the law as it intersects with issues of race and to challenge mainstream approaches to racial justice.
As the #Collier County School Board in #Florida convened a hearing to discuss textbooks being considered for adoption, angry citizens commented regarding concerns of possible #CriticalRaceTheory content in those textbooks. https://t.co/SkM1LhWKxZ
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) June 10, 2021
The new textbooks that will be offered to pupils, according to Collier County Public Schools, have nothing to do with CRT.
School board member Stephanie Lucarelli agrees. “After going through all these texts and having four kids in our schools as well, anything in these texts was not, you know, a problem for me.”
Those who came out to make their voices known were unconvinced by this.
Three persons submitted objections to the textbooks that were authorized in April, prompting Monday’s session.
“Tenets of critical race theory and indoctrinates students with leftist ideology,” said one speaker at the meeting.
Collier County resident Rob Tolp said, “I’ll be damned if I will allow a Marxist revolution to take place in this country, and we need to reject our children even being taught it.”
“Politics cannot be in the schools unless it’s a political class, and then it needs to be true politics and not someone’s opinion of how something is being treated; we have to be super careful,” said a passionate speaker.
WATCH: Florida school board meeting goes off rails as furious parents claim textbooks are part of ‘a Marxist revolution’
According to Collier County Schools textbooks that will be introduced to students have nothing to do with "critical race theory."https://t.co/pE8BZ9FELJ
— ꧁𝖦𝖾𝗈𝗋𝗀𝗂𝖺𝖱𝖾𝗌𝗂𝗌𝗍𝖾𝗋𝖢𝗁𝗂𝖼꧂ (@ResisterChic) June 8, 2021
“CRT focuses on mainly on teaching cultural differences, instead of commonalities. It’s cultural differences, racial differences, ethnic differences, and the keyword is differences,” said another speaker.
The reverberation has hit the entire state. A new ban has been issued by the Florida Board of Education on critical race theory education statewide.
Officials also note that it won’t impact the curriculum in Central Florida classrooms because school district officials say they didn’t teach it to begin with.
As a reporter, I normally stay fairly detached, but this story immediately threw me back to my childhood, because in 1974, I was a student during the violent Kanawha County textbook wars in West Virginia.
The Kanawha County textbook war was a control struggle that led to the largest protests ever in the history of Kanawha County, West Virginia.
The motivation was a new set of textbooks for the entire county that threatened religious leaders and their parishioners ideals of what should be taught to students.
Protester during the Kanawha County textbook controversy. 1974 https://t.co/8uaZWsx8cm pic.twitter.com/vDReeNthWR
— Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) May 13, 2017
For perspective, I lived beside a member of the Kanawha County school board, and my grandmother was a teacher in the district. We were not zealously religious, and I even less than that. Until one year before, I had been a Navy brat before my father decided to retire to his home town, which meant I was predominantly raised in a multicultural socialistic upbringing. Even though prejudice toward new ideals lingered throughout my privileged family, I was not afraid of the books.
However, my neighbor and best friend had a parent who was a religious protestor. I was banned from their household, and it was the beginning of the end of our friendship.
It all started when the Kanawha County School Board met on April 11, 1974, to evaluate new textbooks that had been suggested by a selection committee.
The language arts books in question featured a diverse range of authors including works by Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg, black rights advocate Eldridge Cleaver, and Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychiatry. Other books included Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Crucible by Arthur Miller and The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Under a time crunch, they approved the books without a lot of discussion and deliberation.
The textbook wars of Kanawha County: Alice Moore who began it all stated “I never dreamed it would come to this.” https://t.co/8L4HfMXVXW pic.twitter.com/3fsMVO7Z53
— Cranbrook Townsman (@CranTownsman) March 28, 2017
The board’s most conservative member, Alice Moore, began openly criticizing the books, claiming that they were anti-Christian and anti-American in nature.
She particularly pointed to a quote from The Autobiography of Malcolm X. “All praise is due to Allah that I moved to Boston when I did,” the book said. “If I hadn’t, I’d probably still be a brainwashed black Christian.”
Twenty-seven ministers publicly denounced the books. Ten other ministers and the West Virginia Council of Churches announced support for the books. The difference being that the later were from the capital city of Charleston, and the former were from the rural outlying areas.
Despite the protest, the school board went through with furnishing the books to the county schools.
Ministers quickly mobilized anti-textbook groups and called for a boycott of schools, with 12,000 people signing petitions to keep the volumes out. The demonstrations were not confined to religious groups. Business leaders began to weigh in on the discussion as well. The battle lines were drawn.
A huge protest of 8,000 people ensued, calling themselves “Concerned Citizens.” The fury started to ramp up, as the community churches were buzzing, and the local news reflected the outrage and reported on it nightly.
September 1974, Kanawha County #Textbook Controversy polarized community https://t.co/RrPBHmPzVp #education pic.twitter.com/noUP9MHJtO
— WV Humanities (@WVHumanities) September 7, 2016
A large number of parents kept their children from school in protest, and a small amount were kept out because of fear of what the protestors might do. I was of the later group, as my grandmother and neighbor were growingly concerned with the vitriol.
Religious protestors organized protests with picket lines throughout the city, one even shutting down the bus service.
In the rural counties, coal mining was king, and 3500 miners joined the protest, escalating the attention and anger.
The school board pulled the books for further review, fired the school board president, and that sparked 1200 students from the largest school in the county to protest over censorship. The entire county, it appeared, was in the streets.
Then an anti-textbook protestor was shot and wounded. They found bombs planted at an elementary school and a school board building. Another elementary school was dynamited, school buses were attacked with shotguns, and the homes of children who continued to attend school during the boycott were stoned.
A local minister prayed for God to kill the board members who had approved the books, which included my neighbor. She had armed guards surrounding her home.
The Ku Klux Klan sent at least three national leaders to Charleston in support of the anti-textbook cause. Protesters attacked a CBS reporter and his film crew, and cars were set on fire.
I pray one day the Kanawha County Textbook War will be taught in history classes across the country. What a critical moment in history that is so loudly absent from our collective memory.
— David Moore (@DMoore304) February 26, 2021
Moore, who began this protest, fled town.
The violence and national news coverage tempered the anger, and soon, everyone started staying at home. The school board approved the books, but Moore demanded that the statutes from here on out reflected the morals of church. She got her wish, and the result was that the most controversial books never entered schools in the rural areas of the county that had objected most stridently.
I do not remember the books. I remember the anger, the violence, and the fear. I remember feeling pained at the reproof that centered on race and culture, and I believe, without a doubt, that it helped me form my unyielding principles of social justice.
Quite the opposite effect than what Alice Moore intended.