HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall University Libraries and the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia will observe Banned Books Week with a listening party and panel discussion about the 1974 Kanawha County “textbook war.” It will take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 30 in Drinko Library 402 on Marshall’s Huntington campus.
The evening will begin with a presentation of excerpts of a podcast titled “Us and Them,” by Charleston, W.Va., native and Peabody Award-winning producer Trey Kay. After the excerpts are heard, a panel discussion will take place, exploring the differing viewpoints that led to schools being bombed and buses hit by sniper fire in Kanawha County.
“The story of the Kanawha County Textbook War is an important part of our state’s cultural history,” said Dr. Monica Brooks, Assistant Vice President for Information Technology: Online Learning and Libraries at Marshall. “Americans are as divided as they’ve ever been. Trey Kay’s ‘Us and Them’ podcast focuses on the fault lines that divide Americans, exploring the issues, disputes and ideas that divide people into longstanding, entrenched camps.”
The ACLU of West Virginia will be moderating the panel discussion and will have information set up about their work. Students and seniors who would like to join the ACLU can get their first year’s membership for free under a program called the Cohen-Calabrese Challenge.
Banned Books Week, which takes place Sept. 27-Oct. 3 this year, celebrates the freedom to choose and the freedom to express one’s opinion, even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular.