Whose America?: Culture Wars in the Public Schools 9780226820408

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Whose America?


JONATHAN ZIMMERMAN The University of Chicago Press C h ic ag o a n d L on d on

The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637 The University of Chicago Press, Ltd., London © 2022 by The University of Chicago All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews. For more information, contact the University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th St., Chicago, IL 60637. Published 2022 Printed in the United States of America 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22

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ISBN-13: 978-0-226-82039-2 (paper) ISBN-13: 978-0-226-82040-8 (e-book) DOI: https://doi.org/./chicago/.. The first edition of this book was published in 2002 by Harvard University Press. Any questions concerning permissions should be directed to the Permissions Department at The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Zimmerman, Jonathan, 1961- author. Title: Whose America? : culture wars in the public schools / Jonathan Zimmerman. Description: Second edition. | Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2022. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2022005303 | ISBN 9780226820392 (paperback) | ISBN 9780226820408 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Educational sociology—United States. | Textbooks— United States. | United States—History—Study and teaching. Classification: LCC LC191.4 .Z56 2022 | DDC 306.43/20973—dc23/eng/20220302 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2022005303 This paper meets the requirements of ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (Permanence of Paper).

Fo r S arah and Rebecca , Agai n and Always


Preface to the Second Edition ix Introduction: Beyond Dayton and Chicago 1

Part 1: History Wars Chapter 1: Ethnicity and the History Wars 11 Chapter 2: Struggles over Race and Sectionalism 29 Chapter 3: Social Studies Wars in New Deal America 50 Chapter 4: The Cold War Assault on Textbooks 74 Chapter 5: Black Activism, White Resistance, and Multiculturalism 98

Part 2: God in the Schools Chapter 6: Religious Education in Public Schools 123 Chapter 7: School Prayer and the Conservative Revolution 146 Chapter 8: The Battle for Sex Education 170

Part 3: From Religion to History Chapter 9: Twenty-First-Century Culture Wars: From 9/11 to Donald Trump 199

Conclusion: Who Are We Now? 237 Acknowledgments 259 Abbreviations 261 Notes 263 Index 317


I submitted the first edition of this book to its publisher in late August 2001, following a long summer of writing and editing. A few weeks later, terrorists destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center. I was walking through Washington Square Park—on my way to my office at New York University—at 9:03 a.m. on September 11, 2001, when the second tower was attacked. Within a few short hours, both buildings had crumbled to the earth. Classes were canceled, of course, so I spent most of the following week with my ninety-four-year-old grandmother. A lifelong New Yorker and career public school teacher, she was devastated by the tragedy. But she soon grew tired of talking about it. Perhaps it was just too awful for her to discuss. Or, like so many of us, maybe she had simply run out of things to say. “Let’s talk about your book, instead,” Grandma said. Your book. At that moment, it seemed irrelevant—an afterthought, really, given all of the death and destruction in the city. But I did start thinking about it in the ensuing weeks and months, wondering how the 9/11 attacks would alter culture wars in the public schools. I had concluded the first edition on a plaintive note, worrying that our conflicts over religion were insoluble and conflicts over history had the wrong solution. Religiously inflected culture wars—over prayer, Bible reading, and sex education—involved claims that simply could not be squared with each other. By contrast, our history wars lent themselves to a come-one-come-all compromise that admitted more and more

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Americans into a shared but largely unquestioned narrative of progress and opportunity. One conflict divided us into mutually and critically incompatible camps, while the other created a mutual framework that did not allow for sustained critique. My most important theoretical guide at the time was sociologist James Davison Hunter, whose 1991 book on culture wars brought the metaphor into our national vocabulary. Hunter argued that Americans were most sharply divided not by race, class, or political party but rather by “worldview”—that is, by “competing systems of moral understanding.” The culture-war framework gained more attention the following year, when GOP provocateur Pat Buchanan told the Republican National Convention that the 1992 battle for the White House— pitting President George H. W. Bush against a Democratic governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton—was “about much more than who gets what.” Instead, Buchanan insisted, the election was “about who we are” as a nation. “There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America,” Buchanan declared. “It is a cultural war . . . And war is exactly the right term.” On one side stood “traditionalists” like himself, “who believe that the United States was well founded and has done enormous good for the world.” On the other side were “the committed forces of the secular-progressive movement,” who were busily making “the most radical assault on the notion of one nation, indivisible, that has occurred in our lifetime.” If Bill Clinton was elected, Buchanan warned, the country would be overrun with abortion, gay marriage, women in military combat, and other supposedly “radical” social changes. “That’s change, all right,” Buchanan concluded, but “it’s not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God’s country.”1 Two years later, Bill Clinton invited James Davison Hunter to the White House to ask him how America could resolve its culture wars. He must have been disappointed by Hunter’s answer: we couldn’t. By definition, Hunter argued, these conflicts involved fundamental beliefs and assumptions that simply do not allow for compromise—or even for dialogue. “Is it not impossible to speak to someone who does not share the same moral language?” Hunter would later write. “Gesture, maybe; pantomime, possibly. But the kind of communication that builds on

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mutual understanding of opposing and contradictory claims on the world? That would seem impossible.” Much of this conflict quite naturally devolved upon the school, America’s chief public institution for distilling and delivering moral values to its young. Indeed, the term “culture wars” derived from the German Kulturkampf, which first referred to Protestant-Catholic battles over religion in school. But Kulturkampf also implied a struggle without end, for each side to the dispute claimed an absolute monopoly on truth. Especially in its fiery educational theater, then, America’s own culture war showed little sign of abating. From prayer in the classroom to “multiculturalism” in the curriculum, Hunter warned, our “school wars” reflected incompatible belief systems—and resisted common ground.2 Was Hunter right? Back in the 1990s, when I was writing my first edition, it depended on which war you were talking about. On issues like school prayer and sex education, Hunter’s thesis seemed undeniable: Americans were talking past each other, rather than with each other. A citizen who viewed fornication as an abomination before the Lord had little to share—or even to discuss—with a sex educator who wished to teach children about contraception. “What have you been reading?” a flustered New Jersey conservative asked her state school board in 1980, blasting sex education. “I don’t understand you. I can’t even hold a conversation with you.” In contrast, the history wars seemed exaggerated to me; indeed, at the time, they didn’t seem like wars at all. True, an effort to draft national history standards for the schools in 1994 and 1995 had created a brief media firestorm. Conservatives charged that the standards’ inclusion of racial minorities and women—at the expense of heroic figures like Washington and Jefferson—would inhibit students’ patriotism. Denounced by former education secretary William Bennett and talk show impresario Rush Limbaugh, the standards eventually earned a 99–1 censure in the U.S. Senate. But the controversy faded soon after that, in part because the creators of the standards actually shared the same patriotic goals as their critics. “Can there be any grand narrative more powerful, coherent, democratic, and inspiring than the struggles of groups that have suffered discrimination, exploitation, and hostility but have overcome passivity and resignation to challenge their exploiters, fight for legal

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rights, resist and cross racial boundaries, and hence embrace and advance the American credo that ‘all men are created equal’?” three leaders of the standards effort asked. Indeed, a teacher who helped draft the standards insisted, Thomas Jefferson himself would have been proud of the project. Rather than eroding American patriotism, the standards broadened and reinvigorated it.3 After the 9/11 attacks, then, I expected another bout of conflict over religion in our schools, along with a new explosion of additive, multicultural patriotism. Given that the World Trade Center had been attacked by Islamic terrorists, I was appalled but not surprised that some Muslim students were bullied because of their headscarves; scattered schools also witnessed disputes over whether history teachers should continue to present Islam as a “peaceful” faith. Overall, though, religion wars in the schools died down in ways that neither James Davison Hunter nor the first edition of this book could have predicted. As several recent studies of the culture wars have documented, liberals “won” most conflicts over morality and religion in the early twentyfirst century.4 A very big exception was abortion, which remains hotly contested across the country. But on most other religiously inflected issues—including school prayer, evolution instruction, and sex education—right-wing Americans were on the ropes, if not down for the count. Recognizing as much, millions of religious conservatives abandoned the public schools for Christian academies or homeschooled children themselves. So there were considerably fewer devout people placing demands on the schools, which was something else that neither Hunter nor I foresaw. In a passage that Hunter quoted in his 1991 book, Christian Right leader Robert L. Simonds called on followers to demand and defend “traditional Christian American culture” in the public schools. “The battle is for the minds of our youth,” Simonds thundered, encouraging citizens to press for school prayer and to stop sex education. But by 2010, the same preacher was advising his culturewar flock to retreat from the public schools altogether. Simonds had tried to block atheism, evolution, and other dangerous forces that were flooding into the schools, he wrote. But he had failed, he admitted, so it was time for Christian families to jump ship.5 Even among conservative Christians who continued to patronize

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the public schools, the old religious battles lost much of their hard edge. A new generation of evangelicals often evinced more concern about climate change and poverty around the world than about Bible reading or prayer in schools. Attitudes about homosexuality liberalized, too, which made sex education a less contentious topic; by 2013, even the Southern Baptist Convention—which had denounced liberals’ “radical homosexual agenda” just a few years earlier—was encouraging members to “love your gay and lesbian neighbors.” Nor did most conservative Christians object to evolution lessons in the public schools. To the contrary, they typically wanted their children to learn and understand evolutionary science; their chief objection was that some schools and teachers insisted that students believe the science as well. Indeed, as historian Adam Laats observed, the conflict wasn’t really about science—or religion—at all; instead, it was about Americans’ enduring distrust of their fellow citizens. “When it comes right down to it, we don’t disagree about evolution,” Laats wrote in 2021. “We just hate each other.” Americans disagree about so many things—including, Laats noted, “what it means to be a good American”—that they “tend to throw evolutionary theory into the mix.” But their real disputes lay elsewhere, in the way they imagined America itself.6 In other words: in history. Belying the pattern I described in the first edition of this book, wherein different groups of Americans were simply added to the same comforting narrative, twenty-first-century Americans engaged in deep and often divisive conflict over our national story. This conflict was not apparent in the immediate wake of 9/11, when America experienced a predictable burst of flag-waving patriotism. But gradually, as the new Part III of this edition demonstrates, more and more people—especially racial and ethnic minorities—began to question the themes of benevolence, progress, and justice that allegedly bound diverse Americans into a single nation. Such objections would peak with the 2016 White House victory of Donald J. Trump, whose openly bigoted statements—and deep popularity among the white working class—seemed to confirm the idea that America was founded in racism and slavery rather than in liberty and opportunity. That was the theory behind the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which became the prime symbol of this challenge following its publication in

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2019. It was also a lightning rod for conservative critics, who rallied to defend the old verities. But similar ideas had been percolating through the schools for years, in ways that I failed to appreciate when I first started researching this subject. In 2002, just a year after the 9/11 tragedy, an episode of the award-winning television drama The Sopranos captured the critical spirit that was seeping into some American classrooms. Doing homework in the kitchen, young A. J. Soprano tells his parents that his history teacher had compared Christopher Columbus to the accused Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milošević. “Your teacher said that?” asks Tony, A. J.’s father and the show’s chief protagonist. “It’s not just my teacher, it’s the truth,” A. J. replies. “It’s in my book.” The camera then pans to a copy of A People’s History of the United States by the radical historian Howard Zinn, which anticipated many of the 1619 Project’s claims about racism and inequality in United States history.7 It’s the truth. It’s in my book. Ironically, that was the same unthinking fallacy that permeated patriotic history—of every stripe—across the American past. In the first edition of this book, I bemoaned the lack of sustained critique of the patriotic narrative in a nation that ostensibly celebrated freedom as its highest value. “You cannot praise America for cultivating individual freedom of thought, then proceed to tell every individual what to think,” I wrote.8 If we simply substitute a new narrative for the old one, however, we won’t solve that problem; instead, we will reinforce it. In ways my grandmother and I never anticipated, as we sat in her apartment after the September 11 attacks, the entire idea of America is under debate now. The big challenge—for all of us—is to put that same debate to the students in our schools and let them make sense of it. Anything less will once again betray the freedom that we claim to revere.


In 1928 America’s foremost political journalist published a book on the perils of popular efforts to alter the public school curriculum. Walter Lippmann entitled the book American Inquisitors and focused most of his attention on recent campaigns against teaching about evolution and against so-called New History textbooks in the schools. Following a circus-like trial in Dayton, Tennessee, a local court had upheld the state’s anti-evolution law and levied a small fine against the young teacher who challenged it, John T. Scopes. In Chicago, meanwhile, Mayor William H. Thompson—a.k.a. “Big Bill”—led a successful drive to stop the use of texts by Charles Beard, David Muzzey, and other leading scholars. There were key distinctions between these two movements: whereas anti-evolutionists were mainly old-stock evangelical Protestants, for example, the Chicago campaign drew most of its support from Irish and German immigrants. But both attacks stemmed from America’s grassroots, raising the danger of a perpetual conflict in its schools. “You may feel that I am making too much of the spectacles at Dayton and Chicago,” Lippmann noted, “and that I am wrong in taking them as symbols and portents of great significance. May I remind you, then, that the struggles for the control of the schools are among the bitterest political struggles which now divide the nations? . . . It is inevitable that it should be so. Wherever two or more groups within a state differ in religion, or in language and in nationality, the immediate concern of each group is to use the schools to preserve its own faith

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and tradition. For it is in the school that the child is drawn towards or drawn away from the religion and the patriotism of its parents.”1 Lippmann’s argument neatly foreshadowed much of our contemporary discussion of cultural politics in America. Starting in the 1990s, a cottage industry of scholars and journalists warned us that the nation was “wracked” by “culture wars,” especially in its schools and universities.2 These conflicts typically concern “religion” or “patriotism,” just as Lippmann predicted. Into the early 2000s, the issue of evolution continued to divide countless school boards and communities. So did a host of other religion-related controversies, including prayer, sex education, and Bible reading in schools. In history and the social studies, critics alleged that an emphasis on America’s racial diversity—and particularly on its racist deeds—eroded students’ reverence for their country. These battles reflect not just differences over specific educational policies, it often seems, but different ways of seeing the world. After two students gunned down thirteen of their peers at a Colorado high school in April 1999, some commentators were quick to blame the massacre on the lack of prayer or the teaching of evolution in the school. Other observers, pointing to the two students’ reportedly racist statements, complained that the curriculum had failed to imbue the murderers with knowledge and appreciation of the diverse cultures surrounding them.3 In this book I tell the story of culture wars in American public education over the past century. I investigate how successive generations of Americans have addressed the thorny issues of religion and nation—and race—in the public school curriculum. An able historian himself, Lippmann realized that he could not narrate the conflict about public school curriculum without examining “the public.” Following his lead, I explore the myriad and mostly unknown Americans who have struggled over the school curriculum for the past hundred years. In one significant respect, however, my work departs from Lippmann’s legacy. To Lippmann, the disparate conflicts over religion and patriotism in the schools—“Dayton and Chicago,” in his geographical shorthand—reflected a single phenomenon: the “wide conflict” between “scholarship and popular faith” in American political life.4 In our own day, likewise, commentators on the “culture wars”

Beyond Dayton and Chicago * 3

routinely collapse religious and patriotic controversies into a unitary, all-encompassing battle. But I will show that the two conflicts have two separate histories, belying the common frame that we use to analyze them. When I began to work on this book in the mid-1990s, I imagined mapping a single highway from Dayton and Chicago to the Colorado shootings—from the “culture wars” of Lippmann’s day into my own. Instead, I discovered a pair of roads, one from Dayton and the other from Chicago. Often intersecting but nevertheless distinct, the roads followed sharply different paths between the past and the present. The road from Chicago—our conflict over patriotism and nationalism in the schools—was a fairly straight line, reflecting one constant theme: the progressive inclusion of more and more Americans in the grand national story. Lippmann cast a jaundiced eye on this development, because the immigrants he examined often ignored or even disdained modern canons of historical scholarship. My own view is more sympathetic, because I focus largely upon a group Lippmann ignored: African-Americans. Invoking the same standards of scholarship and objectivity that Lippmann prized, Black citizens removed a vicious array of racist slurs from school textbooks. Most of all, they won a part—or, sometimes, a starring role—in the texts’ larger narrative. Thanks to several generations of grassroots Black activists, students of every color now learn as much (if not more) about Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Martin Luther King Jr. as they do about Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, or John F. Kennedy. Given the neglect or outright denigration of African-Americans for most of our history, this achievement must rank as one of the great triumphs of that same history. To be sure, the victory has never been complete. Jealously guarding their own dominant position in the American narrative, old-stock white conservatives worked to block immigrant and Black voices from school textbooks. Eventually most parties to the dispute reached a rough compromise: each racial and ethnic group could enter the story, provided that none of them questioned the story’s larger themes of freedom, equality, and opportunity. For Americans who could not wait for or abide by such an accord, the nation’s educational system offered a built-in safety valve: local control. Impatient with racist history text-

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books, for example, Blacks across the segregated South promoted and adopted their own books and courses. After World War II, when many history texts started to lose their bigoted cast, publishers continued to produce so-called mint julep editions—all-white books—for the white southern market. But these episodes were exceptions, proving the overall rule of increasing diversity in the standard history curriculum. By 1973 even Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama would proclaim the second week of February African-American History Week.5 By contrast, America’s road out of Dayton—its struggle over religion in the public schools—has been marked by sharp bends and curves, not by a straight path. Countering Lippmann’s prediction of a war between “religious fundamentalism” and secular values, the nation’s diverse faiths reached a fairly harmonious modus vivendi with the public schools during the three decades after Scopes. The key once again was America’s tradition of local discretion, which allowed communities as well as individual families to determine both the type and the amount of religious instruction that children would receive in the schools. Under the system known as “released time,” students could select instruction in the faith of their choice—or, if they preferred, they could opt out of the subject entirely. This arrangement sparked a spirited competition between mainline religions and self-avowed “fundamentalist” groups, each aiming to lure as many children as possible to its classes. Contrary to many historical accounts, the fundamentalists did not go “underground” after Scopes; instead, they fought tooth and nail to control religious instruction in the public schools. But they usually failed. Most religious instruction was controlled by liberal Christians, who used released-time classes to promote racial integration, poverty relief, and other progressive causes.6 In the early 1960s the Supreme Court’s bans on organized prayer and Bible reading brought the “choice” system—and its liberal character—to an abrupt halt. Rather than ceding religious exercises to local jurisdictions and families, states and school districts now issued flat prohibitions against all such practices. Liberals quickly retreated from the arena of religious education, fearful of eroding the Court’s tenuous authority on questions of race. But conservative and fundamentalist Christians continued to press their claims upon the schools.

Beyond Dayton and Chicago * 5

Across the country, advocates of school prayer revived older notions of a “Christian America”: since the nation was founded and sanctified “under God,” they argued, its public schools should respect the biblical injunction to worship Him. Other Christian conservatives targeted sex education, which they saw as undermining the scriptural dictate of abstinence outside marriage. Born as a liberal effort to promote social justice for America’s diverse races and classes, religious instruction quickly became a conservative campaign to impose a single morality on all of them. In the 1980s the road from Dayton took another sharp turn. Instead of asking schools to tailor curricula to their values, Christian conservatives began to demand “equal time” for their views. The switch was most clearly evident in the revived battle over evolution, where conservatives called upon science teachers to present biblical accounts of creation alongside Darwinian ones. Likewise, they said, schools should present “Christian” instruction about sexuality to complement the allegedly atheistic messages in regular sex education classes. Lest devout believers suffer “discrimination,” finally, conservatives pressed schools to restore organized prayer in the classroom. In many ways these claims returned the debate over religion to its original, liberal roots: since Americans practiced a wide array of faiths, schools should provide the widest possible “choice” among them. Yet the new demands for religion in schools also echoed modern multiculturalism, with its emphasis on identifying and compensating the victims of social prejudice. Just as textbooks opened their pages to the distinct cultures of racial minorities, the argument went, so should classrooms open their doors to “oppressed” religions and their cultures—including the culture of prayer. By the early 1990s, then, the roads from Chicago and Dayton seemed to merge into a single, unifying “culture war.” But a closer inspection dispels this impression, highlighting the huge differences that still separated the battles over religion and patriotism in the public schools. Despite shrill warnings by a wide range of polemicists, the inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities in textbooks did not dilute America’s majestic national narrative. Instead, these fresh voices were folded into the old story, echoing a century-long pattern of challenge, resistance, and co-option. On the religion front, compromise proved far more

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elusive. Reflecting Americans’ essential beliefs about God and the universe, religious principles simply could not be reconciled in an additive, come-one-come-all fashion. Conflicts over history textbooks generally occurred within a shared set of assumptions about American civic tradition. But religious disputes often lacked this common language. More than a decade after George C. Wallace welcomed Black history into Alabama schools, for example, he continued to press for prayer in those same schools. More to the point, he also endorsed a campaign to remove “humanistic” literature textbooks, contrasting their content to the God-centered, “Judeo-Christian” worldview of his constituents.7 Finally, in the early 2000s these two roads would change direction yet again. The religion wars cooled, spurred by a mass exodus of religious conservatives from the public schools. Millions of Americans patronized Christian day schools or elected to homeschool their children, which meant fewer devout parents pressing for prayer, creationism, and other kinds of religious instruction in public schools. In part, this trend was fueled by voucher programs, loosened restrictions on homeschooling, and other public policies that made it easier for families to choose different educational options. But the biggest reason was devout parents’ belief that the public schools had become a lost cause. As early as 1999, Christian Right political consultant Paul Weyrich warned that the schools had been “captured” by “the enemies of our traditional culture” and that religious conservatives were unlikely to win them back. “Instead of relying on politics to retake the culturally and morally decadent institutions of contemporary America,” Weyrich advised, “we should separate from those institutions and build our own.” By 2007, the Southern Baptist Convention—the nation’s largest Protestant denomination—had introduced workshops for training church leaders on how to establish and operate their own schools. Meanwhile, a vast new constellation of right-wing media fed apocalyptic fears of public education and urged families to abandon it. After Barack Obama won reelection to the White House in 2012, for example, Fox News host Glenn Beck advised his listeners to purchase farmland and guns—and, most of all, to pull their sons and daughters from the public schools.8 But Beck and his fellow conservatives continued to attack history instruction in the schools, even as they discouraged followers from send-

Beyond Dayton and Chicago * 7

ing their children to them. This spoke to the larger symbolic function of history, which has always served to define the nation itself; everyone had a stake in the stories that public schools told about America, whether they patronized the schools or not. The ongoing history battles also reflected important changes in history instruction that began to question the comforting myths that had long permeated it. In 2014, a revised Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum encouraged “critical analysis of America’s founding narrative”—as one journalist wrote—rather than the continued addition of diverse groups to the existing story; indeed, his account noted, history class had become “a debate on America.”9 That debate expanded exponentially with the 2016 election of Donald J. Trump, which triggered a new reckoning with America’s oldest dilemma of all: race. In 2017, a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, accelerated a campaign to remove Confederate monuments around the country. And three years later, the police killing of George Floyd—an unarmed Black man—unleashed the largest public demonstrations in United States history. These developments sparked a fresh set of challenges in history classrooms as well. Was America really a land of liberty and justice for all? What did that mean, in the past and in the present? The most prominent new voice was the 1619 Project, which began as a special edition of the New York Times that rooted America’s founding in slavery and racism rather than in freedom and opportunity. Trickling into American schools, lessons inspired by the 1619 Project set off a panic among conservatives, followed by the most coordinated legislative attack on history instruction in American history. By June 2021, twenty states had considered GOP-sponsored measures to bar the 1619 Project and similar perspectives from the schools. Critics insisted that these viewpoints were not simply un-American—a long-standing conservative complaint—but also racially divisive, pitting different groups of Americans against each other. To its left-wing defenders, by contrast, the 1619 Project gave young readers new insight into the racial inequities that had been baked into America from the very start. Significantly, both sides of this conflict invoked the liberal ideals of open dialogue and “critical thinking.” Opponents of the 1619 Project said it would indoctrinate students about racism instead of encour-

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aging them to discuss and critique it; meanwhile, supporters of the project said that the GOP attacks on it aimed to remove racism from discussion and critique. But America’s traditions of local control made it unlikely that most students would encounter real debate on these subjects; instead, they would learn the perspective that the local majority favored. “Imagine you live in deep-red Alabama,” one observer wrote in July 2020, as the battle over the 1619 Project began to flare. “Can you imagine teaching an American history that veers from the deep-red doctrine?” In “deep-blue” Massachusetts, he added, would any American teacher depart from “deep-blue” history instruction? And, most of all, was there a “purple version” that both regions could teach?10 The new history wars provided a rich opportunity to engage future citizens in the big questions of their time, but many present-day citizens did not want to embrace that opportunity; instead, as in most culture wars, they wanted their side to win. One day, we might hope, Americans of different minds will summon the grace and the courage to let young people make up their own minds—about America, and everything else.

PART 1 HISTORY WARS “I will never rest until the histories in use in the Chicago public schools are purged of their pro-British propaganda.” The speaker was Chicago’s mayor, William H. Thompson, who charged that textbooks maligned the American Revolution and its multi-ethnic heroes. Cartoonists and reporters linked Thompson’s campaign to the 1925 Scopes trial surrounding the teaching of evolution in Dayton, Tennessee: in each case, they claimed, ignorant hordes had assaulted America’s citadels of knowledge. But in the end, one publishing executive wrote, knowledge would win out: “The general current of historical writing cannot be swerved by such ridiculous charges. In Dayton and then Chicago, some little group gets out brooms and endeavors to sweep back the books they do not themselves like, but the current is too strong for them and science and art and history go on.”1 The executive badly misjudged the breadth and strength of both campaigns. The Scopes trial would cast a pall over American schools into the 1960s, sharply restricting instruction about the theory of evolution. The effect of Thompson’s crusade was more complicated. On the one hand, his attacks led to the insertion of more and more ethnic groups—or at least of their leading figures—into the grand national narrative; on the other, he blocked any critical discussion or evaluation

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of this same narrative. Over the next seventy years, textbooks would open their pages to a diversity of races and ethnicities. But the texts did not question the overall principles of liberty, prosperity, and equality that supposedly bound Americans together. Books that contested these rosy themes rarely thrived. Waves of protest in the early 1940s swept away Harold Rugg’s series of social studies texts, which emphasized America’s economic inequality as well as its ethnic diversity. Weaned on the very gospel of private enterprise that Rugg denounced, Americans rejected any suggestion that poverty might prevent them from sharing in the nation’s birthright of freedom. Most of all, this birthright stopped at the color line. Even as history textbooks celebrated freedom and equality, they neglected or denigrated the nation’s Black citizens. Throughout the century Blacks fought to remove these distortions and to insert their own achievements into general American history texts. At the same time, they demanded separate textbooks and courses about their distinctive past. Both campaigns would reach their zenith in the 1960s, exposing sharp tensions between them. Black activists and their white allies successfully “integrated” American textbooks, which continued to portray the nation as beacon of hope and liberty to the world. To a younger, more militant generation, however, only special “Black studies” courses could expose the racism and oppression beneath this cheerful veneer. Nowhere were students of any color asked to decide how much liberty—or how much racism—characterized their shared history. Perhaps it must always be so. Schools across the globe teach the glories of nationhood, linking children to a set of transcendent events and ideals. Yet our own triumphal narrative places a special emphasis on personal liberty: in America, we are told, individuals are uniquely free to decide their values, beliefs, and attitudes. If we applied that principle to instruction in history, we would encourage our children to develop their own interpretations instead of foisting a single view upon them. Since William H. Thompson’s textbook campaign in Chicago, the American ideal of equality has helped bring many racial and ethnic groups into a heroic national narrative. One day, we might hope, the American ideal of liberty will help each of us to narrate the nation on our own.



To the philosopher Horace M. Kallen, America faced two alternative futures in the early twentieth century. One was “Kultur Klux Klan,” the “social and intellectual conformity” symbolized by the Klan’s hooded hoodlums. The other was “Cultural Pluralism,” a term Kallen coined in 1924 to celebrate “variations of racial groups” and “spontaneous differences of social heritage, institutional habit, mental attitude, and emotional tone.” Nativist sentiment dominated the United States in the 1920s, Kallen admitted, citing drives for immigration restriction and “100 percent Americanism.” Yet, he emphasized, this impulse “has never existed unopposed.” Beneath America’s “compulsions toward conformity” lay a more liberal tradition of ethnic tolerance, respectful of “differentiated communities” and “the free flow . . . of spiritual values between them.”1 A few months before Kallen’s essay appeared, the New Jersey legislature debated a bill that would have barred so-called treasonous history textbooks from the state’s classrooms. The bill’s sponsors targeted authors like David S. Muzzey and Charles A. Beard, whose “new methods” of socioeconomic analysis seemed to diminish the Founding Fathers. Invoking the liberal tribune John Dewey, Kallen condemned measures like the New Jersey bill as the epitome of America’s homogenizing heritage. “The fact is, the genuine American, the typical American, is himself a hyphenated character,” wrote Dewey, in a passage that Kallen quoted. “And this means at least that our public schools shall . . . enlighten all as to the great past contributions of every strain in our

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composite makeup.” Rather than capitulating to the narrow demands of Anglo-Saxon patriots like the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Kallen concluded, schools should highlight the talents and achievements of America’s entire ethnic panoply.2 Unbeknownst to Kallen, however, the same ethnic minorities that he celebrated often supported the school history laws that he despised. In New Jersey, for example, backers of the textbook bill included not just the Legion and the VFW but also the Steuben Society, the Knights of Columbus, and the Jewish Alliance. To these ethnic groups, any diminution of America’s grand national story would erode—not enhance—their special contribution to it. After all, one Newark citizen reasoned, a text that downplayed the heroic deeds of George Washington would effectively discount the “German, Polish, and French generals” who assisted him. It would also place their English enemies in a far more favorable light, as a German activist emphasized. “Friends, there has never been a dearth of Tories in our midst,” he warned, “of men who regret the great achievements of the past and would bring us back to the British fold.”3 The ethnic dimensions of this episode—and of countless other “history wars” throughout the decade—suggest a revision of our own historical narrative about American culture and education in the 1920s. Most accounts of the era follow roughly the same terms that Kallen laid down in 1924, pitting hard-edged Americanizers against ethnic groups and their liberal advocates.4 In public schools, especially, nativists like the Ku Klux Klan fought to remove foreign-language instruction, Catholic teachers, and the other “perils of pluralism,” to borrow David Tyack’s memorable phrase.5 During the struggle over history textbooks, however, ethnics joined hands with Anglo-Saxons to block more critical, complicated readings of America’s origins. Ethnic groups did manage to insert new heroes like Crispus Attucks and Thaddeus Kosciusko, adding a few fresh hues to the monochromatic national story. At the same time, though, they reinforced its bland, triumphal message of English tyranny and American righteousness. The result was a history of many colors but one idea, culturally diverse yet intellectually static. Ironically, ethnic groups often embraced so-called Progressive interpretations of the Civil War, industrialization, and the Progressive era itself. But they refused to apply this socioeconomic analysis to the

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Revolution, insisting that America’s conception and birth remain immaculate. In large part, their effort reflected a defensive response to discrimination within the United States: ethnic groups must protect their Revolutionary heroes from the taint of “material interests,” one activist argued, lest these groups suffer further waves of “racial and religious ostracism.”6 Outside America, meanwhile, revised accounts of Britain’s colonial past threatened to buttress its imperial claims in the present. For if England had brought the American colonies certain advantages, as recent histories suggested, its contemporary control of Ireland and Palestine might seem similarly benign. Hence ethnic activists balked at any fresh interpretation of the Revolution, uniting with their erstwhile Anglo-Saxon enemies to block the “new” history from America’s textbooks. To be sure, tensions often racked this fragile coalition of “patriotic societies and Gaelic politicians,” as one annoyed historian called it.7 While welcoming the support of Irish and German groups in the textbook struggle, old-stock patriotic organizations scorned their antiBritish biases. Ethnic groups battled one another, too, crowding a curriculum that could not possibly accommodate them all. And whereas most ethnicities fought for simple recognition, African-Americans also had to combat textbooks’ expression of active prejudice against them. Yet all these groups rallied behind hero worship in history, challenging any text that dared to question the courage or conduct of America’s multi-ethnic founders. In the history skirmishes of the 1920s, then, Horace Kallen’s two alternative pathways merged into a single road. Hardly a brake upon “intellectual conformity,” as Kallen imagined, cultural pluralism helped speed it along.

The “New History” and Its Critics In 1911 the historian James Harvey Robinson wrote a flattering preface for a textbook by his former student David Saville Muzzey. Completing his now-classic account of the “New History,” published the following year, Robinson praised Muzzey for adopting vital trends in modern scholarship. Whereas traditional texts stressed “the tactics and casualties of military campaigns,” Robinson wrote, Muzzey’s An American

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History probed deeper changes in the nation’s economy, politics, and population. The textbook went through four more editions in the next fourteen years, each prefaced by Robinson’s same laudatory statement. Muzzey added his own introduction to the 1925 edition, highlighting its “added emphasis on social and economic factors” and its updated discussion of recent historical events.8 In its treatment of the American Revolution, however, Muzzey’s 1925 textbook actually included less “social and economic” analysis than had appeared in earlier versions. At the beginning of a chapter entitled “British Rule in America,” his 1911 text emphasized the complex divisions and dilemmas on both sides of the Atlantic: This great event has too often been represented as the unanimous uprising of a downtrodden people to repel the deliberate, unprovoked attack of a tyrant upon their liberties; but when thousands of people in the colonies could agree with a noted lawyer of Massachusetts, that the Revolution was a “causeless, wanton, wicked rebellion,” and thousands of people in England could applaud Pitt’s denunciation of the war against America as “barbarous, unjust, and diabolical,” it is evident that, at the time at least, there were two opinions as to colonial rights and British oppression.

By 1925, however, the same chapter started with a simplistic statement of British malfeasance and American resistance: This great event marked the entrance of the United States into the family of nations. It was the armed protest against the invasion by the British Parliament of rights long cherished by the American colonies.9

The 1925 edition pared away several other nuanced passages, including a comment that historians held “differences of opinion” regarding the causes of the Revolution. Meanwhile, it added rich descriptions of American valor on the battlefield. The Battle of Bunker Hill— summarized in a single sentence in the original text—now received two pages of fulsome detail.10 Even as his mentor praised him for el-

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evating social analysis over military heroics, it seemed, Muzzey was busily inverting them. Many years later Muzzey recalled that he had only revised his textbooks to correct minor errors, such as “a date or the initial of a man’s name.” Yet texts by Muzzey and other “new” historians reveal much more substantive changes, spurred not just by right-wing patriotic societies—as subsequent chroniclers have suggested—but also by ethnic critics. In 1922 the New York City municipal official David Hirshfield—a self-proclaimed “101 percent American”—conducted five public hearings about texts that supposedly “belittle[d] illustrious American patriots.” Hirshfield’s first witnesses hardly fit the mold of the “pure” Anglo-Saxon nativist, however. Joining speakers from veterans’ and hereditary societies were the Black spokesman William Pickens and the Jewish leader Julius Hyman, who bemoaned the absence of their own ethnic heroes in recent history texts. “There is no good reason why American histories should not be fair to the great men and women of the past who made the present America possible,” a Jewish magazine editorialized in praise of Hirshfield’s efforts. “Justice should be done to all, regardless of race, creed, or color.”11 Splashing across the national press, New York’s text inquiry generated a wave of similar activity beyond the Empire State. By 1923 at least twenty-one legislatures were considering measures to regulate the content of “new” history textbooks. Countless school districts and municipalities also moved to bar the offending books, culminating in a lengthy “textbook trial” convened by Chicago’s Mayor William “Big Bill” Thompson in 1927—actually a dismissal hearing for Superintendent William McAndrew, whom Thompson accused of imposing “treasonous” and “un-American” texts on the schools. From Boston and Baltimore to Seattle and San Francisco, meanwhile, a wide range of ethnicities rallied against these “treasonous” texts. “All the important national groups of which we are composed have their eye on the schools,” observed Walter Lippmann in 1928. “In fact, it almost seems as if there were hardly an organization in America which has not set up a committee . . . to rewrite the textbooks.”12 Following Lippmann, historians likened these “anti-British inquisitors” to the nation’s flourishing anti-evolution movement: in both cases,

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the argument went, popular passions and prejudices had corrupted the curriculum.13 Yet many of the same historians had altered their own textbooks during World War I to reflect—and to reinforce—the public’s pro-British sentiments, as Lippmann also noted. “There is nothing I would not do to help bring about the warmest relations between the English speaking peoples,” declared the historian Claude Van Tyne in 1918. “To my mind, the whole future of the democratic world depends upon that factor.” Written with Andrew C. McLaughlin, another prominent scholar, Van Tyne’s History of the United States for Schools epitomized this Anglophilic impulse. According to a wartime promotional leaflet, the textbook showed “that the real leaders of English thought sympathized with America and were bitterly opposed to the Autocratic policies of King George III and his hired Hessians.” Other texts emphasized the king’s own Germanic heritage, attributing the provocations that led to the Revolution to “junker aristocrats” in the House of Hanover while exonerating their British subjects.14 To further cement “good understanding” with England, textbook authors also inserted more material about “economic and social development” during the Revolutionary era, as the historian David Matteson admitted. Typified by Charles A. Beard’s masterpiece, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1913), this approach was frequently associated with contemporary “Progressive” reforms like railroad regulation, the income tax, and direct primaries. In foreign affairs, however, it could just as easily serve to bind America to its former ruler. By complicating the old story of a venomous England and a virtuous America, scholars believed, the “new” history would help heal old wounds between them. Yet by tailoring textbooks to “the political necessities of 1917,” Lippmann warned, historians also set a dangerous precedent for the ensuing decade: “It was made plain that history is something that can be cut and shaped to suit the purposes of the moment.”15 In many ways, as another observer noted, ethnic attacks on textbooks in the 1920s reflected a natural “backwash” of the “waves of propaganda” that had preceded them. “We should remember that what is good fare for the goose is also good fare for the gander,” a journalist added, recounting Anglophilic text revisions during the war. “As long

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as one part of the country insists upon singing ‘Rule, Britannia,’ another part is going to continue their ‘Deutschland, Deutschland uber Alles.’” Book companies moved quickly to meet the new demands, even enlisting ethnic leaders as editors on occasion. “The matter is of serious commercial importance to the authors and to us,” one publisher wrote privately. “We [will] make such changes in the text as may appear to be justifiable and reasonable.” Some publishers simply removed controversial sentences, such as “British pluck triumphed” or “King George III alone was to blame.” Others revised their accounts of the Revolution completely, while still others released new texts that stressed the traditional interpretation. Even Charles and Mary Beard’s History of the United States, first published in 1921, scanted economic analysis in favor of lavish battle scenes and biographies.16 These changes help explain the continued popularity of books like the Beards’ text and especially of Muzzey’s An American History, which remained on the bestseller list into the 1930s. In New Jersey, for example, ethnic societies withdrew their complaints about the Muzzey text after Muzzey deleted descriptions of Stamp Act demonstrators as a “mob” and of the Boston Massacre’s victims as “ruffians.” But other ethnic spokesmen deemed such revisions insufficient, insisting that “new” history books still bore an Anglo-Saxon bias. Chicago activists even prevailed upon their school board to publish a supplementary pamphlet celebrating “distinguished Patriots from Europe” who assisted the Revolution, because none of the city’s textbooks gave these heroes appropriate attention. “The poison,” one critic insisted, “is still there.”17 Indeed, some ethnic groups charged, the “poison” had been laid by England herself. Behind the scenes, they claimed, British officials conspired to sway American historians through a clever fusion of flattery and perfidy. According to one widely circulated story, Muzzey and other “new” historians were corrupted by a sumptuous London dinner held in their honor in 1921. (Surely, an amused historian retorted, this theory represented “one of the most impressive tributes to British cooking ever made by an American.”) Others charged that scholars had received actual bribes—“British gold”—from the Carnegie Foundation, the Rhodes Scholarship Fund, and other sinister pro-English sources. “Americans, Wake Up!” screamed a leaflet by the Knights of Columbus,

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America’s largest Catholic organization. “Our History is being distorted and polluted and our children thereby de-Americanized. The achievements of the many different races—Irish, German, Italian, French, Scandinavian, Slavik, Polish, Spanish, etc. in founding, developing, and maintaining the institutions of this country are treated with contempt to the glory of England—the age-long, implacable foe of America.”18 Under this syllogism, any censure of the Founding Fathers weakened the Revolution; weakening the Revolution elevated England; and elevating the English belittled America’s other ethnicities. “New” historians scoffed at the charge, noting their own pleas for greater scholarly attention to non-English peoples. For example, Arthur M. Schlesinger’s collection of essays New Viewpoints in American History—a target of Big Bill Thompson’s attack—began with a detailed, flattering chapter entitled “The Influence of Immigration on American History.” Yet Schlesinger’s own viewpoint was essentially social: like other leading scholars, he tended to stress broad demographic and economic developments rather than “heroes of racial origin,” as one journalist observed. Although they frequently shared historians’ overall liberal views, ethnic groups resented this perceived slight upon their heritage. “All nationalities are entitled to a place in the sun,” Thompson proclaimed, “and our national heroes are the stars in the firmament of our patriotism.”19 Whereas “new” historians frowned on nativist movements like the Ku Klux Klan, then, ethnic activists tended to equate the two: whatever their other differences, revisionists and nativists both diminished non-British achievements. “Assimilation of the various races living in the United States is not, and cannot be synonymous with their anglicization,” averred Edward F. McSweeney, chair of the historical commission of the Knights of Columbus. “Each racial group [has] made a substantial contribution.” Besides fighting to bar “treasonous” texts, McSweeney’s commission sponsored a series of historical monographs about Irish, German, Jewish, and Black achievements in America. McSweeney labeled this effort an “honest plea for Americanization,” contrasting it to the “pro-English” version promoted by “new” historians and 100 percent nativists alike. The Anglophiles were the real

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“super-hyphenates,” he insisted, because they exaggerated the exploits of a single ethnic group over all the others.20 Activists from many ethnic groups helped “twist the Lion’s tail,” the era’s euphemism for anti-British agitation. But Irish-Americans took the lead. Convening in Philadelphia in 1919, delegates to America’s first “Irish Race Convention” resolved to press for three goals: U.S. recognition of the Irish Republic, rejection of the League of Nations treaty, and revision of “the British propaganda which is falsifying and misrepresenting the facts of American history.” A subsequent flyer by the “Friends of Irish Freedom” boasted that thirteen signers of the Declaration of Independence, seven members of the Constitutional Convention, and fully one-third of the Revolutionary Army had been of Irish heritage. During the League of Nations debate in Congress, meanwhile, one senator provoked howls of protest by suggesting that most Irish soldiers in the Revolution fought on the British side. Indeed, America’s history wars were so closely related to the Irish freedom struggle that some observers predicted parallel dénouements for both. “This agitation was begun . . . to stir up anti-British feeling,” declared the New York state historian James Sullivan in February 1922. “Now that the Irish free state is established I do not anticipate very much of a continuance.”21 As Irish activism declined, however, other ethnic groups accelerated their own attacks on textbooks. Still stinging from their persecution during World War I, German-Americans were especially vocal in demanding recognition for their achievements. “I am in favor of getting our message across by the revision of these text books,” a spokesman proclaimed in 1927, “and I believe [in] digging up the stories of heroism wherever the hero is a German.” The previous year a Steuben Society pageant at New York’s Madison Square Garden had highlighted the central characters whom Germans hoped to insert into the nation’s historical drama. The first figure was Peter Minuit, governor of New Netherland but a German by birth. Then came Daniel Pastorius and the settlers in Germantown, Pennsylvania, bearing the first antislavery petition on American soil. The last character to reach the stage was Molly Pitcher, “nee Maria Ludwig,” who proceeded to vanquish a slew of

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mock British soldiers. Nevertheless, Steubenites charged, few of these “fellow racials” ever entered American textbooks. Examining six texts in his school district, one activist complained that twice as many lines were devoted to a single Frenchman—Lafayette—than to five German heroes combined.22 Even as they condemned “pro-British” books, then, ethnic groups often competed with one another to revise them. During the textbook “trial” in Big Bill Thompson’s Chicago, for example, Italians and Norwegians fought over who had discovered America: Christopher Columbus or Leif Eriksson. “At first it seemed as if the solution of the momentous Thompsonian question was to have a composite history wherein each ‘race’ could have its heroes sung,” one editorialist observed. “But the Italian-Norwegian campaign in Bigbilldom shows the fallacy of that supposition . . . The fight is no longer against England alone. It is civil war.” Poles complained that Chicago’s special textbook supplement identified Pulaski as “the son of a Lithuanian patriot”; Lithuanians, in turn, protested that it called Kosciusko “a Pole of noble birth.” Dutch parents charged that textbooks emphasized other ethnic settlements over New Amsterdam; but Germans claimed this colony should be credited to them, in recognition of the Hapsburg influence in Holland. Surveying these debates, a Steuben Society chapter resolved to seek “an end of race conflicts among the white citizens of America.” Even as they celebrated their own heroes, different “racials” could unite behind a shared European ancestry—and a shared enmity for England.23 Significantly, nonwhite activists also joined the assault on history texts in the 1920s. In Chicago the Grand Council Fire of American Indians complained that the schoolbooks neglected Pocahontas, Tecumseh, and Chief Joseph. Such heroes embodied a “real 100 per cent Americanism,” the council continued, since Indians predated all white migration to the United States. Attacks on textbooks by other ethnic groups also galvanized Chicago’s African-Americans, who sensed that “there is no better time than now for us to place our claim for recognition,” as a Black newspaper argued. Since Thompson had proposed adding sixteen white ethnic heroes to the city’s texts, the newspaper added, African-Americans should receive an equivalent

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apportionment. It even offered to send him the names of sixteen Black luminaries, along with “biographical sketches” of each. “Are we content to take a back seat as the parade of boasting passes by?” a Black Chicagoan asked. “I tell you No! a thousand times, No! A different Negro is now coming to the front.”24 Yet textbooks took little account of the achievements of Black or Indian Americans, instead harping on their alleged inferiority. Indeed, both groups had to combat not just historical neglect—the common plight of white ethnics—but also “base untruths,” a Black spokesman complained. Texts routinely depicted Native Americans as barbaric savages, scalping white settlers and slaying white heroes like George Custer. Even so, a Black observer hastened to add, textbooks “have done worse by the Negro than by the Indians.” Whereas Indians were merely deemed warlike, he noted, texts portrayed Blacks as childlike; they were cheerful and affectionate, to be sure, but also fearful and superstitious. “The laziness, shiftlessness, and irresponsibility of the Negro [are] part of his racial heredity,” a textbook used in Philadelphia flatly asserted in its discussion of slavery. “Most [slaves] accepted their fate stoically, for their moral ideals were low and their conceptions of family life undeveloped.” Worst of all were the textbooks’ accounts of the Reconstruction era, when rude and licentious Blacks supposedly looted—or, even worse, raped—an innocent white South.25 Praising Mayor Thompson as a “champion of all the oppressed races,” a Black newspaper in New York urged African-Americans across the country to support his campaign in defense of the nation’s multi-ethnic patriots. Thus far, the paper acknowledged, Thompson had failed to include Blacks in his roster of the historically neglected. Since Blacks had backed his recent election bid in overwhelming numbers, however, they might induce him to grant their race “due credit for the heroes and patriots it has produced.” Often denounced for pandering to AfricanAmericans, Thompson seems to have ignored their appeals. He did meet with Indian textbook critics, by contrast, assuring them of his full cooperation. (Ever the showman, Thompson donned an Indian headdress of eagle feathers and performed a “war dance.”)26 Even when they prevailed in the textbook wars, racial and ethnic groups also had to worry about their putative allies: white patriotic

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societies. In the same breath as he applauded Thompson, for example, a Black journalist fretted that the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and even the Ku Klux Klan had also backed Thompson’s crusade. Such groups used patriotism as a “cloak of convenience,” the journalist continued, hiding a host of “sins and inconsistencies” against African-Americans. Likewise, patriotic societies feared that Irish, German, and Black activists would make their own crusade look “ludicrous,” as one leader of the SAR complained. Most concerned of all was the KKK, which welcomed Thompson’s barbs against “pro-British propaganda” but warned that a far more nefarious foreign agent was at work. “During the last few years an influx of pictures, stories and garbled accounts of Roman Catholic heroes has found its way into these textbooks,” a KKK editorial charged. “This Thompson attack . . . did not touch this vast evil.”27 As the 1920s wore on, in fact, increasing numbers of Protestant nativists supported the “new” history as a way of stemming immigrants’ influence. Bigots backed critical readings of the past, that is, not to open more minds to history but to shut ethnic Americans out of it.

Cracks in the Coalition William Morris was bitter. Surveying a decade of conflict over history textbooks, the New York newspaperman shuddered at the inaccuracies and exaggerations that still pervaded them. At the universities, he conceded, professional historians had revised simplistic, black-andwhite accounts of the American Revolution and other central events in the nation’s past. Yet too many schoolbooks still indulged in an oldfashioned “fairy tale,” depicting Revolutionists as “demi-gods” and every British leader as “a deep-dyed scoundrel.” They also inflated the deeds of non-English heroes, capitulating to the whims of a polyglot citizenry. “Americans of Polish, German, Irish, Negro, Jewish, Hungarian, and Dutch origin all demanded that they be given credit in the making of America,” Morris wrote in 1930. “Only two sides were ignored, the British and the historians.” In Chicago, most of all, Mayor Thompson and his cronies promoted books that “flattered the national

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vanity” of ethnic voting blocs. “There is no bloc of English voters,” Morris tartly claimed.28 Of course, this claim was an exaggeration. Despite a huge influx of Eastern and Southern Europeans prior to the Immigration Restriction Act of 1924, Morris and his fellow citizens of British descent still made up a sizable plurality of America’s population. For members of patriotic and hereditary societies, then, the textbook controversy of the 1920s was fraught with ambivalence. Fearful of any movement that might erode faith in the nation’s founders, groups like the SAR and the American Legion united with ethnic societies to keep more critical interpretations out of textbooks. But they also feared that these same ethnics might erode their own white Protestant superiority, throwing out the Anglo-Saxon baby with the pro-English bathwater. “Our textbooks need not be anti-British,” the SAR’s president-general declared hopefully in 1922, “to be truly American.” The trick, it seemed, was to venerate the Founding Fathers without maligning the Mother Country.29 Often these tensions remained veiled from the general public. In Wisconsin, patriotic and ethnic societies eagerly locked arms to win a 1923 law barring any text “which falsifies the facts regarding the War of Independence” or “defames our nation’s founders.” The measure required a public hearing upon the complaint of five citizens, “be they Daughters of the American Revolution, or Irish-Americans,” as one critic pointedly warned. Back East, however, these two groups were already feuding. In a speech to commemorate the tercentenary of the Pilgrims’ arrival, the DAR’s president-general told a Massachusetts audience that Americans were “English in our history and tradition”; other ethnic groups had contributed to the nation’s greatness, she acknowledged, but they had also “become Anglicized in the end.” The response from the Bay State’s large Irish community was swift and irate. The Pilgrims were themselves rebels from England, one Irishman argued, deriving their ideas from the “Dutch Republic” of the Renaissance and—even more venerably—from the “Hebrew Commonwealth” of scripture. Their DAR patron was simply a “Tory,” he added, hardly worthy of her own Revolutionary heritage.30

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Meanwhile, ethnic and patriotic groups also clashed over textbook accounts of more recent American history. Even as he condemned class-based interpretations of the Revolution, the Knights of Columbus leader Edward F. McSweeney maintained that subsequent events had been powered more by “greed” and “the accumulation of wealth” than by “spiritual impulse” or “moral urge.” Indeed, text critics admitted, they needed a sacred Revolution if they were to critique the profane social inequality that followed it. “I have known reformers to do many foolish things, but nothing else so foolish as . . . the discrediting of the American Revolution,” wrote Charles Edward Russell, a socialist muckraker and a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “If they have merit they consciously or unconsciously seek to complete [its] ideals.” Without those ideals, an Irish-American activist asserted, no one could attack “Big Money” and its contemporary corruption of national life. Little wonder, he argued, that leading industrialists feared the simple, unadorned message of the Revolution: all men are created equal. It might undermine their own power, just as it had helped topple George III.31 Here ethnic groups frequently joined hands with labor unions, which also demanded that history texts address modern “social and economic matters” like unemployment, collective bargaining, and workmen’s compensation.32 Yet any such text material drew fire from Anglo-Saxon patriotic leaders, who feared its “anti-American” or even “socialist” implications. Too often, they charged, textbooks exaggerated the problems and perils of the Industrial Revolution; by the same token, the books seemed too friendly toward “Progressive” measures aimed at correcting its consequences. In Idaho the SAR blasted one text for its “one-sided” discussions of the income tax, the direct primary, and the “labor question.” Written by the popular “new” historian Willis Mason West, the book devoted more pages to the exploits of three Progressive legislators—Robert La Follette, Hiram Johnson, and “the almost forgotten William Uren”—than to “the entire military history of the Revolutionary War,” an enraged Idahoan noted.33 Significantly, even left-leaning ethnic critics echoed the Idahoan’s anger: for ethnics and Anglos alike, the Revolution trumped every other concern. In Wisconsin an Irish activist and self-proclaimed

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“LaFollette Progressive” joined with American Legion leaders to condemn several “treasonous” texts—including West’s History of the American People, the very book that patriotic societies deemed too friendly to La  Follette. Its introductory pages seemed to “malign the nation’s founders,” the Irish critic argued, thus “poison[ing] the well where the children drink”—and polluting any positive features of West’s later chapters. Elsewhere a Legion official ridiculed the widespread ethnic accusation that Muzzey, West, and other scholars had conspired with England to slant school histories. But in the same breath he blasted these books for underscoring “the blunders, foibles and frailties of prominent heroes.” Whatever the source of text bias, he concluded, Legionnaires should work to bar the biased texts.34 Outside the large patriotic societies, by contrast, ethnic considerations caused many white Protestants to support “new” history books. Some advocates were openly Anglophilic, praising Muzzey and other authors for placing Great Britain in a better light.35 More commonly, however, they celebrated the new scholarship for the same reason that immigrants censured it: by reinterpreting the Revolution as a clash of socioeconomic forces, it promised to diminish non-English heroes who had aided the cause. “Put none but Americans on guard when we make up our histories,” warned a New Jersey nativist, “or . . . they will have George Washington either an Irishman or a German.” A Boston newspaper published a satirical “Declaration Av Indipindense,” which argued that “the Oirish did all the foighting” in the Revolutionary War. In a similar spirit, a Dallas editorial mocked German-American efforts to claim Abraham Lincoln as one of their own: “The German origin of Honest Abe clashes with the Italian theory. Lincoln under this theory becomes L’Inchiostro, meaning ‘the ink’ . . . The Chinese theory proves direct descent from the famous Lin family, Lin Kong being as perfect Chinese as you could expect to find in a month of Sundays. Abraham Llyncollyn was Welsh beyond a doubt, and the origin of Abraham Linsky-Cohen needs no further explanation.”36 Other white Protestants sported a much harsher brand of bigotry, condemning ethnic text activists as “Sinn Fein agitators,” “hyphenates,” and “so-called Americans.” They added jabs at Anglo-Saxons who continued to ally with the ethnics, thereby allowing “distorted historical

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facts” to enter the classroom. “Patriotic organizations should protect the children . . . from the efforts of these turbulent unassimilated immigrants,” an anonymous New York teacher wrote, “and should protect our sacred history.” A Massachusetts correspondent congratulated the textbook author Claude Van Tyne for shredding “the whole fabric of Hibernian political philosophy,” which was premised upon the “unmitigated tyranny” of English rule. The most vicious attack came from Dr. M. M. Yates, a cranky bigot in Santa Barbara, California. “Roman catholic–Vatican conspirators . . . are rushing events along, to dispossess all Americans—and destroy all History,” Yates wrote to Van Tyne. “Even now, our Traitor politicians are abetting and comforting the reptiles to make a Catholic History—leaving out all facts of their damnable assassinations and wrecking of laws!”37 Such expressions of nativist support placed historians in a difficult spot. On the one hand, they welcomed any assistance they could get in defending their beleaguered textbooks. But they also feared that aid from the wrong quarters could further alienate ethnic constituencies. Most historians fashioned themselves as liberal on issues of race and ethnicity, moreover, so they bridled at any outward identification with anti-immigrant sentiment. Indeed, they tended to dismiss both ethnic hero worship and white nativism as functions of a “boastful, intolerant nationalism,” as the historian Carleton Hayes wrote in 1926. Traditionally, Hayes noted, white Protestant patriotic societies had led the drive for a “100 percent American” history curriculum. But now other ethnicities were getting in on the act, all aiming to impose their own “special group-loyalties” upon the schools: “Every religious group and every racial group and every sub-national group contends with others for official recognition of its distinctive status as ‘American.’ The time may come when, by the spirited stirrings of ultra-nationalists, the American melting-pot will be a seething cauldron of fiery nonfusible nationalisms.”38 The following year a prominent ethnic spokesman celebrated the same enduring affiliations that Hayes maligned. Addressing the “Concord Society,” named after the ship that brought the first Germans to America, John Andrew Russell praised the society’s efforts to enshrine its heroes in statues, holiday celebrations, and especially school text-

Ethnicity and the History Wars * 27

books. Without such activity, he argued, America’s rich fabric of race and ethnicity would lose its special texture: “Our country is a composite country, and some people, whose rhetoric is drawn from the science of metallurgy, like to think of our civilization as being the result of a melting pot. I cannot believe that literature and culture and spirituality are things that are gross, like copper, iron and lead, to be brought together by the destructive action of fire. I rather like to think . . . of each and every race drawing its own beautiful design upon the common background of humanity.”39 Here, perhaps unwittingly, Russell echoed the pluralist philosophy developed by Randolph Bourne, Horace Kallen, John Dewey, and other liberal theorists of the era. Denouncing the melting pot’s homogenizing tendencies, Bourne described America as a complex tapestry of distinct—but interwoven—threads. Kallen preferred the image of an orchestra, with each instrument contributing its own unique pitch to the grand national concert. Such views found little currency in the 1920s, Dewey acknowledged, when a mean-spirited, monotonal nationalism swept the land. In schools, then, children should study—and celebrate—America’s “different racial elements.” Only then, Dewey believed, would the nation rediscover the “natural, old-fashioned toleration” and the “unified social consciousness” that a truly democratic polity required.40 In a similar vein, historians of the 1920s have depicted a clash between an ascendant Protestant nationalism and a more tolerant, polyethnic tradition. But nationalism won, the historians add, stamping out America’s glorious pluralist heritage. The victory was never complete, of course; ethnic Americans, as Gary Gerstle notes, continued their dogged quest to “turn . . . cultural policy in a more liberal direction.” But this was a rear-guard action, stalled and then quashed by a newly energized state and its henchmen in right-wing citizen groups. By the Great Depression, if not earlier, “the forces of social control and conformity” had overwhelmed most vestiges of “pluralism and individualism” in the United States.41 As the controversy over school history textbooks reveals, though, cultural pluralism itself could reinforce ideological conformity. Across the country, racial and ethnic groups successfully inserted colorful new

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characters into American history textbooks. But at the same time they blocked a more critical, sophisticated analysis of the nation’s founding narrative. Indeed, the inclusion of new groups in textbooks helped shape a cheerfully banal, even jingoistic version of this narrative. Diversity and critical history both remain worthy goals. But we should resist the easy presupposition that one will spawn the other. In 1924 Irish-Americans blasted a peace activist’s “insidious attempt” to eliminate the most violent stanza of “The Star Spangled Banner” from New York textbooks. The revision, they argued, would bolster Great Britain, devalue America’s cause in the War of 1812, and degrade the Irish martyrs who died in that war. Other ethnic groups joined in the attack, claiming that any critical investigation of the war would cheapen their special contribution to it.42 No ethnic leader asked why the United States entered the conflict, how it was conducted, or whether American schoolchildren should celebrate it. Each “race” could have its heroes sung, it seemed, but no race could question the underlying melody that united them all.



“American children are being taught a conception of the character, capacity, history, and achievements of the Negro utterly at variance with the facts, and calculated to arouse against him feelings of aversion and contempt.” So declared the newly established Committee on Public School Textbooks, forged by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1932. Just a decade earlier, committee chair Charles Edward Russell recalled, ethnic and patriotic societies had blocked textbooks’ supposedly pro-British interpretations of the American Revolution. Now the NAACP would organize a comparable attack on the books’ anti-Negro bias, focusing especially on their flawed analyses of the Civil War and its aftermath. “We fought them to a standstill about the Revolution,” Russell averred, “and we can do the same here.”1 South of the Mason-Dixon Line, however, many white critics charged that these very texts maligned them. Just a few days before the NAACP’s first textbook salvo, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) and the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) began their own effort to bar David S. Muzzey’s An American History from schools in Virginia. A frequent target of Black complaints, Muzzey combined a gentle criticism of southern slavery and secession with a rank condemnation of “Negro rule” during Reconstruction. To Dixie’s die-hard white defenders, even a mild rebuke of the South was one rebuke too many. As outraged Virginians told their state legislature, Muzzey deemed the Confederacy a “rebellion” and Abraham Lincoln

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the South’s “savior.” (“Saved,” an SCV officer quipped, “by invasion and coercion.”) Indeed, the UDC leader Anne V. Mann insisted, the entire episode highlighted the need for so-called homemade books—that is, for texts produced by southern authors and publishing houses. “North is North and South is South,” Mann proclaimed, “and I don’t think the twain ever shall meet, at least not in a history textbook.”2 No such split marked the battle against “pro-British” textbooks in the 1920s, when African-Americans locked arms with other ethnic groups to inscribe their heroes—Thaddeus Kosciusko, Haym Solomon, Crispus Attucks—in accounts of America’s struggle for independence. Even southern veterans joined the multicultural cavalcade, successfully inserting—or inflating—the Revolutionary exploits of Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, and other regional notables.3 Yet the issues surrounding America’s great internal conflict could not be settled in this additive, come-one-come-all fashion. Narrating the Civil War, Americans did not just contend over which heroes to include; they contested the narrative itself. Especially in the South, citizens sensed the difference. “History!” exclaimed a South Carolina newspaper in 1914, blasting “lopsided” northern texts. “Whose History? Written by Whom?”4 Similar questions reverberated across the American South well into the 1940s, challenging what historians have described as a new national synthesis surrounding the Civil War. Galvanized by the conflict with Spain in 1898, North and South reached a “negotiated settlement of sectional differences,” as Peter Novick argues. Southerners conceded that secession was unconstitutional and slavery was wrong, although its evils had been widely exaggerated by sly Yankee historians; northerners tempered their criticism of slavery but accelerated their attacks on Reconstruction. Captured in countless textbooks as well as in monographs, movies, and novels, this devil’s bargain dominated mainstream interpretations for at least a half-century.5 But accounts of this agreement tend to neglect two important groups who dissented from it: African-Americans and white Confederate societies. While Black intellectuals like W. E. B. Du Bois led the scholarly struggle for a nonracist history, southern Black classrooms were already teaching that history: from Maryland to Mississippi, Black high schools adopted special textbooks by African-Americans and offered special courses about

Struggles over Race and Sectionalism * 3 1

them.6 At the other end of the spectrum, neo-Confederates promoted a distinct, rigidly pro-southern set of texts for white students. Refusing to concede even a scintilla of Dixie honor to the invading Yankee horde, these orthodox books dominated white schools for at least forty years.7 Three important differences separated the neo-Confederate and African-American textbook campaigns. The first was the astounding success of the former. Whereas African-Americans influenced a single course in a subset of Black schools, Confederate loyalists controlled the entire history curriculum in thousands of white ones. As early as 1913 the historian William Dodd could report with horror—and with only slight hyperbole—that “two distinct histories are taught in the schools”: one above the Mason-Dixon Line, and one below it.8 Exiled from Dixie for his deviations from Confederate dogma, Dodd also emphasized white southerners’ open disdain for the modern, “scientific” history that he practiced. Whereas most Black activists tried to wrap themselves in this mantle, neo-Confederate groups often invoked a perspectivist—even relativist—argument to counter it. Views of the past depended on where you stood in the present, southerners argued; and they stood in Dixie, repository of a culture and wisdom that Yankees could never comprehend. Finally, the Confederate movement engaged women far more frequently than any other American textbook campaign, including the Black one. Into the 1940s, southern white women policed the unyielding sectional orthodoxy of southern white textbooks.9

The Neo-Confederate Challenge Barely three decades after the Civil War concluded, America’s two largest veterans’ groups both called for a unified schoolbook that would bind them together. “We are a single nation and have a single history,” intoned the New York commander of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1897. “There need be no diversity of views.” In the South, similarly, a United Confederate Veterans (UCV) official demanded “a true national history” for all U.S. classrooms. “There shall not be one history for Massachusetts and another for South Carolina,” declared the Mississippi war hero Stephen D. Lee, chair of the UCV’s history committee,

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“but Americans everywhere shall read the same books.” The following year Lee predicted that the Spanish-American War would link North and South “at home”—that is, in their textbooks—as well as “on the field of battle.” He was echoed by no less a personage than Woodrow Wilson, scion of Old Virginia and president of Princeton University. “I have long desired to prepare an impartial school history of the United States, especially for the use of Southern schools,” Wilson wrote to the UCV in February 1898. “I know how dissatisfied the Southern schools are with histories written with a decided Northern bias.”10 Meanwhile, each side pressured textbook companies, school boards, and legislatures to create—or adopt—products to their liking. Publishers did their best to placate both camps, removing red-flag terms like “rebel” and inserting passages that described the Civil War from northern and southern perspectives. By 1904 the Grand Army of the Republic was satisfied enough to disband its school history committee. But the United Confederate Veterans—and particularly their burgeoning sister society, the United Daughters of the Confederacy—were not so easily appeased. Stepping up their textbook campaigns, southerners especially targeted so-called neutral or balanced histories “on the order of . . . ‘we thought we were right,’ rather than ‘we were right,’” as one Virginia veteran wrote. “We did know we were right then, and we do know it now . . . And we have the right, therefore, to insist that our children shall be told the truth about it, and we should be content with nothing less.” So much for Woodrow Wilson’s dream of an “impartial” history, uniting both halves of America. For white southerners, indeed, the very term came to imply almost the inverse of what Wilson intended: since southern truth was impartial, they argued, any trace of Yankee sentiment reflected sectional bias. “I have written forty five letters in regard to school histories,” wrote a Kentucky UDC official, detailing her efforts to bar “balanced” textbooks. “We must have Southern histories, non-partisan.”11 By 1911, the “Golden Jubilee” of the Civil War’s first crossfire, the UDC had become the leading enforcer of textbook orthodoxy in the American South. Text agitation by the UCV and other male veterans’ groups declined, reflecting these groups’ overall decrease in size as well as their dampened “feelings of sectional recrimination,” the his-

Struggles over Race and Sectionalism * 33

torian Cecelia O’Leary writes. Within the UDC, by contrast, membership multiplied and sectionalism continued to swell. Quadrupling in membership between 1900 and 1920, the UDC appointed hundreds of state and local “historians” to demand school texts that vindicated “the South’s right to self-determination,” as the Virginia UDC historian Mary Carter declared in 1925. Although she was not a “real historian,” Carter added, she had personally distributed thousands of pieces of “pure” southern literature to schools and educational officials.12 At the helm of this campaign stood Mildred Lewis Rutherford, the UDC’s historian-general from 1911 to 1916 and its leading textbook critic until her death in 1928. Principal of a female academy in Athens, Georgia, the indefatigable Rutherford sent out reams of circulars and personal letters imploring UDC women to monitor their local school texts. Most important, “Miss Millie,” as she was affectionately called, wrote and distributed at least twenty-nine books and pamphlets to help these field workers define and defend “true” southern history. “Do not reject a textbook because it omits to mention your father, your grandfather, your personal friend,” Rutherford warned in her best-known work, A Measuring Rod to Test Textbooks (1919). “But reject a book that speaks of the Constitution other than [as] a Compact between Sovereign States . . . that calls the Confederate soldier a traitor or rebel, and the war a rebellion . . . that says the South fought to hold her slaves . . . that speaks of the slaveholder of the South as cruel and unjust to his slaves . . . that glorifies Abraham Lincoln and vilifies Jefferson Davis.”13 For Rutherford and her followers, these propositions formed the basic pentagon of southern textbook orthodoxy. As in any geometric figure, the sides were connected. Since the Constitution bound states into a federal government—not into a “national” one—the southern states had every legal and moral right to secede; and the North, not the South, violated America’s founding principles. (“There was a rebellion,” Rutherford told her state and local UDC aides, “but it was north of Mason and Dixon’s line.”) Once under attack, the South fought back— but only to defend these constitutional principles, not to maintain the bondage of African-Americans. Slavery required no such protection, because it was benign: slaves, Rutherford insisted, “were the happiest set of people on the face of the globe, free from care or thought of

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food, clothes, home.” Why, then, did the North invade? The South’s answer had two simple words: Abraham Lincoln. “The war between the States was deliberately and personally conceived” by Lincoln, a UCV committee resolved in 1922, quoting a pamphlet that Rutherford distributed, “and he was personally responsible for forcing the war upon the South.” Hardly a suitable model for young children, Rutherford added, Lincoln used foul language and once even denied the divinity of Christ. By contrast, the South’s own president was a paragon of probity. Jefferson Davis “never stood for coarse jokes, never violated the Constitution, never stood for retaliation,” she noted. “Lincoln stood for all of these.”14 Yet wherever southerners looked, “false” textbooks predominated. Almost all major turn-of-the-century textbook companies were headquartered in the North, critics stressed, and their wares reflected the bias of their region. In Richmond local veterans complained in 1895 that one text depicted the Emancipation Proclamation as “patriotic and proper” rather than as “a palpable violation of the Constitution.” Nine years later outraged members of Maryland’s UDC found that one of their state texts still described Lincoln as “one of the wisest and greatest men of history.” Nor were other subjects in the curriculum immune to this Yankee infection. New Orleans schools taught music from a book containing both “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” (“intense in its Northern sentiment,” Louisiana veterans snarled) and an updated version of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which celebrated Black Americans as “the millions unchained.” In Texas, meanwhile, a local UCV chapter discovered children using an arithmetic text that required them to calculate Ulysses S. Grant’s age on the day he captured Vicksburg. After veterans petitioned the governor to remove the text from the state’s list of approved texts, its publisher promised to issue a new edition. The revised text would replace its “Yankee word problem” with a more sectionally appropriate question, asking students to determine the amount of time between Texas’s independence from Mexico and its annexation by the United States.15 The Texas episode exemplifies the most common pattern of southern textbook development: Confederate groups complained about a text, then the publisher altered it. “The mist of error is rapidly passing

Struggles over Race and Sectionalism * 35

away,” boasted one Virginia veteran in 1897. Textbook houses, he added, “are now apologizing to the South, saying they will revise, correct, and republish.” At least one company even solicited the UCV’s feedback before its books went to press, offering to make “any corrections or changes” that the veterans suggested. By 1904 a UCV text committee in Louisiana proudly reported that the worst snubs against the South— especially charges of “treason” and “rebellion”—had been excised from its state texts. Other Confederate groups bragged that they had successfully pressured publishers to discard or replace entire chapters, including one textbook’s discussion of the causes of the Civil War.16 To many white southerners, however, these changes were insufficient. Publishers frequently removed some objectionable passages but retained others, leaving Dixie’s loyal defenders with half a loaf.17 Other companies released special “southern” or even distinct state editions, complying with most of the Confederates’ wishes but spiking suspicions all the same. As one Missouri UDC woman argued, any author who would revise his textbook “to suit the fancy and desire of each State and community” was “unworthy of belief ”—and might be persuaded to revise again in the opposite direction, if the price was right. Moreover, critics warned, even a separate southern version of a northern book was bound to embody Yankee biases, publishers’ pious assurances aside. A special Alabama edition of Muzzey’s An American History still condemned the South for slavery and secession, for example, albeit in far gentler terms than the northern version did.18 Across the former Confederacy, then, activists devised other means to uphold orthodox Dixie history. The most common tactic was the student essay contest, which encouraged children to collect their own material—and to contest their northern textbooks. Mississippi’s UDC offered a prize for the best essay that drew on interviews with exslaveholders, who would presumably help students perceive the justice and prudence of human bondage in the Old South. “Today we are resting under the shadow of the New England version of slavery,” a UDC official wrote in 1912, in a letter to Mississippi high schools announcing the contest. Yet, she emphasized, “the best testimony can be gathered from the actual witnesses of the institution now fast disappearing. This would be REAL history.” Award-winning entries left little doubt

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about what version of veracity the UDC desired. In Virginia’s Pittsylvania County the high school pupil Elise Dodson received a five-dollar gold medal for an essay that deemed slavery “the happiest time of the negroes’ existence.” Basing her conclusions on Confederate memoirs as well as on “conversations with elderly persons,” Dodson acknowledged that a tiny minority of slaveowners had abused their bondsmen. For the most part, however, interracial harmony had pervaded the southern plantation: “The slave was a member of the family, often a privileged member. He was the playmate, brother, exemplar, friend, and companion of the white man from cradle to grave.”19 Here the Virginia schoolgirl unwittingly echoed the emerging defenses of slavery by a handful of younger historians, especially the Georgia-born scholar Ulrich B. Phillips. Yet Phillips’s outright praise of southern bondage reflected a minority perspective within the profession, where a mildly censorious view of slavery still held sway. Rather than seeking allies among the rising coterie of so-called scientific historians, Confederate groups often challenged the entire concept of science—indeed, of objectivity—in history. In a 1917 exchange with the Harvard historian Albert B. Hart, Mildred Rutherford cited a long list of memoirs and monographs in defense of the Old South. When Hart dismissed these accounts as relics of the “dark ages,” Rutherford invoked the authority of her own advanced age and the memories that accompanied it. “With great respect for your ability and learning, and with no desire to question your research, I do know, Dr. Hart, you are wrong,” underlined Rutherford, who had been almost ten years old when the Civil War started. “I lived in those early days and I know whom of I speak.”20 Unlike Hart and his fellow Yankees, a Dallas bookseller added, southerners had actually experienced slavery and its aftermath. “Why don’t these New England Negro-lovers let us alone?” J. T. Jenkins asked: We know that the Negroes are an inferior Race of people, We know that we have been taxed Millions of Dollars to educate him during the last 40 years, and we know that you can count on your fingers the men of a Race of Nine Millions of people who have dome [sic] or said anything to impress itself on the reader of History fifty years

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from now . . . Let the learned Doctor [Hart] go into the Blackest of the Black belt, and stay there two or three years, and when he goes back to the people who originally sold us the Negroes—the New Englanders—he will be better qualified to write of our troubles.21

Echoing northern patriotic societies, meanwhile, other southerners feared the methods of “scientific” history more than its supposed Yankee bias. Even in textbooks that shared their views of slavery and secession, critics claimed, too much concern with impersonal “causes” and “forces” would sap children’s faith in their forefathers. “No child can really understand the vastly complex relations of historical events,” a panel of Virginia veterans argued, “but any child’s imagination . . . may be fired by the recital of great deeds.” Well into the 1920s, southern loyalists joined with their erstwhile Yankee enemies to stop—or at least to slow—the entry of “new” history into American schools. Like any marriage of convenience, the union suffered periodic strains. Patriotic groups attacked southern veterans for brushing over the Confederacy’s crimes; Dixie activists condemned the “Roman Catholic-Irish group” in the North for its “Kaiser-phile” assault on textbooks’ alleged proBritish spirit, as UCV’s historian-in-chief Arthur Jennings reported in 1923. Still, Jennings stressed, the two regional campaigns faced the same small set of foes: David Muzzey, Albert Hart, and other “new” historians. So he held out an olive branch to ethnic text critics in the North, holding his nose all the while.22 In the early 1930s, however, southerners unearthed two unlikely allies in the groves of “scientific” history: Charles and Mary Beard. Ever since the appearance of Charles Beard’s Economic Interpretation of the Constitution (1913), text critics in both regions had blasted the Beards’ class-based analysis of America’s birth and early development.23 But when the Beards applied this lens to the nation’s sectional conflict, especially in their best-selling Rise of American Civilization (1927), Dixie die-hards seized on it. By reinterpreting the Civil War as an essentially economic clash—northern capitalists versus southern planters—the Beards minimized its moral dimensions, particularly those surrounding slavery. Less than a decade after reviling “scientific” history, then, some southerners began to invoke it. In 1938, for example, the national

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commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans urged schools to embrace “the modern scientific trend” of “politico-economic” explanation. Too many textbooks still depicted the Civil War as a “moral” struggle, he complained, pitting freedom-loving Yankees against slavedriving southern aristocrats. Since “the seeds of sectional dissension were sown and grown in the field of economics,” texts should stress the two regions’ distinctive patterns of industry and agriculture rather than their respective claims of Right and Wrong.24 For at least one American critic, though, this effort at moral distancing represented an egregious moral disaster. As a scholar with strong socialist sympathies, W. E. B. Du Bois endorsed the Beards’ concern for America’s “‘poor down trodden’ common people”; indeed, one of Charles Beard’s earlier textbooks listed Du Bois as a reference, sparking loud objections among southern whites. Yet in their Rise of American Civilization, Du Bois complained, the Beards had omitted any mark of concern for the most downtrodden Americans of all. “Our histories tend to discuss American slavery so impartially, that in the end nobody seems to have done wrong and everybody was right,” Du Bois wrote in Black Reconstruction (1935), citing the Beards and several other scholars. “The difference of development, North and South, is explained as a sort of working out of cosmic social and economic law.” No textbook explained the evils of slavery, the courage of the abolition movement, or—most of all—the freedman’s struggle for dignity and democracy. “Can all this be omitted or half suppressed,” Du Bois asked, “in a treatise that calls itself scientific?” Even as southern whites began to embrace “scientific” history, it seemed, African-Americans had started to assail it.25

The Struggle for Negro History Next to Du Bois, the best-known scholar of Black history in the United States was Carter G. Woodson. The founder and longtime leader of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), Woodson wrote textbooks for special “Negro history” courses in all-Black schools. But some African-Americans opposed these courses, arguing

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that Negroes should be integrated into the regular curriculum. “True enough,” Woodson retorted, “but how can it be done when the Negro is either omitted entirely from the texts used or mentioned only to be condemned?” One day, Woodson hoped, Americans would chronicle the achievements of all races “as one record.” Until then, Black Americans would have to rely on “devices”—special courses and texts—to “get the neglected truth before the youth.” Historical truth required a separate history, at least for the foreseeable future. But at the same time, Woodson complained, other AfricanAmericans promoted a history that was separate but not true. Here he took aim at amateur Black historians and their acolytes, who “would increase the volume of Negro history by identifying as Negroes ‘white persons’ who had any imperceptible infusion of Negro blood.” To these polemicists, the roster of famous Blacks included the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon, Mohammed, Socrates, and even Christ. Woodson had little patience for such “pseudo-historians,” whose fulsome fantasies betrayed their ignorance of Blacks’ actual achievements. “The story of the Negro is too brilliant to be neglected for such trifles played up frequently by writers who are not scientifically trained,” he insisted. “This is an unnecessary effort to make history to order.”26 Together, Woodson’s remarks encapsulate Blacks’ two crucial internal debates in the struggle to insert their past into the American curriculum. As a host of present-day historians have shown, scholars like Woodson and Du Bois challenged whites’ interpretations of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.27 But Blacks differed sharply among themselves, too, debating the best means of spreading their story— separate courses versus “integrated” ones—and even the meaning of “Black” itself. From the turn of the century until World War II, the separationists held sway: like white neo-Confederate groups, Blacks sought and often won special textbooks and classes for their children in the segregated South. Unlike Dixie’s white loyalists, however, African-American leaders also aimed to dress their separate past in the modern, professional garb of “scientific” history. Here they provoked attacks from Black polemicists, not just from white bigots. For if African-Americans should rule their own history, Black critics asked,

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which African-Americans should write it? And why not laypeople, who understood Blacks’ true sorrow and triumph much better than any self-touted “expert” scholar did? Born to ex-slaves in Virginia, Woodson inherited the popular Black credo that history should promote “race pride.” But he fused this ethos with the modern drive for scientific history, which he absorbed during his graduate study at Harvard under Albert B. Hart. Condemned by white southerners as a “Negro lover,” Hart actually believed that Blacks were an inferior race. Yet he imbued Woodson with a deep reverence for the techniques of professional history, especially its emphasis on documentary evidence. Throughout his career, Woodson never wavered from these dual commitments; indeed, he never discerned a conflict between them. “Of course, the racial motive remains—legitimately compatible with scientific method and aim,” one supporter wrote in 1925, neatly summarizing Woodson’s approach.28 Woodson promulgated his views via the ASNLH, which he founded in 1916 and directed until his death in 1950. Composed mainly of teachers and other Black professionals, the ASNLH did not develop the grassroots breadth of white southern organizations like the United Daughters of the Confederacy. But its sway far exceeded its size, especially after Woodson inaugurated Negro History Week in 1926. Spurred by the ASNLH’s relentless leafleting, Black schools across the South sponsored pageants, speeches, and artwork commemorating notable African-Americans. The following year a Virginia newspaper reported “unprecedented” demand for Negro history. Primary schools introduced the subject into their reading lessons, while Black groups across the South attacked racist history texts in their high schools. Already, Woodson boasted, several districts had ordered “the disuse of undesirable textbooks” and “the removal of the most glaring faults of certain others by careful revision.” Other victories were sure to follow.29 Within the next few years, however, Woodson’s strategy shifted. Rather than simply removing offensive texts, he argued, Blacks should aim to replace them with books—and eventually courses—of their own. Woodson himself had written a college textbook, The Negro in Our History, which a handful of Black high schools adopted in the

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1920s. He also published an elementary school version (Negro Makers of History) and later a more specially tailored high school edition (The Story of the Negro Retold). For other subjects, moreover, a growing range of Black-oriented textbooks were available. As early as 1929, for example, pupils in Washington, D.C., studied a book on “Negro Poets” in English class as well as a biography of the Haitian patriot Toussaint L’Ouverture in French class.30 Before any child received a Black-oriented text, of course, white school officials would have to approve it. Since most Blacks still lived in the South—and since most southern school systems centralized their textbook adoptions—the ASNLH first petitioned state educators below the Mason-Dixon Line for their imprimatur. Woodson feared that these officials would rebuff him, but his worries proved groundless: across the South, white educational leaders expressed nearly unanimous praise for his textbooks. Visiting North Carolina in 1930, Woodson’s aide Lorenzo J. Greene got a “splendid” greeting from school officials, “as cordial as a Negro could expect to receive from any Northern white man and, if anything, more genuine,” Greene gushed. Tar Heel educators quickly agreed to adopt two of Woodson’s books, provided that the publisher slashed prices to bring the texts “within the buying power of the Negro family.” By the end of the decade at least three other states—Delaware, Oklahoma, and South Carolina—had adopted special texts about Black history or literature for their Black public schools.31 Elsewhere in the South, states placed several Black history texts on their “approved” lists and let school districts decide whether to adopt them. Just like state officials, meanwhile, local white school boards embraced Black history—for Black students. As early as 1931, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Tulsa had all adopted Negro history texts; by 1935 New Orleans and Birmingham had done the same. Black history also spread into rural regions, where the majority of African-Americans still resided. The roster of southern towns adopting Black history texts reads like an old train map connecting hundreds of tiny whistle-stops. From Boley, Oklahoma, to Bessemer, Alabama; from Gonzales, Texas, to Goldsboro, North Carolina; in one-room shacks and newly con-

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solidated high schools, Black children read Black history from special Black-oriented textbooks. Moreover, white school boards encouraged them to do so.32 Indeed, these same boards often approved separate history courses for African-Americans. Occasionally the classes were compulsory: in Atlanta students could not graduate from Booker T. Washington High School without passing its famous Negro History class. More commonly, though, Black history was provided as an elective. In a 1933 survey 50 of 174 southern Black high schools offered such a course; just eight years earlier only eight of them had done so. The electives proved most popular in the Deep South, where Blacks were “more concentrated” and “race consciousness [had] reached a fairly high degree of development,” according to the survey’s director. Nearly all of Mississippi’s Black high schools offered Negro history; in Alabama more than three hundred students in the state’s largest Black school elected to take it. In the Southwest, too, white school boards approved the course. “Negro boys and girls should know the outstanding and commendable people of their race,” asserted a Houston principal after persuading his school board to permit a Black history class. “Other schools will be granted this added feature to their curriculum only for the asking.”33 As Carter G. Woodson often complained, however, far too many Negroes still refused to ask for it. To Woodson, the struggle for Black history was “the most important effort . . . in behalf of the Negro” since Emancipation. When large fractions of Blacks ignored or eschewed it, Woodson could only conclude that they were still shackled by the slave driver’s chains. Borrowing from the cult of Freud that swept interwar America, a 1929 ASNLH round table agreed that “the Negro was suffering from an inferiority complex”—and that “the best means of combating such was to inoculate him with a virus of the achievements of his own race.” But how could physicians assist a patient who declined the cure? The same dilemma haunted textbook activists of every stripe, from Irish and German groups in the North to white Confederate societies in the South. But it proved particularly difficult for African-Americans, who confronted the most pernicious litany of stereotypes and lies. As Woodson often noted, Blacks who had embraced these falsehoods could hardly be expected to back a course that

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indicted them. “I am trying to sell the Negro to Negroes,” lamented an ASNLH field secretary in 1932. “I find it a very difficult task . . . Negroes must learn to believe in themselves.”34 The blame for this situation lay not with Black children, whose minds remained relatively open to “race interest and appreciation,” as one Washington, D.C., observer noticed. Instead, Woodson placed primary fault with their instructors, “the Negro teachers who believe that nothing should be said about Negroes.” The worst offenders were often the best-educated Blacks, he claimed, college graduates who had been “miseducated” to prize white history over their own. Across the South, ASNLH activists heaped ridicule and resentment upon these alleged racial renegades. “Most [Black] teachers assume a know-it-all attitude,” a Houston critic charged, “while the children who come under them . . . are crushed by the vicious propaganda and theories circulated about Negroes in the textbooks.” Until a new set of teachers learned true Negro history, Woodson argued, schools would never establish it; but until true Negro history was established, of course, teachers would never learn it. The dilemma remained.35 Up north, meanwhile, another set of activists proposed a very different remedy: rather than adding Black history textbooks, as Woodson envisioned, they resolved to remove or change “regular” ones. Convening in New York in 1932, the NAACP’s new textbook committee called on local branches to examine their history, literature, and civics schoolbooks—and to protest the most offensive texts. It repeated this recommendation in 1938 and again in 1939, releasing a pamphlet entitled Anti-Negro Propaganda in School Textbooks to assist community activists. Other NAACP officials visited publishers to demand revision of their texts, while still others pleaded with young people—the most direct victims of bigoted books—to take up the fight. “Why is it that you find in the North today the doors of opportunity slammed in your faces, and why do you find prejudice still rampant?” Charles Edward Russell asked the NAACP’s youth councils in 1938. His answer was simple: school textbooks. Russell urged the councils to review the books, write to school boards, publish newspaper articles, go on the radio—anything to rid their schools of racist texts.36 Northern Blacks did succeed in forcing some publishers and school

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boards to delete racist slurs from the books, especially the terms “savage” and “nigger.”37 Nevertheless, anti-Black errors and stereotypes continued to mar nearly every American history text. If anything, a series of NAACP-sponsored studies suggested, texts were getting worse. Critics reserved their sharpest ire for texts’ exaggerated accounts of Black violence, incompetence, and corruption during Reconstruction. Gloria Oden, a Black high school student who visited the NAACP’s New York headquarters in 1939, was outraged by the following description of a “Negro” statehouse in the 1870s from a U.S. history text: We enter the house of Moses, the speaker looks down upon the members mostly black and brown, some of the type rarely seen outside the Congo . . . A cozy atmosphere, too, with the members’ feet upon the desks, their faces hidden behind their soles. Chuckles, guffaws, the noisy crackling of peanuts, and harsh voices disturb the dignity of the scene. Mingling with the Negroes we see the ferretfaced carpet-baggers, eager for the spoils.

As Oden learned from the NAACP’s literature, the textbook was approved for use in several large school systems. “With this drilled into the minds of growing children,” she wrote, “I see how hate and disgust is motivated against the American Negro.”38 Indeed, NAACP leaders argued, the hate would continue so long as any American child—of any region or race—read such textbooks. After all, they observed, history texts in the South were even more bigoted than their northern counterparts. Hence any “race pride” that Black children developed in a special Negro-oriented course would be quickly quenched by their regular U.S. history textbook, which still besmirched them as hapless clowns or ruthless thugs. Perhaps worse, they added, white students across the country would imbibe the same odious slurs. More than separate texts in Black schools, then, America needed new, nonracist books in white ones. “I do not say that a change in our anti-Negro text-books will kill prejudice, but I am convinced it is a major step in that direction,” a Black Kansas City newspaperman wrote. “The white youth [who] grows to maturity learning the truth will not be disposed to impart the old myths to his offspring.” Already,

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he noted, white children who “actually rubbed shoulders” with Blacks in mixed classrooms displayed less racism toward African-Americans. If they learned about Black heroes like Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois, a Los Angeles activist believed, the same happy result would ensue.39 Ironically, Du Bois himself voiced strong skepticism about this strategy in the early 1930s. Gradually rejecting the NAACP’s commitment to racial integration, particularly in public schools, he also doubted whether “integrated” textbooks could temper white racism. By contrast, Carter Woodson maintained a steadfast devotion to mixed-race schools and to special Negro history courses in Black ones. One day, he fervently hoped, all children would study alongside one another from fair, multi-racial books—“one classroom, one curriculum,” as integrationists proclaimed. Until then, African-Americans needed to take care of their own. “Is it advisable to wait for that indefinite time when the writers of textbooks will become broad enough to mention the Negro humanly?” Woodson asked rhetorically in 1938. “We have already waited for this three centuries.” To be sure, he added, Blacks should never refrain from denouncing bigoted textbooks—or from demanding replacements. In the long journey to racial justice, however, this elusive “negative” goal had to take a back seat to a more “positive”—and attainable—one: winning Negro history in Negro schools.40 Across the American South, meanwhile, Black supporters echoed Woodson’s basic dictum: segregated curricula now, integrated curricula tomorrow. Eventually, a Washington, D.C., educator wrote, he wanted his son to appreciate “all the makers and sustainers of civilization,” whatever their race—especially inspirational figures like St. Francis of Assisi. For the moment, however, the boy should study “some modern saints who bear a more intimate relation to his experience”: famous Black Americans. “We are simply looking out for our own,” explained Margaret Washington, wife of the famed Tuskegee educator and chair of a small women’s network promoting Negro history in Negro schools. “The first law of nature is Self-preservation.” Even a few northern voices began to demand special textbooks and courses for the African-American. “Negro history should be a daily topic in his childhood; he should digest it as he does his dinner,” editorialized New

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York’s Amsterdam News. Lest they go to bed hungry, the News declared, Black youngsters must learn that “Negro blood” had “flowed in the veins” of the Pharaohs and the Queen of Sheba as well as of Crispus Attucks and Peter Salem.41 The editorial’s last point highlighted a final thorn in the side of Carter G. Woodson: Afrocentrism.42 Even as some Blacks blasted his goal of a distinct African-American curriculum, it seemed, others were arguing that its content should be more African and less American. In 1924, for example, the Black activist and author George Wells Parker circulated a set of “Questions and Answers in Negro History,” generated by queries from Black readers across the country: Was Mohamet a black man?— R.S.P., Dayton Mohamet was a brown-skinned Arab of Negro descent. Were any Negro races concerned in the Trojan War? — B.L.Y., Boston All the major peoples concerned in the Trojan War were Negro and of African descent. The Greeks were led by Agamemnon, a king of Mycennae, the royal house of this kingdom having been founded by Africans. Priam, King of Troy, was a brother of Tithonus, King of Ethiopia. Was Hiram, King of Tyre, a Negro?— C.P.D., Des Moines He most certainly was. And had it not been for Hiram, the Temple of Solomon would never have been built. Solomon was ignorant of the craft discovered and perpetuated among Negro kings, therefore [he] was forced to call upon Hiram to aid him.43

Foreshadowing contemporary scholars like Martin Bernal, Parker argued that much of so-called Western civilization had its roots in Africa. Other polemicists emphasized Egypt as the more specific cradle of Black history, culture, and intellect. Throughout the interwar period a burgeoning cottage industry of authors claimed that “Egyptian Pharaohs were Negro Kings”—and that whites had conspired to suppress this fact. “Historians and scientists . . . have been smart enough to eliminate, almost entirely, the Negroid people who have really been

Struggles over Race and Sectionalism * 47

the founders of this present-day civilization,” asserted the Black New Yorker James Patten in a letter to a Chicago newspaper in 1927. Endorsing Mayor “Big Bill” Thompson’s attack on allegedly pro-British textbooks, Patten encouraged African-Americans to mount a similar assault on “anti-Egyptian” ones. “We have been so busy getting filled up with lies from the pens of white writers that we are blind to our own greatness,” Patten wrote. “The idea has always been to keep the Negro peoples down.”44 In many respects, Woodson embraced this tradition of Afrocentric thought. In the second volume of his Journal of Negro History, for example, he published an article by Parker proclaiming the “African Origin of Grecian Civilization.” He also championed the popular Black claim that African explorers had visited America before Columbus, including it in his textbooks and other literature. Most generally, Woodson insisted that Africa belonged at the core of every Negro history course—and textbook—in America. He devoted the first five chapters of his most popular text to Blacks’ African origins; he edited a compilation of African folktales to give “children in the lower grades” an “understanding of their past”; and he published dozens of articles about the continent in the Negro History Bulletin, the ASNLH’s monthly periodical for teachers. “Our record in the Western Hemisphere does not compare with that in Africa,” Woodson declared in 1936, citing African achievements in art, philosophy, science, and literature. Only by studying their ancestral homeland, then, could young Black Americans perceive “the proper place of the race” in world history.45 At the same time, though, Woodson insisted that any claims for ancient African prowess pass modern, “scientific” muster. Many of them failed to do so, starting with the dubious propositions that certain “white” figures from antiquity were actually “Black.” Besides lacking sufficient historical evidence, Woodson argued, such statements bore an ugly resemblance to the real enemy: white racism. “The blatant Caucasian . . . has in turn bred his Ethiopian counterpart,” wrote the Black book collector and ASNLH stalwart Arthur Schomburg in 1925, “the rash and rabid amateur who has glibly tried to prove half the world’s geniuses have been Negroes and to trace the pedigree of nineteenthcentury Americans to the Queen of Sheba.” Ten years later, a worried

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Woodson observed, Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia lent these fallacies a new vogue. Welcoming the rejuvenated Black American interest in Africa, Woodson also cautioned against “pseudo-historians” whose polemical tracts would “exploit a gullible public.” Here he took a thinly veiled swipe at the prolific journalist J. A. Rogers, who reported on the Ethiopian conflict for the Black American press. The author of popular books like World’s Greatest Men of African Descent, Rogers published long lists of allegedly Negro notables—ranging from ancients such as Aesop to more recent luminaries like Beethoven.46 Yet as Woodson recognized, the most important promulgators of Afrocentric doctrine were Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association. Woodson admired Garvey’s grassroots efforts to promote Black pride and “Africa for the Africans,” as the UNIA’s first international convention resolved in 1920. The same convention demanded that “instructions given Negro children in schools include the subject of ‘Negro History,’” exactly as Woodson wished. But Garvey also aimed to alter the content of this subject, arguing that Blacks should construct a history every bit as racialist as the society they inhabited. To Garvey, Woodson’s goal of a neutral or “scientific” history was deeply flawed: all history “is written with prejudices, likes and dislikes,” so all races should transmit their own. “The white man’s history is his inspiration,” Garvey wrote, “and he should be untrue to himself and negligent to the rights of his posterity to subordinate it to others.” By the same token, Blacks would be remiss if they failed to teach children to “lionize our own celebrities”—including Socrates and St. Peter, both deemed “Negro” by the UNIA.47 Here Garvey almost perfectly echoed white organizations like the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Across the American South, the UDC and other Dixie loyalists taught children the beauty of slavery, the glory of the Ku Klux Klan, and the overall superiority of their race. Rather than condemning these activists for their bigotry, however, Garvey congratulated them for their honesty. “If I were of your race, I would have written with the same force and probably with prejudice,” Garvey wrote to the white author Earnest Cox, who maintained that all great civilizations were Caucasian. “Our only differences are in history and that is not so material in view of the fact that yours couldn’t be ours

Struggles over Race and Sectionalism * 49

and ours couldn’t be yours. We lay respective claim to what we believe in that respect without affecting the main issue.”48 For America, “the main issue” was always race. Garvey’s comment provides a convenient epigraph for the country’s textbook wars, in which southern whites used the same argument—you have your past, we have ours—to promulgate neo-Confederate history. AfricanAmericans struggled valiantly to repel racist interpretations, winning special courses in some schools and slightly revised general history textbooks in others. But they could not overcome America’s united front of white opinion, which sought to placate—if not always to satisfy—southern concerns. Even First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt— perhaps the country’s leading white race liberal—argued that textbooks should call the Civil War the “War Between the States” lest they offend Dixie’s delicate opinions on the subject. “I find in the south they like that term better,” Roosevelt told the NAACP’s Charles Edward Russell in 1939, “and I think that sensitive people should always be catered to if possible.”49 Naturally, this formulation took little account of Blacks’ sensitivities; instead, it catered only to racist whites. Not until the 1960s would Black Americans rise up en masse against racist history, compelling the rest of the country to take heed.



In 1941 the beleaguered textbook author Harold Rugg published an impassioned defense of his fourteen-volume series of social studies texts, Man and His Changing Society. Immensely popular for most of the 1930s, Rugg’s books had come under heavy fire from patriotic and business groups near the end of the decade. As Rugg stressed, however, these attacks were only the latest salvos in a much longer rightwing war on American textbooks. Indeed, Rugg insisted, the campaign against his series was “almost an exact replica” of the assault on “new” history texts in the early 1920s. In each case, “self-appointed censors of the schools” had sought to eliminate “anything that presents negative aspects of American history and development.” But the “new” history had survived this onslaught, Rugg noted, suggesting at least a ray of hope for his own books. Just as David S. Muzzey and Charles A. Beard had rebutted charges of “subversion” in their texts—and retained their dominant positions in the schools—so might Rugg’s social studies series repel the conservative challenge.1 Several months earlier, however, a veteran of both text battles had stressed the differences—not the parallels—between them. A former director of the army’s chemical warfare division, Amos A. Fries, had spearheaded an unsuccessful drive to remove Muzzey’s An American History from Washington, D.C., schools in 1925. Ten years later he led a second quest to bar textbooks by Rugg and Carl L. Becker—another “new” historian—from the nation’s capital. By then, though, the rationale for the attacks had altered dramatically. Whereas Muzzey was

Social Studies Wars in New Deal America * 5 1

maligned for his allegedly pro-British interpretation of the American Revolution, Fries blasted Rugg and Becker for their “class-based” or even “socialist” views of the Constitution, industrialization, and especially the Great Depression. To conservatives like Fries, most 1930s textbooks read like campaign briefs for Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal. Like Roosevelt, critics claimed, textbooks denounced private enterprise—or “privileged enterprise,” as the President mockingly called it—and demanded wide government controls upon it. Rugg happily acknowledged his texts’ obvious mimicry of FDR, who had recently won an unprecedented third term in the White House. “The conflict with [conservatives] is irreconcilable, but we have no such conflict with the bulk of the American people,” Rugg wrote in 1941. “Their own voice in elections and the acts of their chosen representatives are proof of the side upon which they stand.”2 This boast sat uneasily next to Rugg’s oft-repeated claim that his texts depicted “both sides” of every public question, including the New Deal itself.3 Most of all, though, his eager embrace of Roosevelt ignored the shift in the President’s own program during the late 1930s. Abandoning the critique of capitalism that had marked its birth, the New Deal increasingly addressed broad economic trends like inflation, employment, and consumption. Less and less would FDR seek direct regulation of corporations and the “plutocrats” who ruled them; instead, he aimed to enhance America’s overall economic “health” via remote levers of fiscal policy.4 In this new ideological climate, Rugg’s continued denunciations of “free enterprise”—and his demands for “social controls”—began to sound dated or even dangerous. The Rugg texts were “seemingly too liberal for the times,” a sympathetic New Jersey newspaper summarized in August 1940; “people just don’t want them around.” More specifically, the conservative columnist George E. Sokolsky wrote, parents detested the books: “Do [parents] have no rights? Are they to have no voice as to what their children should be taught? . . . If the parents believe in the capitalist way of life, if they earn their living and their children’s living by that way, should teachers indoctrinate them with Socialism and Communism? I say that I have the right to withdraw my child from a school in which the teacher tells him that the Supreme Court is a tool of the rich.”5

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Sokolsky’s remarks captured three central dimensions of the rightwing attack on social studies, all sharply different from the “new history” conflict that preceded it. Whereas earlier battles had focused almost solely on America’s War of Independence, Depression-era struggles frequently encompassed the nation’s entire social, economic, and political culture—its “way of life”—and the proper role of free enterprise within it. Insofar as history entered the new dispute, controversy most often surrounded the drafting of the Constitution and the development of the Supreme Court, which 1930s conservatives came to regard as the last bastion of laissez-faire capitalism.6 Finally, the social studies debate reignited the perennial question of popular control of American public schools. The issue was largely muted in the 1920s, when groups as disparate as the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion sought to enlist “expert” historians behind their respective points of view. Critics like Sokolsky mounted a much more populist campaign, openly ridiculing text writers and insisting on their own ability to judge the past. “I might as well pack my bags for Alcatraz,” wrote another textbook foe in a typical jibe at historians’ “expert” authority. “Not only am I no historian, I am one of that negligible minority who do not even hold a doctor’s degree.”7 The social studies controversy was also distinguished by what it excluded: questions of race and ethnicity. Such issues lay at the heart of the “new history” battles of the 1920s, when a wide array of immigrants joined hands with veterans and patriotic societies to block allegedly pro-British readings of the Revolution. By the Great Depression, however, ethnic and racial controversy had largely disappeared from America’s textbook wars (the NAACP’s campaign against racist history texts was an important exception; see Chapter 2). Historians have attributed such silences to liberals’ overall neglect of race and ethnicity in the 1930s, when a “preoccupation with class division” trumped all other concerns.8 To be sure, social studies textbooks placed heavy emphasis on economic problems like poverty and unemployment. But they also devoted new attention to ethnic minorities, replacing slurs and stereotypes with fresh material about immigrants’ myriad contributions to American life.9 A critical component of Roosevelt’s electoral coalition, immigrants themselves seem to have welcomed the textbooks’ paeans

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to the New Deal and to their own cultures and achievements.10 The economic focus of Depression-era text controversy came from conservative critics, who concentrated their bile on the books’ supposed fondness for New Deal “collectivism” over free-enterprise “capitalism.” In America’s textbook wars, indeed, the right did far more than the left to shift debate onto an “economic” field. Hardly the exclusive province of liberals, a “preoccupation with class division” characterized the entire political spectrum.

From Ethnicity to Economics The late 1920s bore little hint of this shift toward economic issues. In 1927, for example, patriotic and ethnic groups blasted the supposedly “pro-English” biases of Modern History, a textbook by the historians Carleton J. H. Hayes and Parker T. Moon. In New York the Veterans of Foreign Wars claimed that the book snubbed America by attributing its Revolution to John Locke: “The inspired men . . . who startled the world with their new conception of human rights are charged with having plagiarized it all from England.” In “Big Bill” Thompson’s Chicago, meanwhile, Irish and German critics condemned Hayes’s alleged disparagement of the Liberty Bell and the Stars and Stripes. Hayes “may be a professor at Columbia,” the city’s school board chairman declared, “but the president of this board says he is a cad.” Others suggested that Hayes was a propagandist for the “English-Speaking Union,” which hoped to return America to its colonial master.11 Just three years later, however, an Episcopal priest suggested that the book denigrated many Americans’ European heritage. Plastering New York City school officials with letters and petitions, the Reverend Lefferd Haughwout complained that Hayes and Moon—both converts to Catholicism—had maligned Calvin, Luther, and Henry VIII. Even as the text “persistently criticized” these Protestants, Haughwout added, it “deliberately defended” the Roman Catholic Church. Less than a month after Haughwout’s initial attack, Superintendent Harold G. Campbell quietly removed the book from New York’s list of approved texts. In a meeting with its authors, however, Campbell distinguished his own objections from the cleric’s complaint. To school officials, a

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Campbell aide bluntly explained, “the most serious thing was along economic lines” rather than religious ones. Specifically, the Hayes/ Moon textbook treated capitalism “as the cause of all human woes.” Better to “emphasize the benefits of it,” the aide added, lest students fall into the hands of “Bolshevist” agitators.12 Here school leaders cited the text’s forthright assertion concerning social stratification in modern industrial nations: “When one man comes into the world penniless while another inherits a million, there can be no real equality of opportunity.” As Campbell’s aide noted, such comments suggested that “capitalism might be improved.” Surely, Hayes retorted, that was true; no economic system was perfect. But to Campbell it was also irrelevant. The issue “was not a question of historical facts,” he told the astounded authors; instead, “it was a question [of] whether all the true statements in the book ought to be taught to school children.” Several days later Campbell expanded this argument in a prepared statement for the press. The textbook “might easily give to children the impression that many, if not all, of the cries raised against . . . the present economic structure are true,” he warned. “The schools of New York are interested in historical accuracy, but they are far more interested in Americanization.”13 The Hayes/Moon episode marked a critical shift in textbook controversies across the country, mirroring larger changes in the meaning of “Americanization.” Haughwout’s “pro-Catholic” claim reflected a final gasp of ethnic politics from the 1920s, when the Ku Klux Klan and other nativist groups had demanded strict adherence to a white Protestant version of “100 percent Americanism.” Immigrants had fought back by inserting their own heroes into the grand national narrative, condemning anyone who questioned this story—even cultural pluralists like Hayes and Moon—as “pro-British.” To textbook assailants in the 1930s, however, “Americanism” became defined less by ethnicity than by an economic system: capitalism. Any mention of the system’s failures might undermine children’s commitment to the nation, making them easy prey for “communist” seduction. During these same years, indeed, anticommunism replaced ethnic xenophobia as the central theme of American text activism. Periodic “Red Scares” had rocked the country since World War I, often merging with attacks on

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Germans, Russians, and especially Jews.14 But the attack on communism did not enter America’s textbook wars until the 1930s, when it lost most of its nativist cast. Except for a few far-right anti-Semites, text critics eschewed the ethnic vituperation that had suffused the 1920s. Instead, they focused their wrath on allegedly Red books and the Americans—of every ethnicity—who embraced them. During these same years, right-wing groups also stepped up their hunt for communist instructors in public school classrooms. Across the country, attacks on “Red” teachers and “Red” textbooks often went hand in hand. Passed by more than twenty states, laws requiring teachers to take loyalty oaths provided the most common touchstone for these controversies. A few months after Congress required all Washington, D.C., instructors to swear that they would not “teach or advocate” communism, for example, right-wing groups charged that three textbooks did precisely that. Led by the ubiquitous Amos A. Fries, critics trained most of their fire upon a world history text by the historian Carl L. Becker. Deeming Becker a “well-known communist writer,” conservatives especially reviled his account of the Bolshevik Revolution and its critique of private property. “The Russian revolution aims to effect a complete transformation of society,” Becker concluded in a passage that foes often cited to illustrate his “pro-Soviet” bias. “That is why it is, of all the events of our time, the most interesting and perhaps the most important.” Critics also demanded the removal of two books by Harold Rugg, who alluded to Russian “accomplishments” in public health and recreation.15 From his home in upstate New York, Becker organized a telegram campaign to defend his textbook in Washington. “Of course I don’t personally give a damn what these nit-wits think of me,” he wrote to Arthur M. Schlesinger, “but the school authorities and teachers need what help they can be given.” District of Columbia school officials eventually received cables in support of Becker from more than twenty prominent figures, including Schlesinger, Felix Frankfurter, and Charles Beard. “Only a blind partisan can see communism in [Becker’s] writings,” Beard’s telegram declared. “If the schools are to teach truth, they must fairly present both sides of every important question that appears in the course of any historical period.” Beard’s brief defense

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actually embodied two very different claims. In point of fact, Beard wrote, Becker was not a communist; but he had a duty to present communism factually so students would develop the capacity to judge it. In his own communiqués to newspapers and school officials, Becker invoked the same two-pronged argument. Noting his personal antipathy to “Russian Communism,” he nevertheless insisted that pupils should evaluate it on their own.16 To Washington conservatives, however, these dual claims were mutually contradictory. If the “American system” was truly superior to the Soviet one, they asked, why should schools let students “choose” between them? “Children have unformed, plastic minds; they are sent to school to have their minds and morals shaped according to American standards,” one text critic wrote. “They should be instructed in our constitutional form of government and taught respect for that government which has made this Nation the greatest on earth.” Others argued that Becker and Rugg had selected facts “slyly favoring communism,” depriving students of the very “choice” that the authors claimed to prize. If the textbooks were as neutral as advertised, finally, “treasonous” teachers would easily twist them toward their own “diabolical” point of view. To ensure a truthful depiction of communism, the conservative firebrand Alexander Sidney Lanier concluded, the Washington schools would have to produce a booklet for instructors to read in the classroom “without comment,” just like the Bible. Carefully chosen quotations from Lenin and Trotsky would effectively illuminate the “impractability and undesirability” of communism, Lanier suggested. Or, if school officials preferred, they might also draw upon “the writings and speeches of Mr. Tugwell, and several other prominent officials of the present Administration.”17 Penned near the end of Roosevelt’s first term, Lanier’s closing barb at FDR’s adviser Rexford G. Tugwell signaled the next important development in Depression-era textbook wars: the attack upon Roosevelt and his New Deal. Right-wing opposition to the President coalesced during his reelection campaign in 1936, when FDR intensified his own offensive against greedy “economic royalists” in America’s corporate kingdoms. Led by the newspaper titan William Randolph Hearst, angry

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foes charged that Roosevelt was actually a communist; his New Deal was a “Red Deal,” a Soviet-inspired perversion of American political tradition. Critics also skewered FDR’s so-called Brain Trust of expert aides, reserving special scorn for the brilliant but prickly Tugwell. One prominent foe called him “Comrade Tugwell, Brain Truster No. 1”; others suggested that this handsome economics professor was the Lenin of the New Deal, secretly masterminding a communist coup d’état. A September 1936 cartoon in the Hearst-owned Chicago Tribune pictured a cardboard cut-out of Roosevelt propped up by “Tugwell Plotter No. 1.” To a bearded Bolshevik looming menacingly in the background, Tugwell whispered, “Shh-h-h, keep down until after the election.”18 When conservatives began to critique the New Deal biases of American textbooks, then, they quite naturally turned to an economics text by Rexford G. Tugwell. Cleveland, Kansas City, and Los Angeles all dropped Tugwell’s Our Economic Society and Its Problems in 1935, citing the book’s “New Deal views.” On the eve of Roosevelt’s reelection bid, Delaware’s state board of education did the same. Like Carl Becker, critics charged, Tugwell and his co-author Howard C. Hill showed far too much solicitude for the Soviet Union. But the central complaint concerned the authors’ analysis of contemporary America, which emphasized economic inequalities and the need for state regulations to correct them. One illustration in the book depicted an elegant yacht costing, its caption claimed, “$100,000 per year to maintain—enough to support forty families in comfort.” In another oft-quoted passage Tugwell and Hill decried “the unreasoning, almost hysterical attachment of certain Americans to the Constitution.” Here they took a swipe at Roosevelt’s enemies on the Supreme Court, who threatened to strike down much of the New Deal’s pathbreaking legislation in the name of “economic freedom.” To Tugwell and Hill such critics were simply spitting into the wind. “We continue to think in terms of individualism and competitive profit-seeking,” the authors grumbled, “long after the conditions favorable to that economic philosophy have passed away.”19 The last remark reflected the theory of “cultural lag,” a staple of scholarly discourse—and often of school textbooks—in the 1930s. “Nearly all our social problems are due to cultural lags,” a sociology text declared:

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The insecurity of the modern employee is the result of a lag in providing adequate unemployment insurance made necessary by the instability of modern industry. The instability of modern industry is due in part to the lag in curbing speculation and to the lag in adjusting buying power to producing power . . . The increasing occurrence of mental disease is [due] to excessive strains and worries suffered by individuals in a society that is imperfectly aware of the need for guaranteeing work to everyone who wishes it. Social reform consists in discovering and overcoming each separate lag.20

In sum, the solution to “each separate lag” lay in New Deal–type regulation of private industry. In perfectly circular fashion, moreover, any resistance to such programs provided further evidence of the “lag” in question. Here textbooks echoed Roosevelt himself, who routinely mocked his foes’ retrograde thinking. The New Deal’s enemies wished to “take the country back to horse and buggy days,” Roosevelt quipped; frustrated by modern life, they longed for an era of simple verities that were no longer true. In an October 1936 attack on left-leaning teachers and textbooks, however, a conservative critic employed the same metaphor for a very different purpose. “Our educational system is in control of Socialists,” he insisted, “and ‘horse and buggy’ age common sense is beyond them.” He singled out a small core of educators at Columbia University’s Teachers College, proponents of a “new social order” and of a dangerous new subject: social studies. As the nation moved steadily to the right in the late 1930s, it would be these theorists—not their conservative opponents—who “lagged” behind.21

The Attack on Social Studies “Daddy, was George Washington a big business man?” This question, posed by his fourteen-year-old son over dinner, shocked O. K. Armstrong, a prominent member of the American Legion. The boy went on: “Our teacher says the men who wrote the Constitution were landowners and business men.” Flabbergasted, Armstrong investigated his son’s history textbooks and discovered—to his horror—that they were not really “history” books at all. Instead, the texts were used in an omnibus

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course called “Democratic Living.” Like other so-called social studies classes, Armstrong found, the course belittled the precious American heritage that schools had once celebrated. “Legionnaires are parents— most of us,” Armstrong warned. “It’s time we learned that our children are being taught, in the name of civics, social science, and history, doctrines so subversive as to undermine their faith in the American way of life.”22 At the end of his article Armstrong named more than thirty allegedly “treasonous” texts. The list contained several history books from earlier controversies, including works by Carl Becker and Charles Beard. But the great majority of the tabooed texts came from social studies, with a single author, Harold Rugg, accounting for sixteen of them. Rugg, according to Armstrong, was one of the notorious “Frontier Thinkers” at Teachers College, a small clique of professors who had long functioned as a “Fifth Column” of un-Americanism in American public education. Adults most often encountered its theories through the work of George S. Counts, author of Dare the Schools Build a New Social Order? Yet within the schools themselves, Armstrong emphasized, Rugg’s numerous textbooks provided children with their first glimpse of Frontier Thinker philosophy. Thanks mostly to Rugg, students like Armstrong’s son regarded George Washington as a “landgrabber” and the Constitution as “a protector of the economic royalist.” Even worse, Rugg’s texts cast doubt on the entire “American system” of “private ownership and enterprise.” In one book Rugg asked students whether the United States was “a land of opportunity for all people.” His answer was succinctly stated in the teachers’ guide: no. “There are great differences in the standards of living of the different classes of people,” Rugg wrote in a passage that Armstrong quoted. “The majority do not have any real security.”23 By 1941 dozens of other conservative groups had joined Armstrong and the American Legion in blasting the Rugg books. Several features distinguished their effort from previous attacks. The first and most obvious one was the assault on a supposedly “new” subject—social studies—and especially on a single author, Harold Rugg. Second, critics censured the texts for their supposedly subversive analysis of contemporary society and culture—the “American way of life,” as Armstrong

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called it—rather than for their specific interpretations of the national past. The lone exception concerned the framing of the U.S. Constitution, which rapidly replaced the Revolution as the chief focus of historical controversy in American textbooks. Furthermore, whereas earlier attacks on textbooks had been almost purely local in origin and scope, the Rugg series generated the country’s first coordinated, nationwide campaign. More than a million readers probably received Armstrong’s missive against Rugg’s books; the following year the Legion would distribute nearly half a million pamphlets reviling them.24 Thanks to its breadth and publicity, finally, the Rugg dispute sparked a much wider debate about citizen control in American public education. Critics like Armstrong claimed that “the people”—and especially “the parents”— should govern school policy; despite their own paeans to “democracy,” meanwhile, Rugg’s defenders argued that selection of textbooks must remain a professional rather than a popular prerogative. Throughout the 1930s, ironically, no American textbooks were more popular than the works of Harold Rugg. Starting three months before the 1929 stock market crash, Rugg released fourteen separate volumes of his series Man and His Changing Society and sold roughly four million textbooks, workbooks, and teachers’ guides. Indeed, its publisher later recounted, the Rugg series was “largely responsible for keeping [us] in the ‘black’ during the depression.” The texts capitalized on broad changes in the interwar American curriculum, when school districts steadily replaced history courses with electives and requirements in the social studies. Some of the new classes lay in traditional disciplines like economics, sociology, or government; others fused these disciplines into so-called combination courses like “Problems of Democracy,” which was offered in twenty-eight states by 1930 and mandated by six of them. Within the history classes that remained, schools downplayed “military and political aspects” in favor of “social, cultural, and economic content,” as one observer noted. All of these trends fit perfectly with Rugg’s series, which focused explicitly on the “permanent problems of modern life” and drew upon a range of disciplines. By 1941 more than five million students in five thousand school districts had probably used a textbook by Harold Rugg.25 The attack on the Rugg books was swift and sudden, steamrolling

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across the country even more rapidly than the texts had done. As late as 1939 no prominent national voice had spoken out against the series. That August the publisher Bertie C. Forbes used the pages of his own magazine to blast Rugg’s books as “viciously un-American.” Forbes printed several more attacks over the next year in Hearst-owned newspapers, which echoed his position in their editorials. After the appearance of O. K. Armstrong’s article in 1940, the American Legion officially condemned the Rugg series. Other large patriotic and veterans’ groups quickly followed suit, presenting a nearly united front against the books by mid-1941. The business community also joined in the attack. The Advertising Federation of America distributed brochures against the books, quoting Rugg’s negative remarks about newspaper and radio commercials. Led by the insurance executive Merwin K. Hart, the New York State Economic Council charged that Rugg had spread “collectivist theories” throughout the Empire State—and beyond. Finally, the National Association of Manufacturers published abstracts of social studies textbooks, laying particular stress on the Rugg series. Avowedly “neutral,” the abstracts exposed the texts’ supposed bias against “private enterprise philosophy.”26 Reviewing these rapid-fire developments in 1941, a shell-shocked Harold Rugg concluded that the movement against his textbooks was a “manufactured conflict,” engineered by a small circle of wily businessmen and overzealous patriots. But a closer look at the campaign reveals a much more popular pedigree than Rugg admitted.27 Within the American Legion, for example, the anti-Rugg movement started in local posts and surged upward to the national leadership. In January 1938 the Legionnaire Augustin C. Rudd asked his community school board in Garden City, New York, to remove the Rugg books. He also wrote to Legion headquarters, urging a much more widespread and coordinated assault. “Our people don’t know what is going on in the schools,” Rudd told the national Legion commander, Stephen Chadwick. “That is why I suggest . . . the Legion bring it home to parents in every state of the Union.” Rudd’s school board quickly acceded to his demand, making Garden City the first known community to drop the Rugg books. But Legion leaders rejected Rudd’s appeal to produce and distribute an “informational booklet” about Harold Rugg. “There may

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be many others whose views we do not share and to whose principles we do not subscribe,” explained a Legion official, Homer L. Chaillaux. Hence the organization could not afford to attack a “single author,” Chaillaux wrote, however reprehensible that author’s philosophies or activities.28 Undeterred by this brusque reception from the Legion’s top brass, Rudd sought allies closer to home. In rapid succession he persuaded his local and county Legion posts to denounce the Rugg books. Then he won a similar resolution from the Legion’s New York State convention, which seems to have jolted national leaders out of their brief quiescence. A mere thirteen months after refusing Rudd’s appeal for aid, Homer Chaillaux was only too eager to lend a helping hand. “You may be certain that we will be taking positive action,” he wrote to Rudd privately in June 1940, “to defend our educational system against the Fifth Column sympathizers.” By autumn Legion leaders were ready for a public declaration of war. Endorsing Armstrong’s critique of “subversion” in Rugg’s books, the American Legion Magazine promised many more fireworks to follow. “We have just begun to fight,” it announced, “and we shall win.”29 By the following spring hundreds of Legion posts were working to remove the texts from their schools. To Harold Rugg and his allies, this development simply confirmed their fears of a streamlined, centrally controlled opposition network. Just as some local posts took the lead in this movement, however, others dissented sharply from it. From Connecticut to Ohio to North Dakota, posts passed resolutions commending the Rugg books and condemning the national organization’s assault on them. Individual Legionnaires also sent fervent complaints to its headquarters in Indianapolis. “I protest most vigorously against the senseless, damaging, inaccurate, unfounded, and un-American campaign,” screamed a California veteran in November 1940, shortly after the Legion announced its “war” upon the Rugg texts. By endorsing a narrow and partisan interpretation of these books, the veteran claimed, the Legion put itself forward as “the final and only judge of what is and what is not Americanism.” From Alabama another Legionnaire argued that the organization should defer to the proper “judges” of textbooks: trained educators. “Are we not coming very near being

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obnoxious meddlers when we insist upon throwing out books that WE do not like?” he asked. “I happen to know that textbooks are very carefully selected by very conscientious professional persons . . . Who are WE to take their place?”30 Within business organizations, likewise, members sometimes dissented from official denunciations of the Rugg texts. Shortly after the Advertising Federation of America leader Alfred T. Falk condemned the books, a retailer published a frank attack on him. “It would be very easy for the whole advertising profession . . . to become inflamed over these charges and to start a new kind of witch hunt,” warned Earl Elhart in July 1939. Rejecting Falk’s demand for a “wholly flattering portrait” of advertising, Elhart praised the Rugg books for showing “the business world as it is”—including its “abuses and evils.” Six months later a business magazine blasted the hypocrisy and cowardice of Rugg’s corporate critics, especially Bertie Forbes. Such men would never “assail and discharge” employees who exposed the inefficiencies and errors of their own companies, the American Business Survey argued. But these same executives now wished to remove Rugg for blowing the whistle on the nation’s wide-ranging problems. “It is a strange spectacle when the physician is denounced for diagnosing the disease,” the Survey intoned.31 Yet despite their internal divisions these patriotic and business groups “succeeded in stirring up unrest in hundreds of communities,” as Rugg himself admitted. He was never able to square his view of the campaign as insular and autocratic—a “manufactured conflict”—with the obvious fact that “hundreds of communities” embraced it. Nor could Rugg explain why so many of these communities decided to drop his books in so brief a span of time. In a confidential memorandum to Teachers College officials in June 1940, Rugg cited his texts’ undiminished sales as proof that “this attack on our enterprise is not a popular protest.” But the same logic would suggest that when sales did drop off the following year, “popular protest” was at least part of the cause. To be sure, some jittery school boards removed the books without any input from citizens; terrified of controversy, they sought to head it off before it started. Other boards were apparently swayed by rival publishers, who inundated school officials with anti-Rugg literature. Given the large number of school districts involved, however, the books could

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not have disappeared so suddenly without a strong popular animus against them.32 Indeed, this very fact became a vital component of the anti-Rugg movement. Invoking a venerable populist idiom, critics claimed that “the citizens”—not “experts,” “intellectuals,” or “professors”—should determine what their schools teach. “Why should not business men, members of the American Legion, or any other citizen, for that matter, have . . . the right to criticize what they believe to be wrong?” asked the Hearst-owned Philadelphia Inquirer, an important mouthpiece of the campaign against Rugg. “These people, after all, pay the taxes which support the school system.” To protest the curriculum was “thoroughly in accord with old-fashioned American practice,” added the New York Sun, another Hearst paper. “Let us have more of it!” Too many educators still viewed their profession as a “closed guild” and the classroom as their exclusive domain, a third critic noted. Beyond simply exposing a “subversive” series of textbooks, then, the campaign against the Rugg texts also promised to return public schools to their rightful owner: the public itself.33 At a still more basic level, other Rugg foes argued, the movement would also restore children to their parents. Like O. K. Armstrong, antiRugg leaders inevitably traced their efforts to a jarring exchange with their own children. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the newspaperman Verne Marshall began attacking the Rugg books after his daughter asked him “why some people had to live in poverty”; in Haworth, New Jersey, police chief Albert Ettinger’s son inquired whether World War I “was fought for the bankers”; and in New York, editor Fulton Oursler was censured by his daughter for accepting advertisements in his own magazine. Advertising was dishonest, the girl told Oursler, and it raised the price of goods. Oursler, the editor of the staunchly conservative journal Liberty, could not believe his ears—or his eyes: “I looked at April as if she were some other family’s child, but there she was, my own eleven-yearold daughter, placidly peeling her orange.” Oursler asked April if she had adopted this view on her own. “No, Daddy,” she replied, “I learned it at school today.” Even as textbooks denigrated “the will of the people,” it seemed, they were also driving a wedge through the American family.34 To Harold Rugg, the latter charge was nothing short of laughable.

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“I had that child for five hours a day. You had him for 19,” Rugg told Albert Ettinger in a tempestuous 1939 exchange. “If anyone’s making him not love America, it’s you, not I.” But Rugg and his allies had much more difficulty dispensing with their foes’ broader majoritarian argument: “Let the people decide.” During the initial stages of the attack, Rugg simply retorted that “the people” stood with him; his opponents represented a tiny field of “business interests” dressed up as a grassroots movement. As more and more school districts began to drop his books, however, Rugg’s defenders were forced to shift course. Rather than praising the public, they increasingly urged that it defer to experts. “We of the educational profession must insist upon our right to exercise final judgment in the selection of texts,” asserted a panel of New York social studies teachers in a typical statement. From the American Historical Association to the National Education Association, other professional groups struck similar chords. “Judgment as to the merits of a textbook is the function of those most competent to form a judgment: the teachers concerned and professional scholars,” the AHA resolved at the height of the Rugg battle.35 The most vigorous defense of the Rugg texts was launched by the American Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom (ACDIF), a small group of eminent civil libertarians from the worlds of science, education, and journalism. Chaired by the economist Wesley C. Mitchell, the ACDIF’s committee on textbooks encouraged “every citizen” to “take an active interest in the schools,” especially in the books that children used. Under a “democratic approach to the problem of textbook selection,” however, only those with “up to date knowledge of the subject treated, familiarity with school curricula and practical experience of teaching pupils”—that is, professional educators—would actually select texts. Amid the perennial storms of American politics, the ACDIF panel wrote, such experts would keep textbooks on an even keel: “Many of the problems presented by our past history and current practice are the subject of lively, sometimes bitter controversy. No youngster is properly prepared for life in a democracy who does not learn to weigh candidly opposing views on social problems.” Rather than imposing a single “truth,” in short, trained educators would make sure that textbooks presented a diversity of perspectives.36

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Echoing earlier text critics, Rugg’s foes responded to this defense with two separate, somewhat contradictory arguments: textbooks should not even try to present “both sides” of public issues, and Rugg had failed to do so. School texts must teach “personal morality” and “reverence for the Republic of the United States,” Amos Fries stated in January 1941. “We want NOTHING ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF ANY of those questions.” In high school, some critics conceded, students might be able to grapple with controversial social issues. But the Rugg books were intended for junior high school children or even older elementary pupils, who lacked that critical capacity. “What pupil of 12, 13 or 14 years does not take as ‘gospel truth’ what he reads in a school textbook?” asked an anti-Rugg newspaper in Burlington, Vermont. Rather than helping students develop their own viewpoint, the Rugg series would simply imbue them with Rugg’s own.37 To the books’ critics, there was no mistaking this perspective: the Rugg texts were “collectivist” and “New Dealish,” supporting everexpanding state regulation of American private enterprise. Even Rugg’s allies sometimes admitted this bias, which contradicted their claims that the texts taught “several views” rather than a single one. “Dr. Rugg writes as a liberal who believes in . . . the broadening social control over property,” the famous sociologist and ACDIF stalwart Robert S. Lynd acknowledged in a defense of the texts. To liberals like Rugg, Lynd explained, “the rise of the middle-class businessman to power . . . presents a major problem”; but to conservatives, “this development has been natural and unavoidable.” Perhaps the battle over Rugg’s textbooks was equally inescapable. The previous year Rugg had noted the yawning ideological divide between his censors and his supporters: Broadly put, the nub of our special conflict today is: What interpretation of “the American way of life” shall guide the study of civilization in the schools? More specifically, in the terms of [Merwin] Hart, ]Augustin] Rudd and co., it is: Which Brand of the American system of free enterprise shall be taught? They have one emphatic answer: it shall be that concept which guarantees government’s hands off all business, old-fashioned laissez-faire . . . My colleagues and I have a different answer, hence the irreconcilable conflict between us.

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Despite Rugg’s oft-repeated goal of presenting “both sides” of “important questions,” then, the real question concerned which side to present. At stake was nothing less than the nation’s definition of itself. “What is Americanism?” another observer wrote, summarizing the furor over the Rugg books. “Is Americanism synonymous with free enterprise?”38 Harold Rugg’s foes never wavered in their answer: “free enterprise” was America, the country’s defining characteristic since its conception. “I am proud to be a soldier in the battle for the retention of the private enterprise economy in the United States,” wrote the anti-Rugg warrior George E. Sokolsky in a compilation fittingly entitled The American Way of Life (1939). “Upon this economy, often called the capitalist system, depends the continuation of democracy in our country.” A longtime columnist for the Hearst press, Sokolsky also assisted the National Association of Manufacturers in its various efforts to advertise capitalism’s virtues. In 1938 the NAM launched a major billboard and radio campaign to “sell” free enterprise “as continuously as the people are told that Ivory Soap floats.” By 1940 it had also enlisted over six thousand local “sentinels” to persuade communities that capitalism was “The American Way.” All that was missing, one NAM spokesman remarked in 1940, was “a fuller understanding of private enterprise among educators.” At the end of that year the organization released summaries of nearly six hundred books in history, civics, economics, and social studies. According to the project’s principal author, the business professor Ralph W. Robey, a “substantial proportion” of the texts displayed an overly “critical attitude” toward private enterprise. Hardly the sole offenders in their coolness toward capitalism, the Rugg texts were merely the tip of a massive “collectivist” iceberg.39 To Robey and other critics, the best evidence of this bias was the excessive—indeed, almost obsessive—focus on destitution and inequality in many textbooks. One text decried the “harrowing spectacle” of starvation in contemporary America; another bemoaned “poverty in the midst of plenty”; and a third worried that “the doors are closing on the American Dream.” In Harold Rugg’s Introduction to the Problems of American Culture, meanwhile, a set of illustrations contrasted Chicago’s wealthy “Gold Coast” neighborhood with a nearby slum.

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“No one doubts such extremes exist,” wrote Merwin K. Hart. “But why these sharp contrasts in words and photographs . . . if not to arouse social unrest in the people?” Moreover, critics added, texts typically attributed inequality to “the economic system”—that is, to capitalism— rather than to individual wisdom, talent, or initiative. Such analyses would “blunt the ambition of an American boy or girl,” an anti-Rugg newspaper warned, spawning “a defeatist attitude” of “what’s-the-useof-trying-if-you-can’t-get anywhere.” If left unchallenged, the Rugg series threatened to trap students in a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more it emphasized the problems of capitalism, the more it encouraged children to capitulate to them.40 Worst of all, critics complained, textbooks frequently applied this “class appeal” to “the methods and work of the founders of this nation”—the Framers of the Constitution. Here text opponents took aim at Charles A. Beard’s controversial interpretation, which held that well-to-do Americans devised and supported the Constitution to protect the value of their securities—and, more generally, to check the democratic impulses unleashed by the Revolution. In fact, Beard’s own textbooks remained mostly devoid of this claim. But the Beardian viewpoint found its way into a number of social studies and history texts in the 1930s, including Harold Rugg’s America’s March toward Democracy. “The fathers of the Constitution feared ‘too much democracy,’” Rugg declared in perhaps his most-quoted passage. “They were afraid of what the mass of people, who did not possess property, would do to the few who did.” Another textbook stated outright that the Constitution “was drawn up by the wealthy element,” while a third claimed it “supported the interests of the class which had the most to gain”— namely, merchants and large landholders.41 No other historical issue engaged text critics during the 1930s like the Constitution. In the 1920s, when ethnic issues predominated, text controversies centered on the Revolution and the different “races” that contributed to it; in the 1930s, as economic questions came to the fore, debate shifted to the class interests of the Framers. Ironically, the same activists who touted private enterprise as the essence of America denounced texts that imputed pecuniary interests to its founders. “Children can be taught that life is hard-boiled, materialistic, selfish,” George

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Sokolsky wrote, attacking Rugg’s conception of the Constitution. “Children can be made to believe that nothing moves men but money . . . But is that what you want your children taught?” Elsewhere, Sokolsky celebrated the modern American drive for property and personal gain; in fact, he indicted the Rugg texts for impugning these goals. Only too eager to embrace the profit motive in the present, Sokolsky objected when schoolbooks applied it to the past.42 Across the country, meanwhile, other tribunes of capitalism blasted the texts for depicting the Framers as capitalists. In New Jersey Bertie Forbes complained that the Rugg books turned the Constitution’s authors into “a bunch of selfish mercenaries”; in Missouri O. K. Armstrong condemned Rugg for portraying them as “economic royalists”; and in the state of Washington the newly formed Patriotic Laymen’s Education Association skewered him for attributing “selfish motives” to “the founders of the country.” Among Rugg’s attackers, in fact, only the Hearst-owned New York Sun acknowledged the Constitution’s economic origins. Yes, the Sun’s editors wrote, American merchants refused to accept worthless paper money under the old Articles of Confederation; yes, their wish to secure their fortunes constituted an important motive for the Constitution. Rather than censuring them for their “selfishness,” however, textbooks should praise them for their prescience. “Get out the tumbrils for the wicked merchants of old Rhode Island!” the Sun editorialized, mocking Rugg’s moralistic denunciations. “Give them no credit for foreseeing the demoralization and rioting which followed the issuance of fiat money. But before doing so ask Dr. Rugg whether he would accept at face value promissory notes unsupported by collateral.” The Framers had behaved like good capitalists, and all future capitalists—indeed, all future Americans—were therefore in their debt.43 Similarly, Rugg’s foes attacked his critique of the Constitution’s primary watchdog: the Supreme Court. In another much-quoted passage, Rugg emphasized that judicial review—the right to interpret and strike down laws—“had not been given to the Supreme Court by the Constitution.” Instead, under John Marshall, the Court “simply took this power upon itself,” and thereafter, “the Court could even defeat the will of the people themselves.” True, Merwin Hart responded, the Constitution

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did not mention judicial review “in so many words.” But the Framers’ debates amply demonstrated that they foresaw such a procedure, Hart argued, while Rugg’s affront to the Court strongly revealed his affinity for its modern-day bête noire, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Just as the Rugg passage appeared, critics noted, Roosevelt embarked on his notorious plan to “pack” the Supreme Court. Even Rugg’s majoritarian rhetoric— “the will of the people”—echoed FDR, who frequently condemned the Court for impeding the electorate’s wishes.44 For antagonists on every side, the battle over Harold Rugg and his textbooks often boiled down to a debate over Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal. No one seriously questioned whether the books were “New Dealish in tone,” as Time magazine asserted in 1941. The only issue was what, if anything, to do about it. For the books’ critics, the answer was simple: replace texts’ “New Deal propaganda” with material that explained—and celebrated—America’s heritage. To be sure, critics admitted, textbooks were not the only culprit; teachers shared the blame. In December 1940, for example, parents in Tuckahoe, New York, castigated a history instructor for requiring students to prepare biographical reports on Franklin D. Roosevelt. “American History did not begin with the birth of Mr. Roosevelt,” an angry parent wrote to the teacher in a letter he also sent to school officials, “nor were all the noteworthy accomplishments of our presidents confined to his administration.” The only possible rationale for the assignment, the parent claimed, lay in the teacher’s “personal preference” for FDR. Textbooks and teachers conspired to impress a New Deal bias upon public schools, where students now learned to value “the WPA and the NYA” more than “the Supreme Court and the Constitution,” as Sokolsky glumly concluded.45 To their defenders, meanwhile, textbooks’ New Deal themes— especially the regulation of private enterprise and the expansion of government services—were justified by History itself. The 1930s demonstrated not just the popularity but also the inevitability of “new controls” upon the economy, as Harold Rugg argued in 1941. But critics like Sokolsky and Merwin Hart refused to admit this simple truth, providing a case study in “cultural lag.” Hart, especially, was “a capitalist Don Quixote,” according to the Rugg ally and civil libertarian Roger

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Baldwin: even as new social conditions demanded state planning and regulation, Hart continued “tilting at the windmills of Communism in a crusade for free private enterprise.” But “free private enterprise” was fast becoming a “has-been,” Baldwin added, and nothing Hart did or said could bring it back. To Harold Rugg, in fact, the whole concept of “freedom” in America was undergoing an almost Copernican shift. Formerly defined in a private, negative fashion—as “absence of restraint” upon the individual—the term increasingly signified positive measures in the public interest.46 The fate of Rugg’s textbooks told a very different story. Like the Roosevelt administration, Americans were abandoning the strong critique of capitalism and private enterprise that had marked the early 1930s. Less and less did FDR and his aides censure “plutocrats” or “economic royalists”; instead of slapping new regulations on business, meanwhile, they crafted new fiscal policies to influence overall levels of production, employment, and especially consumption. Given their continued emphasis on the “social control” of “private interests,” then, Rugg’s books— not their critics—suffered most conspicuously from “cultural lag.” In a perceptive letter, the Iowa publishing executive E. T. Meredith noted that Rugg’s critique of advertising contradicted the White House’s own evolving economic philosophy. “Mr. Rugg points out that advertising constantly encourages people to buy. This, he apparently assumes, is a bad thing,” Meredith wrote to the president of Columbia University in 1939. “I wonder if Professor Rugg has ever heard that the theme song of the most renowned economists for recovery is ‘more consumption and more production.’” Rather than echoing the New Deal, as foes often charged, Rugg had actually fallen behind it.47 Indeed, Rugg’s critics more accurately captured the country’s changing mood. In his own letter to Columbia officials, Rugg insisted that Meredith’s remarks did not even merit a reply: clearly drafted in response to an appeal from the Advertising Federation of America, Meredith’s attack was “professionally inspired” and hardly reflective of a popular campaign. The following year, Rugg boasted, orders for his textbooks increased. In 1941, however, even his publisher’s catalog acknowledged that “certain communities” objected to the books’ “liberal point of view.” By August 1943 the American Legion estimated that

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some 1,500 schools had dropped the Rugg texts; across the country, a Legion spokesman reported, the books were “going out like a light.” A year after that they were almost extinguished. From a peak of 289,000 in 1938, sales plummeted 90 percent to 21,000 in 1944. In a span of just three years, their author descended from affluence to relative destitution. Embittered as well as impoverished, Rugg soon renounced the textbook field in favor of more traditional academic pursuits. His texts held on in a few districts for several more years, then disappeared from American schools altogether.48 The removal of Rugg’s books did not herald a general “reign of terror” against left-leaning texts, as the columnist Max Lerner predicted in 1941. Except for the Rugg series, nearly every leading textbook emerged from the era unscathed. Shortly after it condemned Rugg, the American Legion quietly retracted its attacks on Carl Becker, Charles Beard, and several other authors. Amid a spate of negative publicity, likewise, the NAM abandoned its textbook survey. With more diplomacy than accuracy, NAM officials stressed that the text summaries aimed simply to “illustrate” rather than to “appraise” the books; when the abstracts’ principal author openly condemned the books in a newspaper interview, the NAM moved immediately to distance itself from him. Worried members cited the electric utilities scandal of the 1920s, when power companies had been excoriated for pressuring text publishers and teachers. “The net effect . . . is likely to be unfavorable,” warned a NAM official in 1941. “The NAM will long be stigmatized as having attempted to establish a censorship of public education.”49 Even at this late date, in short, enough anti-business feeling remained to squelch any overall attack on liberal textbooks. Max Lerner’s imagined “reign of terror” would not materialize until after World War II, when new fears of communist subversion fueled a much stronger drive against so-called Red texts. “The Rugg type of thinking is not completely eliminated in this country, but it is much less prevalent today,” boasted the Burlington, Vermont, Free Press in 1950, a decade after it led the fight to remove Harold Rugg’s books from local schools. As new texts were produced, the Free Press editorial writer hoped, students would be “indoctrinated with the American ideas of individual freedom, as opposed to those espoused by foreign countries.” But Ameri-

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cans needed to keep on constant watch, the paper cautioned: once more, “foreign” influences were threatening to invade the body politic. Merging the nativism of the 1920s with “Red Scares” of the 1930s, the Cold War would spark the most furious textbook controversies that America had ever seen.50



In 1952 William F. Buckley Jr. asked American businesses to help fight “collectivism” in textbooks. Three years earlier his father had provided seed money for the Educational Reviewer, a small journal devoted to exposing texts’ bias toward “centralized political power” over the “private enterprise system.” The journal echoed many of the themes in Buckley’s surprise 1951 bestseller, God and Man at Yale, in which he argued that Yale economists were undermining the capitalist system that had enriched the university’s benefactors. But “subversive doctrine” in high school books was a far more serious matter, Buckley argued, and his family should not have to battle it single-handedly. Private entrepreneurs must not sit idly by while private enterprise was sabotaged.1 To Buckley’s chagrin, American business largely ignored his appeal. “It has always struck me as remarkable . . . how unintelligently [businessmen] dispose of their money,” he wrote. “Millions upon millions are poured into political campaigns . . . and so few nickels and dimes are aimed at mending the heart of this nation’s trouble—the collectivist influence in education.” The Educational Reviewer would soon expire for lack of donations, while “anti-capitalist” textbooks continued to dominate the classroom. Most astonishingly, some capitalists defended them. In one Long Island town an executive from the brokerage giant Merrill Lynch led the drive to retain the textbooks. Even the firm’s top managers, Buckley complained, backed the books, unwittingly digging a grave for the free-enterprise system that sustained them. “How

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little those in the business world know of what is happening to their country,” one Buckley ally lamented.2 Throughout the Cold War, right-wing activists aimed to strip textbooks of “statism, New Dealism, and socialism,” as an Illinois firebrand put it.3 But their reach exceeded their grasp, reflecting the overall frustration of American conservatives in the 1950s. As many historians have shown, a powerful and wide-ranging anticommunist consensus dominated national life in the wake of World War II. Scholars have taught us a great deal about Americans who trangressed this consensus from the left—about their ideologies, their sufferings, and (in rare instances) their espionage.4 We know much less about dissidents on the right, who argued that America’s entire culture and politics—not just specific individuals or institutions—were veering toward socialism or even communism. To these critics, the question of personal loyalty was often moot. However many actual “Reds” it harbored, conservatives claimed, America increasingly shared the “collectivist” ethos of its communist foe. Only when the nation threw off its statist shackles would it rediscover the radical individualism it had lost.5 The Cold War attack on textbooks represented the right’s effort to inscribe this view upon American schools. Hardly the exclusive province of members of the elite like William F. Buckley Jr., the struggle engaged thousands of parents, military veterans, and other grassroots activists. Converging on local school boards and classrooms, they protested textbooks’ allegedly “socialistic” bias toward public housing, progressive taxation, and other hallmarks of the modern welfare state. To be sure, previous text critics had crafted similar arguments: during the “little Red Scare” of 1939–1941, for example, conservatives charged that Harold Rugg’s emphasis on state controls subverted “the American Way of Life.” In the 1950s, though, the right drew a much more explicit link between what a California woman called “Communism, Socialism, and New Dealism” in textbooks.6 It also mounted fervid assaults on “world government,” assailing texts’ favorable accounts of the United Nations. Most of the time, these salvos fell far short of their mark. Critics did succeed in removing certain books and in revising others to portray

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a somewhat less rosy view of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his legacy. Textbook publishers also altered their accounts of communism in general and of the Soviet Union in particular, maligning both as unalloyed evils—if they were mentioned at all. But no text discussed the American welfare state itself as communist or even as “collectivist,” right-wing pleas notwithstanding. Instead, textbooks retained a tepid cast reminiscent of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “middle way,” celebrating individual initiative and enterprise but also supporting many forms of state regulation and control. To those on the right, this rapprochement reeked of surrender. “There is no compromise,” an angry supporter wrote to the Educational Reviewer, excoriating “middle-of-the road” textbooks. “There is no in-between arrangement . . . whereby we can be a little socialist and a little free.”7 Part of the failure of this effort to shape the Cold War curriculum stemmed from tensions between Protestants and Catholics, who were often unable to set aside their differences in the service of the conservative cause. Educational leaders also mounted a spirited defense of textbooks, enlisting parents and businessmen to rebut charges of “subversion.” Indeed, the same Americans who backed laws barring communist teachers rejected the idea that textbooks transmitted “communistic” ideas. The concept of “subversive” textbooks took hold only in the South, where it was linked to a new threat: racial integration. Across the country, race would soon replace communism as the central issue in America’s textbook wars.

Collectivism and Internationalism In June 1949 the experienced text activist Amos A. Fries took aim at America’s most popular civics book, Frank A. Magruder’s American Government. “The United States is called a capitalistic country, but it does not have pure capitalism,” Magruder declared in a passage Fries quoted. “The postal system, power projects, and progressive taxes are bits of socialism; and free public education and old age assistance are examples of communism.” To Fries this statement exemplified the peril of postwar textbooks: by celebrating America’s welfare state, they bolstered the communist enemy. So did the books’ unabashed praise for

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the United Nations and “world government,” a cliché of Soviet propaganda. Here Fries added a jab at the Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Rhodes Foundations, which lent their millions to “planned economy” efforts at home as well as to “one-world” movements abroad. Both developments had strong English roots; indeed, Fries quipped, “We know of no Rhodes scholar who has come back 100 percent American” following study in Great Britain.8 In many ways these comments echoed Fries’s earlier complaints about textbooks. In the 1920s he had reviled the “pro-British” biases of history books that analyzed the American Revolution as an economic struggle. In the mid-1930s he had spearheaded the attack on Carl Becker’s supposedly “pro-communist” discussion of Lenin and the Soviet Union. After World War II, however, critics like Fries began to argue that textbook accounts of America were themselves “socialistic” or even “communistic.” Likewise, they denounced the United Nations and other internationalist organizations as Red rather than pro-British, in spite of Fries’s lingering Anglophobia. Finally—and most ironically— Cold War critics attributed books’ “anti-capitalist” tone to capitalists themselves, who too often touted the same texts that subverted them. The first major target of postwar textbook activists was Building America, a three-volume social studies series issued by the curricular arm of the National Education Association in 1947. Initial protests surrounded the series’s “Russia” chapter, which allegedly exaggerated the achievements of the Soviet Union and underplayed its misdeeds. “If the book that I read was used in our schools throughout the nation . . . this country would be fully communized in 20 years,” warned a citizen in California, where Building America came up for adoption. State officials hurried to point out that Russian diplomats had faulted the series for its unflattering portrait of their country. But American critics were unmoved, still insisting that the texts “favored” the Soviet Union. “I would suggest . . . you all go to Russia for at least five years,” a second Californian told state officials. “When you return you can tell us truly if their way is better.”9 Opponents also charged that Building America glorified Social Security and FDR’s “court-packing” plan, both standard targets of Depression-era text attacks. To the new generation of text activists,

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however, such biases did not simply undermine “the American form of government,” as one protester proclaimed. Instead, such “New Dealish” prejudices gave aid and comfort to America’s Red foes. Critics alleged that the original material for the textbook series had been collected by “a group of Communists on the New York Works Progress Administration,” demonstrating a personal as well as an ideological link between “Welfareism and Stalinism.” But the strongest evidence lay in the texts themselves, which echoed socialist and communist demands for full employment, public housing, and other reforms. In the whitehot politics of the Cold War, the suggestion that America needed any reform was “subversive,” several California legislators resolved. “There should be a constructive, positive approach,” they insisted, “and emphasis should be placed upon the ‘good things’ of American life.”10 Buckling under this barrage from the right, California rejected the Building America series in 1948. The following year the Educational Reviewer provided a new voice for similar attacks on other history and social studies books. Its first issue featured a scathing critique of Magruder’s American Government, the same text that had caught Amos Fries’s eye. For over a quarter-century “Magruder’s” (as the book was known) had dominated high school civics instruction. But the text had recently embraced “Statist propaganda,” the Reviewer charged, including a “Communist party line” on American inequality: depicting poor people as “under-privileged” rather than unmotivated, it invoked the federal government as their savior. Critics also bridled at the book’s “Problems for Discussion,” which set forth collectivist solutions in the guise of “critical” questions. “Why has unemployment been called ‘America’s Public Enemy No. 1’?” Magruder’s asked in an oft-cited passage. “Do you believe that private industry alone can prevent it?”11 Other foes took issue with the text’s chapters on foreign policy. In 1950 Georgia’s state board of education barred Magruder’s because, according to the board member May Talmadge, it “too strongly advocated World Government.” “Too much emphasis is placed on Internationalism instead of Nationalism,” added Talmadge, a cousin of Georgia’s governor. “Instead of playing UP the ‘questionable’ advantages to be derived from loving and advocating every other country in the world, why is not a comparison made showing the great advantages

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of our free country over all others?” Talmadge especially objected to the book’s praise for the United Nations, a “Godless” organization devoted to “the advancement of socialistic schemes.” Georgia’s school board would draw nationwide ridicule in 1951 for attempting to sell its remaining 30,000 copies of Magruder’s to other states. Yet even if taxpayers had to absorb the cost of every old text, Talmadge insisted, Georgia should not hesitate to purchase new ones: “What goes into the minds of the children is much more important than having fine new play grounds and school rooms.”12 By late 1951 the attack on “world government” had spread west—to Texas and California—and had found a new bogeyman: the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In October Idaho Representative John T. Wood took to the floor of Congress to denounce UNESCO’s nine-volume booklet series, Toward World Understanding. No state or school district seems to have used the series—or any UNESCO materials, for that matter—to instruct children. In Houston, however, conservative “Minute Women” sent copies of Wood’s speech to all teachers and school officials, who promptly canceled the city’s student essay competition on the United Nations. In Los Angeles, meanwhile, controversy erupted over a locally designed curriculum unit on UNESCO and its teachers’ manual, which supposedly promoted “faceless citizenship in a monstrous world government.” Joined by Hollywood luminaries like Bing Crosby and Cecil B. DeMille, an array of patriotic groups forced the school board to remove the manual as well as to reject a $335,000 teacher-training grant from the Ford Foundation. “The patriotism of the Los Angeles school board was so intense that it [could] see Henry Ford II . . . and the other men who dominate the Ford Foundation as Communist agents,” quipped Robert Hutchins, an associate director of the foundation.13 Other critics skewered UNESCO for promoting birth control, an insult to Catholics and an insidious threat to American family life. Such charges became staples of attacks on textbooks during the Cold War, when any discussion of sexual practices—like any demand for social reform—seemed to play into communist hands. During the dispute over the Building America series, for example, Californians lambasted the books for discussing Margaret Mead’s research on sexual codes in

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Samoa: such ideas could only make students question their own social mores, which in turn would soften them to Red appeals. In Salpulpa, Oklahoma, critics actually burned several high school books for their subversive messages about “socialism and sex.” The most hostile attacks came from Texas, where segregationists charged that textbooks promoted racial intermarriage. Under the United Nations charter, critics noted, couples were guaranteed the right to marry regardless of race, nationality, or religion. Hence any “Communist” text that commended the UN gave at least an implicit imprimatur to miscegenation, a sign of “moral depravity” in “its lowest and vilest forms,” as one Lone Star hate-sheet editorialized.14 That editorial united three themes of right-wing assaults on textbooks—communism, internationalism, and sexual depravity—and linked them to a fourth one: race. Across the country, critics pressed publishers and school boards to omit any mention of the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, or segregation; such passages would inevitably foment what one New Yorker called “racial agitation,” a key component of communist propaganda. In Georgia the mere mention of Black poverty in Magruder’s American Government sparked threats of white retribution. Magruder “should be shot as a traitor to our Country,” one citizen proclaimed in 1950. “This type of stuff might be expected in the Harlem district of New York, but that it should be taught in the Public Schools of Georgia is unthinkable.” Two years later Alabamians discovered that one of their textbooks included a chapter on the Fair Employment Practices Committee and other efforts to fight racial injustice. Almost immediately the publisher agreed to delete the entire chapter. To guard against further “subversion,” Alabama’s legislature passed a law requiring all subsequent textbooks to carry a statement confirming that neither the author nor the people quoted had been members of a communist or “Communist-front” organization.15 The law was clearly aimed at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, long reviled by white southerners as a “Red” organization. In an impassioned letter to Alabama governor Gordon Persons, however, NAACP regional secretary Ruby Hurley charged that segregationist textbooks represented the truly “subversive” threat to the body politic. Segregation “may be a Southern tradi-

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tion,” Hurley allowed, “but it is not American, it is not democratic, it is not christian.” Here she was joined by several national business organizations, which worried that Alabama’s “pure-text” law undermined a different American tradition: free enterprise. Even as conservatives rallied to save capitalism from doom, it appeared that capitalists were standing in their way.16

Long Divisions The conservative economist Lewis H. Haney was known for his feverish denunciations of “collectivism” in social studies texts. In 1951 Haney himself became a target of attack. Leading this charge was the National Commission for the Defense of Democracy Through Education, which had been forged by the National Education Association during the Harold Rugg controversy a decade earlier. In newsletters, pamphlets, films, and even phonograph records, the Defense Commission warned that Haney and other textbook critics were destroying public confidence in public education. Many of the leading attackers had ties to fascist groups in America, the commission claimed; like fascists in Europe, moreover, they used innuendo and outright fakery to sway gullible citizens. Even a congressional investigatory committee had concluded that the Educational Reviewer—for which Haney served as an adviser—“smacks too much of the book-burning orgies of Nuremberg,” the commission noted. A similarly authoritarian spirit marked most other textbook assailants, who conspired—often in secret—to sabotage American schools.17 Haney’s response to these charges was simple: attacks on textbooks reflected “hundreds of spontaneous outbursts,” not a plot hatched by a handful of reactionary schemers. Publications like the Educational Reviewer merely gave voice to “the honest indignation of local citizens,” who resented the inroads of “statism” upon “free initiative and thought.” The only real threats to the public schools were the “goon squads” of the NEA’s Defense Commission, Haney told a radio audience in 1951. Squelching popular protest wherever it arose, the commission used many of the same “Gestapo-like” smear tactics—especially “guilt by association”—that it imputed to text critics. Other conserva-

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tives likened the Defense Commission to a latter-day monarchy, based not on divine right but on supposedly “expert” knowledge. “The educators appear to deny that the majority of the people have the right to rule,” wrote Amos Fries in 1951. So the people had to seize this power back, Fries added, restoring the American tradition of “free government” even as they rid the nation of its un-American texts.18 In the struggle over Cold War textbooks, then, each side portrayed the other as an evil cabal that manipulated or muzzled an innocent public. The truth lay somewhere between these extremes, reflecting a much more subtle politics than either set of antagonists acknowledged. While a small circle of national spokesmen led the assault on so-called collectivist texts, as educators correctly charged, the movement also attracted large numbers of grassroots activists. Likewise, the NEA’s Defense Commission and other educational agencies hardly represented the tiny, conspiratorial “front” that foes imagined. Even as they insisted that experts should select textbooks, these schoolmen recruited thousands of parents—and especially businessmen—in the texts’ defense. The result was a popular movement for professional control, backed by the same tribunes of free enterprise that the books allegedly undermined. The anti-text campaign resembled three concentric circles, with a small core of full-time ringleaders at the center, publicists surrounding them, and local agitators on the perimeter. Like Amos Fries, many of the leaders were already well known from previous textbook disputes. Some of their innocuously named organizations were also connected to fascist groups that flowered during the Great Depression, although the exact extent of these links was often obscure. For example, Fries’s Friends of the Public Schools had been founded in the 1930s by the notorious nativist Greta S. Deffenbaugh, with the single goal of checking “the rising tide of Roman political power” in America. Deffenbaugh was also a well-known anti-Semite, dating her text activism to an encounter with Jewish students in a Chicago night school many years earlier. Deffenbaugh claimed that the students had used penknives to slice the word “Christ” out of their textbooks, revealing their “deep hatred toward the Founder of a faith whose benefits the haters were enjoying.”19

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During the “little Red Scare” of 1939, however, the Friends of the Public Schools discovered a new enemy. Joining forces with Deffenbaugh, Fries persuaded her that communism was “a greater menace than Roman Catholicism,” as she acknowledged in 1943. For the next decade the organization would debate the comparative perils of these twin foes. Even at the height of the Cold War, some members continued to insist that “the threat of Romanism” outweighed the threat of communism. But others argued that communism was the more dangerous enemy, especially given the Soviet Union’s growing status as a world power. Updating Deffenbaugh’s anti-Semitism for a nuclear age, one activist warned that “Kike leaders” and “Zionist agents” had transported the Soviet peril to the United States. Others stressed Catholics’ leading role in stemming this Red tide, whatever their prior misdeeds. “If it came down to a showdown between the Catholics and the Communists,” one associate told Fries, “you would find me standing with the Catholics, who, as a group, are doing more to oppose communism than are the Protestants.”20 The Educational Reviewer was a distinctly Catholic combatant in the struggle against “collectivist” books. Funded by the devout Catholic William F. Buckley Sr., the Reviewer was edited by the Quebec-born writer and activist Lucille Cardin Crain. The product of a French convent school in Minnesota, Crain admitted privately that she was no longer a practicing Catholic. But she retained her public image as one, refusing to appease religious bigots in the interest of anticommunist unity. In 1949, for example, Lewis Haney urged her to omit Catholic sources and commentary from the Reviewer. “I have nothing against the Catholics,” Haney emphasized, “but a lot of people do.” Crain’s reply was quick and curt: no. The journal’s “primary criteria” should be “substance and competence,” she insisted; indeed, sectarian prejudice could only hamper the larger textbook struggle. In a letter to the right-wing writer Rose Wilder Lane, Crain praised Fries for his yeoman’s work against “radical trends.” Yet Fries was also “violently anti-Catholic,” she added, precluding the formation of a broad, cross-religious coalition against the common enemy.21 Ironically, other critics leveled similar charges against Lane. The daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House in the

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Big Woods children’s series, Lane worked tirelessly to promote these novels in schools: as she told Crain, her mother’s theme of self-reliance on the western frontier would “counter-act the predominant socialist influences” of American classrooms. But Lane also reviewed social studies textbooks for the National Economic Council, the brainchild of the anti-Semitic Merwin K. Hart. Hart had been flaying “collectivist” texts since the Harold Rugg controversy of 1940, when critics first exposed his connections to the Christian Front and other fascist groups. But his anti-Semitism did not become openly manifest until the postwar period, when Hart likened Jews to Nazis even as he denied that the Nazis had exterminated Jews. Most textbook assailants sought to distance themselves from Hart after that, fearful that his prejudice would taint their entire project. Lane seems to have stood by him, however, editing Hart’s Economic Council Review of Books for at least four years.22 Charges of anti-Semitism also surrounded Allen A. Zoll, the most controversial figure of the right-wing network. Founded in 1948, Zoll’s National Council for American Education issued some of the Cold War’s most bitter invective against textbooks. Not only were texts filled with “Communist propaganda,” Zoll maintained, but the educators who defended them were “stupid-intendents”—and Red ones at that. Schoolmen fought back, publicizing Zoll’s longtime links to Elizabeth Dilling, Gerald L. K. Smith, and other anti-Semitic activists. News reports of these connections caused several notables to quit Zoll’s group, including the boxer Gene Tunney and the World War II hero Jonathan Wainwright. But other text critics supported Zoll, dismissing the charges against him as either irrelevant or fraudulent. “I believe Allan [sic] Zoll’s outfit is doing a splendid job,” declared William F. Buckley Jr. in 1951. “As for Zoll’s past, I am utterly uninterested in it . . . None of the leftist smear organizations has yet convinced me that they have stopped lying when they deal with Allan Zoll.”23 Each of these leaders—Fries, Crain, Hart, and Zoll—distributed reams of literature and corresponded avidly with supporters in the field. As they readily acknowledged, however, their efforts were too limited in scope to alter school policy by themselves: at its height, for example, the Educational Reviewer sold a mere 2,000 subscriptions.

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To reach a wider audience, text critics resolved to find new avenues of “publicity.” Indeed, the term became something of a talisman within the Cold War textbook movement. Crain was married to an editor at Advertising Age and had once worked at the Madison Avenue giant J. Walter Thompson, so she appreciated the importance of good promotion. So did Zoll’s text reviewer Verne Kaub, a former public relations executive for a Wisconsin power company.24 In America the most powerful publicity agent was the daily newspaper. The text movement received its first boost from the Hearst-owned Chicago Tribune, which published a long series on “subversive” books in the autumn of 1947. The series was written by a little-known reporter named Frank Hughes, who would quickly become the most famous media voice in the Cold War text struggle. Borrowing heavily from reports by Lucille Crain and other activists, Hughes also shared his own research with them. Hughes warned Fries in 1949 that a Chicago suburb had removed one of Harold Rugg’s “collectivist” textbooks only to replace it with a book praising state welfare services in Uruguay. “By God, sir,” Hughes wrote to Fries, “this gang of social bandits is a tough one to whip, isn’t it?” When Crain worried that Hughes’s close connection to the text critics might be considered “unethical,” the journalist scoffed. Sending Crain a list of financiers who might contribute to the Educational Reviewer, he also interceded with the Tribune’s publisher, Robert McCormick, to plant favorable editorials and news stories about Crain’s efforts. “Maybe, all of us put together, we can make a dent on these guilty, defensive, pro-Communist bastards—who knows?” Hughes wrote to Crain.25 Hughes joined several other prominent right-wing journalists to forge a small but powerful publicity battalion. Its influence was best illustrated during the struggle over Magruder’s American Government, which started with a brief attack on the text in the first edition of the Educational Reviewer. The radio hosts Fulton Lewis Jr. and John T. Flynn read excerpts from the Reviewer’s attack on their syndicated shows, while Flynn vilified the book in his weekly newspaper column. The author of the best-selling 1949 diatribe The Road Ahead, which compared the American welfare state to Soviet tyranny, Flynn also alleged that textbook publishing houses were saturated with com-

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munists. But the latter claim drew little attention until Flynn’s attack on Magruder’s in 1950, which was lifted almost verbatim from the Reviewer. His two broadcasts about the book, Flynn told Crain, generated the largest audience response he had ever received. In Texas several schools even replaced Magruder’s with Flynn’s own book. Frank Hughes skewered Magruder’s in yet another Chicago Tribune series, meanwhile, working closely with Crain on both its content and its timing. The most concentrated attacks appeared in the Indianapolis Star, which ran seventeen anti-Magruder articles in less than a month. Like Hughes and Flynn, the Star’s publisher, Edgar C. Pulliam, quoted extensively from Crain and other conservative text activists.26 Thanks to these efforts, millions of Americans became aware of the war against high school textbooks. Flynn’s weekly column alone reached roughly 20 million people, while untold others heard his radio commentaries. But simple knowledge of the battle would not inspire citizens to enter it, as Flynn himself told Lucille Crain. A successful attack required not just “propaganda” but also “pressure,” Flynn explained, “to get the people thus propagandized to use the material at the point where it is most needed.” Actually, small local groups were already doing so. In Little Rock, Arkansas, citizens seeking to remove Magruder’s textbook sent copies of the Educational Reviewer to school officials and teachers; in Beaufort, South Carolina, a group of mothers cited Amos Fries’s Bulletin of the Friends of the Public Schools in their own demand for “patriotic” textbooks. Yet in a nation of thirty thousand school districts, Flynn pointed out, sporadic efforts of this sort would never eliminate “subversive” texts: witness the continuing success of Magruder’s, which was still used in over 70 percent of American civics classrooms in 1951. A national problem, textbooks demanded a national solution.27 In search of this remedy, Flynn looked to two obvious sources: veterans and businesses. The Rugg textbook battle of 1940 and 1941 had demonstrated the patriotic potential of the nation’s largest veterans’ group, the American Legion, which had deployed both its national magazine and its local posts against Rugg’s books. During World War II alone, moreover, Legion membership had skyrocketed from a million to 3.5 million; by the end of the decade it would top 4 million.

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Through its Counter-Subversive Manual and other publications, the Legion was already championing the postwar hunt for communists in government, labor unions, and especially schools. Together with other patriotic organizations like the Sons of the American Revolution, Flynn wrote, the Legion had the capacity to fight subversive textbooks “in practically every city and county in the United States.” Crain agreed, predicting that a friendly word or two from national Legion leaders would “stimulate their local members” to take up the text struggle.28 In an exact echo of the Rugg dispute, however, many veterans supported the allegedly subversive texts that their leaders censured. After the California Legion’s executive board blasted the Building America series in 1947, several local posts wrote vehement letters in the textbooks’ defense. One Legionnaire even suggested that the attack on Building America was a communist plot to undermine public schools—and eventually democracy. Likewise, Legionnaires in Washington, D.C., mocked the “ridiculous statements” against textbooks by “crackpots” like Amos Fries. In Michigan a joint committee of Legionnaires and school officials condemned the “black-listing of instructional materials” via “hasty, ill-advised, or snap judgment.” The committee further decreed that textbooks should examine “accomplishments and failures” in American history, so that students would develop the analytical abilities that democratic citizenship demanded. Adopting this report in 1949, Michigan’s state Legion convention asked national officials to do the same.29 The Legion’s top brass failed to take action on the Michigan resolution, underscoring a sharp but largely subterranean split within the organization over school textbooks. The issue would not erupt to the surface until June 1952, when the Legion’s national magazine published a vituperative attack on “socialistic” texts. Written by Irene C. Kuhn, a regular contributor to various right-wing publications, the article mostly repeated old charges from Crain and other sources. But it placed them under an incendiary headline, “Your Child Is Their Target,” which sent shock waves through the American Legion. Critics condemned Kuhn’s “untruths and misrepresentations,” which would foster a general distrust of schools and foil the Legion’s battle against the real foe: communist teachers. Thus far, a New Jersey veteran cautioned, school

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officials “had been extremely helpful” in rooting out “Reds” from the classroom. But if the Legion continued to cry wolf about textbooks, slinging baseless charges of “subversion,” educators would eventually dismiss their warnings about teachers as well.30 Across the country, state and local Legion posts heaped similar abuse upon the Kuhn article. Already on record as opposing “malicious” attacks on textbooks, Michigan’s state convention asked the American Legion Magazine to reject all future articles that insulted “the splendid work of the schools.” In Dearborn, meanwhile, Ford Motor Post No. 173 charged that many “patriotic” text assailants were really just fascists in disguise. “Hands Off Our Schools!” screamed the post’s newsletter. “Let’s investigate and look behind names as we have in fighting the Commies. Remember, just like the Commie fronts, these outfits bode no good for democracy.” To calm the tempest, the Legion’s national convention passed a tepid resolution reaffirming its support for “the American teaching profession.” But stormy divisions continued to plague the Legion, especially as attention shifted from “Commie texts” to UNESCO. While top officials reviled the agency for eroding American patriotism, a special Legion committee found that UNESCO’s educational materials were “no more subversive than the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen.” The Soviets had condemned UNESCO as a tool of American propaganda, the panel noted, while many leading business organizations gave it their firm support. But Legion leaders held fast to their anti-UNESCO position, insisting that communists were using the agency “to corrupt the minds of our children.” The capitalist approval of UNESCO merely indicated that capitalists did not understand their own interests.31 Throughout the Cold War, indeed, text critics focused some of their harshest scorn on American businesses. From the start, activists presumed that the nation’s corporate leaders would join veterans’ groups in blocking so-called collectivist textbooks. Just like veterans, however, businesses frequently defended these texts against “irresponsible” attacks. A handful of small business groups and wealthy individuals did endorse the campaign against subversive texts. But most larger corporations and foundations refused to do so, sparking a mixture of outrage and confusion among American conservatives. Some critics argued that businesses were simply ignorant, blind to the mortal threat that

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textbooks posed. Others charged that corporations had actually conspired with communists to sabotage America. Whatever the reason, businessmen were clearly undermining their own cause. “The private corporations of America, tagged to be ‘expropriated’ and liquidated under the dictatorship of the proletariat, soften the coming generation for the Communist onslaught,” surmised several California critics in 1947 on the eve of the battle over the Building America series.32 Building America had begun with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, which quickly became a bête noire of the right-wing textbook campaign. So did the Carnegie Corporation, especially after it joined hands with the Rockefellers in 1949 to underwrite the National Citizens Commission for the Public Schools. Chaired by the president of Time, Inc., Roy E. Larsen, the NCCPS distributed leaflets, films, and advertisements to rebut “attacks upon the schools”—particularly upon textbooks. Thereafter, text critics saw a Rockefeller or Carnegie hand behind every defense of “collectivist” texts. Some assailants charged that “radicals” like the accused spy Alger Hiss—a Carnegie Corporation official—had “infiltrated” the foundations, diverting them from science and medical research into “Marxist philosophy.” To other observers, however, the problem lay less in the subterfuge of a few evil plotters than in the overall ethos of American business. Obsessed with the future, American capitalists could not understand the lasting significance of the past. “It wasn’t by a slip of the tongue that Henry Ford said history is bunk,” one critic wrote in an attack on the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations. “If you don’t understand the role of tradition, you’re most likely to be concerned only with changing it, or destroying it, getting it out of the way . . . History can’t possibly be anything else but bunk to people who have this as their object in life.”33 After the foundations, text critics reserved their greatest disapproval for the National Association of Manufacturers. Typically regarded as America’s foremost tribune of business conservatism, the NAM had helped fuel the attacks on Rugg in 1940 by sponsoring a lengthy survey of social science textbooks. But the move had backfired, eliciting angry charges of censorship against the organization. When new text attacks surfaced in the early 1950s, then, the NAM moved quickly to distance itself from them. Appointing an “advisory committee” composed of

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leading educators, the NAM denounced “unjustified and damaging attacks on schools” by critics “who labor under the impression that education . . . means socialism and communism.” It added a plea for textbooks that examined “all systems of government” in an “objective” fashion, earning praise from the NEA’s Defense Commission but protest from America’s conservative text campaign. A Los Angeles radio host charged that the NAM had adopted “much the same line” as John Dewey, perhaps the most vilified symbol of subversion in the schools. In New York another text critic headlined an attack on the NAM with a rhetorical question: “Who Is Looking Out for Capital?” Not the NAM, apparently. Abandoning its former role as a zealot for free enterprise, critics claimed, the NAM had capitulated to the creeping collectivism of postwar America.34 Just a year after she founded the Educational Reviewer, indeed, a bitter Lucille Crain admitted that American capitalists had proven largely uninterested in her efforts. Business contributions to the Reviewer were sluggish; even worse, she told her friend Rose Wilder Lane, businesses too often backed “collectivist” texts and curricula. “Why does yours seem such a comfortable shoulder on which to weep?” Crain wrote to Lane. “Here I am again, complaining about businessmen digging their own graves.” Lane’s response was philosophical, arguing that American corporations paid too much attention to profits and not enough to ideas. Here, Lane claimed, capitalists actually mirrored their communist foes: “The trouble is their belief that money is power. It’s Marxian, of course.” In an earlier note to Crain, Lane had used even harsher language—and a different communist authority—to lambaste American businessmen: I agree with Lenin that there is nothing to do with them but kill them. And of course I do not contemplate killing them. They will accomplish this end, themselves. Seriously, as a matter of tactics, my opinion is that these men cannot think and that therefore it is a waste of time and energy to try to induce them to. Generally speaking, this group is the most dangerous one in this country because they have their thinking done for them; their money subsidizes the destructive socialists (who hate them for that reason).

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Only the most blunt, unadorned arguments would ever penetrate such thick and stubborn skulls, Lane added. She quoted her own recent letter to the brokerage kingpin E. F. Hutton, who—like executives at Merrill Lynch—had refused to aid Crain’s Educational Reviewer: “If you Big Business Men had the sense that God gives little green apples, you would act to protect your own property, your own liberty, your own lives, and that action would save this country. It is not the masses that need educating; it is the Mr. Huttons. And in my opinion you are not educable.”35 Several businesses and small foundations did join William Buckley Sr. in financing the Reviewer. But even these allies hesitated to publicize their position: after donating a small sum to the Reviewer, for example, the Chrysler corporation balked at Crain’s request to condemn several “subversive” texts in the Detroit schools. Moreover, this little corps of contributors could not possibly keep the Reviewer afloat once Buckley’s three-year $23,000 donation had expired. The Educational Reviewer suspended publication in 1953; Amos Fries’s Bulletin of the Friends of the Public Schools also died that year, another victim of business parsimony. “If you were supporting the Communists,” an enraged Buckley wrote to Crain, “I am sure that they would have gotten you substantial help from Wall Street and the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations.” Ignorant of their own interests, American capitalists were traitors to their country as well.36 As other correspondents admitted, however, the problem could not be blamed solely on American businesses. Fault lay with Americans, writ large, who simply did not heed activists’ warnings in sufficient numbers. “When will the American people waken—Too late?” an Indiana ally wrote to Amos Fries in 1948. “So many just don’t know, and do not seem to care.” Three years later a Washington, D.C., supporter underscored the same problem. “If more people would express themselves strongly I am sure that we could get prompt results,” wrote Adelbert W. Lee, vice president of the D.C. school board and a friend of Lucille Crain’s, “but I am distressed at the apathy . . . I only hope that more people will wake up before it is too late.” Shortly thereafter, Lee’s school board colleagues would dismiss his charges of “subversion” against Magruder’s American Government. They would cite not just the

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opinion of “trained educators”—who readily vouched for the text—but also that of “average” Washingtonians, who gave solid electoral victories to the board’s pro-Magruder majority. However much they feared “Communism in the schools,” it seemed, most Americans did not find it lurking in their children’s textbooks.37

Turning South As the Sons of the American Revolution heaped abuse upon the Building America series, California’s board of education asked its attorneys to analyze the SAR’s central accusation: that the series illegally “indoctrinated” children. The attorneys quickly dismissed the charge. Far from barring indoctrination, they argued, California law seemed to require it. After all, a statute enjoined schools to teach “morality, truth, justice, and patriotism” to every student. “It should be evident that there is nothing inherently wrong with indoctrination,” the attorneys explained. “The problem is [the] selection of principles to be indoctrinated.” The SAR sought to inculcate one form of “patriotism,” while Building America aimed to instill another. Now Californians would have to decide which version they wanted their children to learn.38 For the next decade citizens throughout America would face the same decision. As the California attorneys correctly assumed, the vast majority of Americans agreed that schools—and especially textbooks— should teach “patriotism.” They also agreed that schools should eschew communism, the moral and political antithesis of patriotic Americanism. Within this broad anticommunist accord, however, sharp differences arose. To the SAR and its allies, the battle against communism demanded a full-scale assault on “collectivist” texts. Yet theirs was a minority voice, even during the heyday of the Cold War. By 1954, if not earlier, both the critics and the defenders of American textbooks declared that the campaign against the books had failed. True, the movement had achieved some important victories. But even these triumphs were often temporary, revealing the overall weakness of the right-wing text campaign. A few weeks after Chicago’s school board rejected Magruder’s, public protests forced it to return the book to the city’s “auxiliary” list. In Georgia, likewise, the state

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board of education restored the text two years after it was removed. As a sop to critics the board agreed to delete Magruder’s brief section about the United Nations charter. But the Texas education board rejected a similar demand, refusing to appease the state’s “UN-haters,” as one official boasted.39 Moreover, almost every legislature that considered bills to regulate textbook content rejected such measures. Even as they refused an appropriation for Building America, for example, California lawmakers also voted down a law to bar “propaganda” and “controversial books and teaching” from state classrooms. Illinois legislators defeated a bill that would have allowed any citizen to call for an evaluation of “unAmerican material” in texts. After President Eisenhower condemned “book-burning” in a commencement speech at Dartmouth College in 1953, nearby Vermont rejected a measure to establish a “state censorship board” for school texts. Only Texas and Alabama passed “puretext” laws, as opponents called them. Requiring authors to take an oath of loyalty—and publishers to swear that deceased authors would take the oath, if they were alive—the Texas measure was never enforced; in Alabama a court struck down the state’s text law before it could go into effect.40 Likewise, state legislatures’ antisubversive committees balked at the prospect of investigating or censoring school textbooks. Convened in dozens of states, these “little HUAC’s” devoted a huge fraction of their efforts to identifying—and removing—allegedly “un-American” teachers and college professors. But textbooks were a different matter altogether. After a Maryland citizen complained about texts in his district, including Building America, the state’s special prosecutor for subversive activities found “nothing subversive” in them; later he would reject several demands to examine and censor other books. When Washington State’s Un-American Activities Committee asked for permission to investigate textbooks, lawmakers simply refused to grant it. Only Illinois, with its notorious Broyles Commission on Seditious Activities, seems to have created an official “textbook censorship committee.” During the single meeting it held, however, this panel could not agree on a definition of “subversion” or a mechanism for detecting it in Illinois texts. Discussion quickly shifted to the far less controversial

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subject of “Red” teachers, echoing the nation’s larger pattern. By 1950 twenty-six states required teachers to take loyalty oaths; four years later more than 90 percent of Americans agreed that communist instructors should be fired. But lawmakers drew the line at textbooks, marking a critical division within the nation’s anticommunist consensus.41 Like state legislators, Congress refused to regulate—or even to review—school textbooks. Indeed, its lone foray into the text question provided a rare instance in which lawmakers on both sides of the aisle acknowledged that they had overstepped their bounds. After their victory in California’s battle over Building America, the Sons of the American Revolution petitioned Congress for a national investigation of “subversive propaganda” in textbooks. The House Un-American Activities Committee started to comply, asking a random sample of schools to provide lists of the texts they used. But this sole request caused such an outcry among educators that HUAC’s chairman, John S. Wood, abruptly canceled the survey. Normally the most fervent anticommunists in Congress, Republicans took the lead in opposing any further text investigation; in fact, they blamed the entire episode on overzealous Democrats. Thereafter, both parties skirted the issue. A second SAR textbook complaint was diverted from HUAC to the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, where Chairman Elbert Thomas promptly buried it. Predictably, text critics responded by accusing Thomas of “communistic” sympathies. Like critics’ local and state defeats, however, the congressional episode actually confirmed that the critics themselves had breached the far boundaries of America’s anticommunist consensus. Even at the height of its frenzied search for subversion, Congress refused to extend the quest into textbooks.42 Taken together, all these failures—in school boards, state legislatures, and Congress—undermined the text attackers’ claim that they spoke for “the people.” Throughout the Cold War, thousands of veterans and other citizens rallied against textbooks. But this popular movement generated an even more popular “countermovement,” as one observer remarked in 1954. The following year no less an authority than Harold Rugg pronounced the campaign against textbooks “dead or dormant,” strangled by an outpouring of public sentiment in the books’ defense. Applauding the large numbers of Americans who had

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backed the books—businessmen, journalists, and even a sprinkling of veterans—another educator declared hopefully that “the tide in textbook attacks has turned.” From now on, he predicted, “extremist” voices would find smaller and smaller audiences for their complaints against the books.43 The tide did turn, but not quite in the direction that educators expected. Rather than evaporating altogether, right-wing text criticism drifted south of the Mason-Dixon Line.44 The regional difference came into sharp relief with the publication in 1958 of Brainwashing in the High Schools by E. Merrill Root, a former English professor and a longtime contributor to right-wing journals. Providing a fairly standard critique of “Marxian collectivism” in high school history texts, Root added a more original—and incendiary—charge: that reading these texts had caused American prisoners to succumb to communist indoctrination during the Korean War. The claim won widespread ridicule in the North, where critics quickly retorted that eighteen of the twenty-one “turncoat” prisoners had not completed high school. Indeed, Root’s book generated far more opposition than the history texts he had flayed. After Root testified on behalf of an Illinois textbook censorship bill in 1959, lawmakers and other witnesses trained their fire upon him. The future U.S. senator Paul Simon mocked Root’s effort to “measure subversion by the inch”; on the other side of the chamber, a Republican legislator lambasted Root for impugning the patriotism of text authors; and in the sharpest attack, the historian Ray Allen Billington charged that Root had simply imagined a “Moscow-inspired force” in American textbooks. The text bill went down to a resounding defeat, as much a referendum upon Root as upon the books he had hoped to remove.45 In the South, though, Root received a far friendlier welcome. Just before his Illinois debacle, lawmakers in Mississippi enlisted Root to analyze twenty-seven supposedly subversive texts in their high schools. A Quaker from New England, Root was no segregationist: in his report to Mississippi legislators he openly acknowledged his own support for voluntary mixing of races in schools. But Root’s rabid anticommunism could nevertheless buttress the segregationist cause, as southerners came to realize. After all, his list of “Reds” who were cited—or

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worse, celebrated—in “collectivist” texts included William O. Douglas, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many other prominent voices for racial justice. After Root condemned twelve Mississippi texts for their “pink political fog,” lawmakers immediately demanded that schools remove them.46 During these same years, text attacks by national patriotic societies also revealed a decidedly southern shift. Apparently inspired by Root’s Brainwashing in the High Schools, the Daughters of the American Revolution released a list of 170 objectionable texts in 1959. Unlike Root, whose work focused only on history, the DAR included literature, biology, music, and even arithmetic books on its roster of condemned texts. Like Root’s book, however, the DAR list mainly influenced schools south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Northern members of the organization seem to have ignored or even condemned the text effort: in Connecticut one DAR leader charged that attacks on subversive books “have done more to subvert a free society” than the texts themselves. But in the South women seized eagerly upon the DAR campaign. Examining local text lists alongside the DAR roster, activists unearthed forty-four “subversive” books in Mississippi; in Georgia the total swelled to sixty-nine. Alabama’s DAR, rather than simply comparing book titles, established its own textbook study committee. The panel found subversion lurking in every corner of the curriculum, especially in literature anthologies. For example, one story chronicled a lazy squirrel who raided a birdhouse for nuts. “Have you ever heard or read about a more subtle way of undermining the American system of work and profit and replacing it with a collectivist welfare system?” the DAR panel asked. “Can you recall a socialistic idea more seductively presented to an innocent child?”47 As the 1960s dawned, the new trend of “Teaching about Communism” exposed sharp regional differences in the battle against it. By 1962 six states had passed laws mandating special instruction about communism; in thirty-four others education departments included such teaching in the state curriculum. The trend began in the North, where advocates argued that an “objective” approach to communism would best prepare students for detecting and resisting it. “It is not necessary to maintain the position that everything about communism is a failure,” warned a booklet issued jointly by the American Legion and

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the NEA. “Instruction about communism should not resort to the use of totalitarian propaganda techniques.” In the South, however, a singularly hostile view still held sway. Florida’s law specified that schools “lay particular emphasis” on “the dangers of Communism, the ways to fight Communism, the evils of Communism, the fallacies of Communism, and the false doctrines of Communism.” In Louisiana a teachers’ guide for the course flatly declared that “socialism and the welfare state are waystations on the road to communism.”48 Both states used films produced by Harding College, a small Arkansas school that was fast becoming the intellectual center of Southern anticommunism. But Harding was also increasingly marginalized by the rest of the nation. Even as southern schoolchildren watched Harding’s film Communism on the Map, which warned of a Soviet plot to conquer the globe, the U.S. Department of Defense banned the movie from its own training facilities. In neighboring Mississippi, meanwhile, the arch-segregationist governor, Ross Barnett, mocked northerners for ignoring the communist menace in school textbooks. Seizing control of his state’s text-selection system, Barnett vowed that all future books would defend “the Southern and true American way of life.”49 Barnett’s equation of “Southern” with “true American” neatly captured the key shift in Cold War textbook attacks. Born as a largely northern campaign to defend America’s “free enterprise system” from “creeping collectivism,” the war on textbooks had become a southern fight to protect the country from a much more imminent threat: racial integration.



In 1966 the prominent Black historian John Hope Franklin and two colleagues published a new junior high school history textbook and submitted it for adoption in California. The previous year the state had passed a law requiring history texts to “correctly portray the role and contribution of the American Negro and members of other ethnic groups.” Entitled Land of the Free: A History of the United States, the new textbook was crafted to satisfy the recent California measure— and, the authors hoped, to capture the rich California market. “American practice has not always measured up to the ideal of ‘government by the people,’” Franklin and his co-authors declared in the introduction, noting the nation’s historical discrimination against Blacks, Indians, and women. Thanks to these groups’ latter-day campaigns for civil rights, however, “actual rule by the people has become more and more of a reality,” they added. “Most Americans agree that this trend should continue.”1 But the book’s reception suggested otherwise. Letters to California state officials ran almost two to one against adoption of the text, which critics accused of fomenting “agitation” among Black students and “self-loathing” among whites. “We do not believe that you can improve race relations by continued emphasis on injustices of the past,” wrote two angry correspondents, citing the textbook’s lengthy analyses of slavery, segregation, and the struggles against each. “Neither do we believe that a generation of white students should be made to feel guilty.” Some critics recommended that the text add “balance” to

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its allegedly “pro-Negro” accounts: many slaves were “happy,” one asserted, while the battle against Jim Crow had brought with it “Black Power, the Watts riots, and the high Negro crime rate.” To other white conservatives, however, any discussion of racial conflict would corrode patriotism—and promote cynicism—among children of every color. “This is no place to ‘debunk’ our heroes,” another Californian wrote, clearly referring to white “heroes” rather than to Black ones. “It should be the place to teach respect and admiration for them.”2 After several rounds of revisions, Land of the Free won adoption in California as well as in a handful of urban school districts across the country. Yet this so-called integrated textbook continued to draw fire from white conservatives, who were soon joined by some unlikely allies: Black nationalists. Shortly after Philadelphia adopted Land of the Free, thirty-five hundred African-American students rallied outside the school board office for separate courses and textbooks on Black history. Although Land of the Free was a vast improvement over earlier “lily-white” texts, the students acknowledged, they asked for a history curriculum tailored to their specific problems and perspectives. “We’ve been taught to hate ourselves, our features, our hair,” explained a sixteen-year-old student at Benjamin Franklin High School. “The movement is attempting to get blacks to think black.” At Franklin two hundred students staged an all-night sit-in to demand courses on Black history and “Afro languages,” as well as Black teachers to instruct these new classes. They also asked that the city made famous by Ben Franklin rename their school after their hero: Malcolm X.3 Together, these dual attacks on Land of the Free—and, more generally, on integrated history—suggest a revision of scholars’ own narrative about the fate of history instruction over the past four decades. Most accounts of the subject follow a fairly linear model, in which the “liberal” history reforms of the 1960s are arrested or even reversed by a “conservative” reaction in the 1980s and 1990s.4 By contrast, I argue that these changes were contested—and, most significantly, constrained— from the very start. Reformers did win important victories, forcing text publishers to add minority achievements and to delete egregiously racist passages. Thanks to the strange tandem of white racial conservatives and Black racial militants, however, the traditional themes of

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American high school history—freedom, progress, and prosperity— remained mostly undisturbed. White watchdog groups blocked any material that might undermine the grand national narrative: George Washington Carver and Jackie Robinson were acceptable, as one Land of the Free critic wrote, but Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey were not.5 Out in the schools, meanwhile, Black students increasingly insisted that any national narrative would neglect or erase their distinctive experience. Abandoning the longtime quest for “inclusion” in the “regular” curriculum, these young militants demanded a curriculum of their own—not just in history, but in literature and the arts as well. More than historians have appreciated, the militants succeeded. Less than two years after the citywide student demonstration in Philadelphia, nearly half of the city’s junior high and secondary schools offered electives on Black topics. The most commonly listed course was Black history; others included African history, Black art, Swahili, and “Chinjanja, the language of Mali.” But this sharp growth came at a cost. At least 90 percent of the students enrolled in the new courses were Black, raising the specter of two “race curricula” in schools—separate, antagonistic, and irreconcilable. As one African-American historian pointed out, many students could now select between a “white” history course—the standard U.S. survey class—and a “Black” one. Even worse, the new Black classes provided white school officials with a handy excuse for “doing little or nothing” to alter the so-called regular curriculum, as another scholar warned. Once the clamor for separate Black courses died down, he predicted, American schools could expect “a full-scale return to segregated courses”—in other words, to an allwhite version of the past.6 He was only half right. The push for Black history classes subsided in the late 1970s, causing one embittered observer to dismiss the entire movement as a “fad.”7 But the campaign left a strong imprint on the general history curriculum, which opened its doors to a new set of multicultural heroes. Ballooning to seven hundred or even eight hundred pages, textbooks increasingly revered Frederick Douglass, Cesar Chavez, and Sitting Bull as well as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Even Turner and Vesey were now depicted as noble martyrs, in sharp contrast to the murderous fanatics

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that earlier texts had described. But nowhere did history books suggest that the new set of heroes required readers to reevaluate the old ones—for instance, that Douglass’s critique of slavery might tarnish the image of Washington or Jefferson. Diversity and banality went hand in hand, the twin legacies of America’s tortured encounter with race in the twentieth century.

Pricking the American Conscience “When I were a child in Virginia, came Negro History time and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, every blackboard had pictures up of famous colored peoples, and every teacher would tell us about the great mens and womens of the colored race,” declared the poet Langston Hughes’s fictional character “Simple” in an article Hughes published in 1960. “We had some good colored teachers down South, and they had race pride, and they cared about our history.” Following the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, Hughes complained, Blacks had lost their passion for the subject. Here he echoed spokesmen for the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which dwindled after the death in 1950 of its founder Carter G. Woodson. “With the beginnings in public school integration . . . some people may presume that emphasis upon Negro history should be unnecessary,” an ASNLH pamphlet worried in 1958. “Nothing could be farther from the truth!”8 Both Hughes and the ASNLH exaggerated the decline of Black interest in Black history. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Blacks attacked racist slurs and misrepresentations in high school history texts. In New York they blasted a book that repeated the shibboleth of ignorant Blacks looting the South during Reconstruction; in Chicago they protested a text that praised the Ku Klux Klan for protecting defenseless whites; and across the country they petitioned the well-known race liberals Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager to revise a popular textbook that described the typical American slave as a cheerful, contented “Sambo.” For the most part, however, these attacks had little effect. A miffed Morison refused to change his book, noting that “Sambo” had been his own childhood nickname—and that his daughter was

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married to Joel Spingarn, president of the NAACP.9 Even champions of so-called intergroup education in the 1950s turned a blind eye—or a disdainful frown—on Black text protests.10 Promoting special school assemblies to enhance racial tolerance and sensitivity, they dismissed Black textbook critics as being too sensitive—and insufficiently tolerant. “To insist that Negroes be given equal rights with other citizens is one thing; to insist that their particular sensibilities entitle them to exercise a kind of censorship is quite another,” opined the Washington Post, denouncing Blacks’ “humorless touchiness” about the term “Sambo” in textbooks.11 The civil rights revolution of the 1960s would alter American textbooks forever. Joining hands with a new and more sympathetic generation of white liberals, Black activists forced the removal of numerous racial slurs. In 1962, most notably, a fresh edition of Morison and Commager’s text dropped its infamous “Sambo” passage. And Blacks managed to insert a wealth of new—and overwhelmingly positive— information about African-American history and culture. In the Morison and Commager book, for example, a description of slave runaways and rebellions replaced the earlier material about joyful and passive bondsmen.12 Simultaneously, though, a resurgent white conservative movement blocked any larger revision of American history that the Black experience might have implied. Racially plural but ideologically static, the integrated texts would set the stage for yet another AfricanAmerican attack on history instruction in the late 1960s. As early as 1959 a publishers’ journal reported that “the drive to desegregate schools” had sparked Black demands for integrated schoolbooks. Within the next few years nearly every leading civil rights organization entered the textbook arena. In 1961 a NAACP resolution demanded texts that “properly present the contribution of the Negro to American culture”; in 1963 Urban League officials called for a “nationwide struggle” against “all-white” textbooks; and in 1965 the Congress of Racial Equality deplored the books’ “stereotypes and distortions of the role of Negroes.” That same year the Urban League convened a tense conference between Black leaders and representatives of the publishing industry. Most of the publishers endorsed the Blacks’ aims but cautioned against “moving too fast,” fearing that white school boards

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would eschew integrated texts. Outraged Black leaders retorted that publishers should produce “what people ought to know, not just what will sell,” as Urban League director Whitney Young proclaimed. “Don’t approach integration like castor oil,” Young urged. “For once, look at something not as a problem but as an opportunity . . . Your job as human beings is to do what is right. Take a position.”13 At the same time, Black leaders recognized that they could not rely solely on publishers’ altruism. Like all educational struggles, an NAACP official noted, the text battle would be won or lost “on the local level”—district by district, school by school. Rather than simply condemning racist books, then, the NAACP also asked Black communities to organize against them. Across the country, thousands of AfricanAmericans heeded the call. In Brooklyn, New York, activists produced a report decrying “racist poison” and “white supremacist propaganda” in local textbooks; as far away as Chicago, Blacks used the same report to demand new texts in their respective school districts. The loudest dispute occurred in Detroit, where Blacks asked school officials to remove the city’s eighth-grade history text, Our United States. The book included a fictional account of a southern plantation overrun by “Yankees” during the Civil War. After a northern soldier reads the Emancipation Proclamation, an elderly slave, “Uncle Josephus,” steps forward and asks, “Please sir, may we please go back to our work now?” Under heavy fire, the Detroit school board agreed to issue a “supplementary booklet” in 1963 that addressed Blacks’ “struggle for freedom and rights,” including slave uprisings. But the board refused to drop Our United States, deeming it the “best book available.”14 In protest, the Black activist Richard B. Henry—probably the leading voice in Detroit’s textbook war—withdrew his son from the schools. He also demanded a “Purification Commission” of citizens and school personnel, to “review all books now in the system” and “weed out those which are white supremacist.” As Henry’s language underlined, Blacks’ concerns about textbooks cut across the curriculum. Activists attacked books not only in history but also in English, geography, civics, science, and even home economics. As early as 1957 Blacks in New York denounced Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for its use of the term “nigger” and for its portrait of the slave character

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Jim. Three years later a Connecticut NAACP chapter condemned a local high school literature anthology for reprinting Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Gold-Bug,” which also used “nigger.” Yet in most instances, Blacks complained, books used in English classes simply ignored them. The worst offenders were primary-school “readers,” which retained their lily-white cast of characters well into the mid-1960s. A 1962 cartoon showed a Black mother reading a first-grade primer to her daughter, who asks plaintively, “Where Am I?” The caption gave the sad answer: “Still Missing.”15 Demanding a place in American textbooks, Black activists used three basic arguments in the 1960s. Not surprisingly, all three were strongly connected to the era’s civil rights movement. First, Blacks claimed that accurate history texts might help persuade stubborn whites to revise their views on present-day quests for racial justice. “If white Americans knew the true facts about the Negro and his place in American history as contrasted with the diabolical myths of the ‘stereotype’ Negro,” asserted one Philadelphia advocate on the eve of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, “the American conscience would be stirred and awakened by this powerful moral imperative.” Especially after the Act passed, meanwhile, text activists claimed that new books were needed to translate its goals into practice. Regardless of what the law said about “equal rights,” they noted, most whites would not regard Blacks as equal until schoolbooks depicted them as such. The third argument concerned Black psyches, not white ones. If texts continued to ignore or denigrate African-Americans, Black children would develop “feelings of separateness and inferiority,” as several Philadelphia activists wrote in 1964. Here they echoed the theories of Kenneth B. Clark and other “damage” theorists, whose work undergirded Brown v. Board of Education and many other arguments against Jim Crow. If physical segregation was harmful to Blacks, “segregated” textbooks were just as dangerous—if not more so.16 Distinct but compatible, these claims often appeared side by side. In the final book he wrote before his death, for example, Martin Luther King Jr. argued that biased school curricula had augmented both “white supremacy” and “the Negroes’ sense of worthlessness.” Two years earlier, King recounted, his children’s integrated school had

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staged a program of “music that has made America great.” The event featured songs from various immigrant groups, but none from Black America’s rich musical tradition. At the end of the evening, to make matters worse, all of the children—including King’s—sang “Dixie.” King wept that night, he recalled, both for white children who learned that “the Negro is an irrelevant entity” and for Blacks who were denied “a knowledge of their heritage.” Indeed, he insisted, the latter problem amounted to the “cultural homicide” of Black Americans. “The Negro must boldly throw off the manacles of self-abnegation and say to himself and the world, ‘I am somebody . . . I have a rich and noble history, however painful and exploited that history has been,’” King wrote. No “Johnsonian civil rights bill” could help African-Americans attain this type of freedom, he cautioned. Statutes and laws might guard Black rights, but only study and learning could free Black minds.17 Nevertheless, the same “Johnsonian” liberals who designed civil rights protections in Washington also sought to enlist federal power on behalf of integrated history texts. Sometimes this effort was simply a matter of using the bully pulpit, as when Hubert Humphrey— Lyndon B. Johnson’s vice president—condemned the “Negro history gap” in American schools. Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, meanwhile, Congress earmarked about $400 million for schools and libraries to purchase “multi-racial” and “multiethnic” books. Yet many districts continued to adopt “lily-white” ones, sparking a bitter set of hearings on Capitol Hill the following year. Convened by the Harlem legislator Adam Clayton Powell, the hearings featured pleas by several Black spokesmen to withhold federal funds from schools that used all-white books. After all, the spokesmen reasoned, Congress could already deny funds to districts that segregated students. Why not assign the same penalty to schools that purchased “segregated” texts?18 The answer, replied U.S. Commissioner of Education Harold Howe II, lay in America’s venerable tradition of local control in education. Although he strongly supported Black legislators’ goal of integrated textbooks, Howe explained, he could not countenance any measure that allowed federal officials to “dictate” or “censor” content. Other critics seemed less worried by the principle of federal control

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than by its likely outcome: mixed-race books. “If they want to integrate, fine. If they don’t, fine,” North Carolina’s school superintendent told the Powell hearings in a brief in favor of “local selection” of texts. “The events of the past week have been to force people to integrate [textbooks] beyond what they want to.”19 As the last remark illustrated, the drive for integrated texts—like the battle for integrated schools—met with white resistance and recrimination. Hostility to the text campaign cut across America’s regions, but it also differed from place to place. Southerners were the most likely to invoke an explicit racial doctrine: Blacks and whites simply should not mix, whether in classrooms or in text illustrations. “When a publisher goes before an adoption committee in a southern state,” one textbook company executive noted in 1965, “the first question he is asked is, ‘Are there any pictures of Negroes in these books of yours?’” If the publisher’s answer was yes, educators usually said no to the texts in question. Beyond the issue of illustrations, southerners often rejected books that mentioned “problems” or “difficulties” surrounding race. As late as 1969 whites in Birmingham, Alabama, blocked a textbook for alluding to the church bombing that killed four Black girls in the city in May 1963. In truth, the text’s authors bent over backward to appease local sensibilities: attributing the tragedy to lower-class “white extremists,” they absolved Birmingham’s political and economic elites. Into the early 1970s, however, any reference to racial violence, hostility, or prejudice often spelled the removal of a textbook.20 The slow trickle of Black notables into the books also brought white protest in the South. In Florida a teacher who used a text showing Black Union soldiers during the Civil War found the tires of her car slashed and its windows covered with warnings. Other critics objected to newly included “Black heroes” like Frederick Douglass and Ralph Bunche, whose stories tended to place whites in a negative light. “For God’s sake,” pleaded a white Virginian in 1970, “give us some history to be proud of.” Even as they condemned the inclusion of famous Blacks in the texts, however, the same critics often alleged that these individuals were not Black at all. “That man Bunche [is] around 75 white and COMES FROM GERMAN JEW STOCK, and has never used the Jungle brains of his Negro ancestors,” wrote a particularly rabid white

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critic in Maryland. As illogical as they were hateful, his dual claims— that the textbook shouldn’t include Blacks, and that they weren’t Black anyhow—resembled the “broken-pot defense” of courthouse lore: my client did not steal the pot, and besides, it was already cracked.21 In the North, by contrast, whites tended to phrase their objections to textbooks in class terms rather than racial ones. Rarely did a northern white critic of integrated textbooks—or, for that matter, of integrated classrooms—invoke inherent differences between Blacks and whites.22 Instead, northerners complained that well-to-do elites had imposed a pinched, negative conception of America on hardworking, patriotic Americans. This view was particularly apparent in the hostile reaction that greeted the 1968 Kerner Commission Report on urban riots, which suggested that “racism” caused these disorders—and that textbooks were an important vehicle for its transmission. Nonsense, replied many working-class whites. “These were not wise men who descended from the mountain, tablet in hand, that were chosen to perpetuate the myth that the white race is racist,” a New Yorker wrote after school officials cited the Kerner Report in a plea for more “realistic” discussions of racism in state textbooks. “The only people who accept the findings of that Report are the guilt-ridden liberal intellectual community who accuse themselves of being ‘Reformed Racists’ from 9 to 5 and repair to their exclusive country clubs after hours.” The satirist Jules Feiffer captured this working-class white jeremiad in a cartoon depicting a worker in a hard hat who complained: When I went to school I learned that George Washington never told a lie, slaves were happy on the plantation, the men who opened the West were giants, and we won every war because God was on our side. But where my kid goes to school he learns that Washington was a slaveowner, slaves hated slavery, the men who opened the West committed genocide, and the wars we won were victories for U.S. imperialism. No wonder my kid’s not an American. They’re teaching him some other country’s history.23

Most of all, white conservatives claimed, textbooks’ new emphasis on race would bias children of all colors against their country. “Of

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course, we do have much of which we are not proud,” admitted one California parent, “but why play up our mistakes, downgrade our heroes, and please our enemies?” She took aim at John Hope Franklin’s Land of the Free, which harped on America’s long history of prejudice— and thereby played into “unpatriotic” and “Communistic” hands. In fact, critics complained, Land of the Free mimicked the Soviet tendency to “re-write” history in accord with present-day concerns. Whereas Russian books inevitably brightened their nation’s image, however, Land of the Free steadfastly darkened America’s. “It is like a beautiful red apple, but inside this red apple we find a worm,” wrote another Californian. “This book is written on negativism to give the child a feeling of guilt of the injustices imposed upon the Indians, the immigrant, and, particularly, the Negro, by his forefathers.” The struggle over Land of the Free was part of a much larger fight “for the minds of our youth,” the critic continued. “It is becoming very unpopular to stand up for America.”24 After a long battle, Land of the Free won adoption in the state. But first the book was revised to temper its emphasis on “national shortcomings,” mirroring America’s larger pattern of textbook development in the 1960s. To be sure, hundreds of textbooks that had ignored or denigrated minorities now included accurate and sympathetic material about them. Texts also devoted increased attention to formerly tabooed subjects like Nat Turner’s revolt and the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans. As a Michigan survey revealed, however, such episodes were rarely presented as “an integral part of the narrative.” In other words, the new information about minorities was not allowed to alter the old story about peace, justice, and freedom. The price that white America exacted for diversity in the textbooks was triumphalism in their tone.25 Whenever new textbooks threatened to tarnish white America’s image, indeed, white Americans mobilized quickly against them. In Michigan parents who happily countenanced Jackie Robinson and Louis Armstrong in their textbooks bridled at one book’s description of Chicago’s 1919 race riot. Quoting a Polish youngster who urged violence against “niggers,” the passage outraged Michigan’s large PolishAmerican population. “Education is getting a positive image about

Black Activism, White Resistance, and Multiculturalism * 10 9

oneself,” one parent explained. “No child, white or black, will get a positive image by reading about stabbings, war, the problems. For me, our history is still made up of heroes and heroines, but when you look at these books, there are no heroes and heroines.”26 The last remark pointed to a final legacy of 1960s textbooks: the flowering of “ethnicity.” From Poles and Puerto Ricans to Italians and Indians, dozens of ethnic groups won recognition in the texts. By 1966, in fact, a single primary-school reader in Chicago depicted no fewer than fourteen different ethnicities. Copying Black activists, ethnic spokesmen sometimes clashed with them as well: in California, for example, Native Americans and Hispanics both denounced Land of the Free for devoting too much attention to African-Americans and not enough to other groups. All Americans deserved a place in the texts, one Chicano activist wrote, which would ensure “greater pride in their ethnic group” as well as a “greater sense of personal worth and dignity.” Congress enshrined this view in law with the Ethnic Heritages Act of 1972, providing federal funds to stimulate “greater awareness of cultural variety” in the curriculum.27 By this late date, however, many Black Americans were doubting whether “regular” school courses could do justice to their culture. Although they had been the key architects of America’s new multi-ethnic textbooks, Blacks increasingly abandoned this project in favor of a separate history: their own.

Black Resistance to Integrated History The Black Action Movement of Kalamazoo, Michigan, typified this militant trend. Composed mainly of high school students, the group sent a letter to its local school board in 1967 deploring several “violent incidents” between Black and white pupils. Then the group listed two major demands: Black representation on the cheerleading squad and Black history courses in the curriculum. As one observer noted, the first request echoed the integrationist impulse of Kalamazoo’s NAACP, an “older and less militant” organization. But the call for separate classes reflected a growing sense of nationalism among young Blacks—and an impatience with the NAACP’s “integrationist” approach. In the gymnasium, to be sure, Blacks still aimed to “make history” by breaking

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racial barriers. But in the classroom, increasingly, they wished to study that history on their own.28 Within the next four years dozens of school districts reported similar demands by Black students. In Plainfield, New Jersey, three hundred students boycotted classes for a day, gathering at a local youth center to hold their own history “teach-in”; eighty-two Blacks walked out of school in Erie, Pennsylvania, earning a two-week suspension from their incensed principal. Even Evanston, Illinois—“one of the Midwest’s wealthiest, most conservative, most self-satisfied suburbs,” in the words of one journalist—witnessed a “history strike” by two hundred African-American students. The largest demonstration for Black history courses occurred in Philadelphia, where thirty-five hundred students rallied outside the Board of Education headquarters. School officials later admitted that they had been caught unaware by the protest, which culminated in a violent melee with local police. “The voices of students were heard loud and clear on college campuses at least four years ago [but] most of us in basic education failed to read the signals clearly,” said the city’s school superintendent, Mark Shedd, “and bang, the student rebellion has crept downward in age group.” Like Black university students, it seemed, Black high schoolers wanted courses that were “relevant” to their “needs”—especially in history.29 Many of the protests occurred in cities that had already adopted integrated history textbooks. Yet as one Detroit school official explained, students wanted “their own history” rather than a “revised edition of American history.” By 1969, indeed, young Black militants already rivaled white conservatives as the leading critics of the integrated approach. Of course, Blacks and whites had sharply different reasons for their opposition. Whereas whites worried that new texts overemphasized the Black experience, African-Americans argued that the texts underestimated it. “I think if they intermingle Black history with regular U.S. history, they’ll miss a lot,” argued a member of the Black Peacestone Rangers at a Milwaukee high school. “They won’t put as much as they would if there was a separate course.” Even where textbooks and course syllabi included substantial material about Blacks, moreover, this information received short shrift in the classroom. The problem was captured by a cartoon in a New York underground stu-

Black Activism, White Resistance, and Multiculturalism * 1 1 1

dent newspaper, showing a white teacher at a blackboard. “Today we’re going to talk about Negroes in America,” the teacher announces. “We have just talked about Negroes in America, now on to the principal battles of . . .”30 Second, students complained, teachers who did discuss Black history presented it from a “white” rather than from a “Black” perspective. Black achievements and struggles were used to demonstrate the overall strength and justice of “America,” obscuring the nation’s continued oppression of African-Americans. “When you study America they say, America—land of the free,” complained a Black student in Peoria, Illinois. “I see blacks asking for freedom, but they don’t get it . . . And the teachers refuse to admit this.” Here, too, blacks reversed the white conservative critique: whereas whites thought integrated history belittled the grand national story, Blacks claimed that it bolstered that same story. Although Frederick Douglass and even Nat Turner might receive respectful hearings in integrated textbooks, the texts more often lionized a Crispus Attucks or a Jackie Robinson. Like the books’ white heroes, Attucks and Robinson seemed to confirm the essential virtue of America; Douglass and Turner did not. “When I said write a report about a great American, I meant someone like George Washington or Benjamin Franklin,” declared a teacher in a 1968 cartoon, scolding Black students in her class. “I’ve never even heard of Denmark Vesey!”31 To many young Blacks in the late 1960s, the solution to this problem was obvious: they needed separate history classes, in which they chose the heroes. For all of their eloquent attacks upon “white” teaching, Blacks rarely questioned one of its central tenets: that history required the selection and celebration of “great” individuals (almost always men). Instead, Blacks demanded new ones. “Crispus Attucks laid down his life for America, but would he have laid down his life to stop the white man in America from enslaving black people?” asked Malcolm X in a much-quoted 1964 address. “So when you select heroes . . . let them be black heroes who have died fighting for the benefit of black people.” Like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X frequently argued that Blacks needed to study their history in order to surmount their sense of inferiority. To Malcolm and his young Black admirers, however, the

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destructive effects of physical segregation could only be overcome by an equally segregated curriculum. Especially where Black students had been scarred by Jim Crow, schools needed separate courses stressing “the positive elements” of Blacks’ “racial and cultural heritage,” as one sympathetic white scholar wrote.32 It followed that these classes should be taught by Blacks, students argued, not by “Negroes” or whites. “Negroes” referred to Black teachers who had been “debased, demoralized, and brainwashed” by “white” history, a Black student newspaper in New York put it. Nor could white instructors successfully oversee “the true instillment of self-image” into young blacks, the paper added. If whites were hired to teach Black history courses, they would “teach the lessons from a white point of view, thereby whitening the images of our already little known heroes.” In Los Angeles, similarly, Blacks scoffed when a white teacher was assigned to a Black history course. “He couldn’t be relevant if he wanted to,” one student jeered. True, other Blacks admitted, well-meaning white teachers had amassed impressive knowledge of the Black past. Try as they might, however, these instructors could never offer the direction and inspiration that Black students needed. “If you want to learn how to be a carpenter, you get apprenticed to a carpenter, not a bricklayer,” one activist explained. To learn “true” Black history, a Black child must “apprentice” with a Black teacher.33 Many Black students applied the same argument to the rest of the curriculum. From the arts and foreign languages to science and even math, Blacks’ distinct culture mandated different classes. “They don’t have any black oriented courses in this school,” complained one student. “In home economics they don’t teach the black girls to cook for the black men they will eventually marry; in sewing class they don’t teach them how to make any Afro or Afro-American clothing.”34 The problem was especially acute in English literature, where white citizens and school boards often blocked works by James Baldwin, Claude Brown, Eldridge Cleaver, and Langston Hughes. As in the battle over history, some Blacks joined with like-minded whites to demand the study of these authors in the regular curriculum.35 More commonly, however, Black students demanded their own “Black Literature” courses alongside Black history.36

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Especially in large cities, they succeeded dramatically. In less than five years, Black students effected one of the most remarkable transformations of the public school curriculum in the twentieth century. By 1970 Los Angeles offered four separate electives in Black history, Black literature, African studies, and Swahili; a single high school in Berkeley created eight different “Black-oriented” courses, including African dance, economics of African-Americans, and history of jazz. In theory, such courses were open to students of every race. In practice, though, white students avoided them. Chicago initially provided Black history electives at all of its forty-seven high schools, but soon removed the courses from predominantly white schools for lack of enrollment. Only in Cleveland did a majority-white school garner sufficient registration for a Black history course; significantly, most Blacks in that school eschewed the course because it lacked an “adequately militant viewpoint.” Everywhere else, it seemed, Black students dominated Black history. In Madison, Wisconsin, pupils in the course even created their own study lounge. “Knock Before Entering or Suffer Consequences,” warned a sign on its door. “This is a Black Concentrated Study Area. All Blacks Welcome.”37 Likewise, most African-American adults probably welcomed the new Black-studies courses. According to polls, only a small fraction of Black Americans supported the separatist political agenda of militant groups like the Black Panthers. But Blacks demonstrated much more sympathy for the Panthers’ cultural goals, which included separate Black history courses in the schools. Without such courses, warned the Michigan congressman John Conyers, “our nation’s traditional white education will continue . . . turning Black students into whitened sepulchers to assure the stability of the status quo.” Out in the schools, most Black teachers and administrators still backed the long-range goal of integrated history. But in the short term, they said, schools must provide separate Black history classes “to help older students make up for years of neglect.” A truly integrated American history required a segregated curriculum, at least for the time being.38 To be sure, several prominent Black educators refused to board the Black-studies bandwagon. In Philadelphia, for example, the Black minister and school board vice president Henry N. Nichols complained

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that new Black courses threatened to establish a “South African Bantu system” in the city. The NAACP’s executive director, Roy Wilkins, warned against replacing “white history” with “black history,” George Washington with George Washington Carver; in fact, Wilkins suggested, schools that divided courses in this fashion might be in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Even among the NAACP’s militant critics, Blacks often questioned the separatist tendencies of Black studies. “I happen to be one black power advocate that does not go along with the idea that we can do it all by ourselves,” declared the Washington, D.C., educator and activist Julius Hobson. Instead, Hobson told a congressional hearing, Blacks should “integrate our history into American history and do it on an honest basis.” Another Black skeptic cautioned that separate courses were more likely to reinforce—not to revise—the myths of “white” history. After all, Black history courses allowed white school officials to appease Black “agitators” while ignoring the biases of the regular curriculum. Radical in its rhetoric, “Black history” would be deeply conservative in its consequences.39

From Black History to Multiculturalism The movement for a separate Black history in American schools fizzled almost as quickly as it flared, leaving a vapor trail of frustration and recrimination. One basic cause of the decline was the lack of qualified teachers. Eager to hire Blacks to teach “Black-oriented” courses, too many schools, one critic wrote, appointed instructors “whose only credentials are 1. an Afro hair style and 2. a dashiki and beads.” In the classroom, hastily prepared Black-studies textbooks and curricula often transmitted their own historical inaccuracies: one text informed students that Columbus had received permission “to exploit the underdeveloped lands” from “the King of Europe.” Most of all, Black history courses were simply boring. Like regular history classes, they quickly devolved into lists of names and dates that were memorized—and forgotten—each year. “Who’s this Crispus Attucks that keeps getting killed off every semester?” Black students in California quipped.40 Created to spark pride among African-American youth, Black history seemed to have the opposite effect. By 1978 NAACP director Ben-

Black Activism, White Resistance, and Multiculturalism * 1 15

jamin Hooks complained that young Blacks’ interest in their past had never been lower. The Black columnist Jim Cleaver reported visiting East Berlin, where “little white children” told him “the life story of Paul Robeson”; back in Los Angeles, however, Black children had never even heard of him. “It is about time that we stopped sitting on our butts, crying the blues about what the system does or does not do, and make some changes in the minds and the education of our children,” Cleaver wrote. He even looked back wistfully on the “Negro History” of his own childhood in the segregated South, where teachers “understood that Black children needed to know about their forebears.” To Black militants in the late 1960s, “Negro” signified racial treason, a bootlicking capitulation to white authority. But as Cleaver sadly noted, the selfproclaimed “Negro” children at his Kentucky elementary school—a school named, appropriately, after the Black poet Phillis Wheatley— had known far more Black history than most present-day AfricanAmericans did.41 Still, Blacks could point to several clear and indisputable victories that emerged from the turmoil over race and history in the 1960s. Dozens of states passed laws or resolutions requiring the study of American minorities, including Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans as well as African-Americans. States and school districts also made new efforts to celebrate Negro History Week, which was renamed AfricanAmerican History Week and then Black History Week in the early 1970s. By 1973 even George C. Wallace proclaimed it in Alabama. Probably America’s preeminent symbol of white racism and recalcitrance, Wallace urged Alabamians “to pay special attention . . . to the many contributions that African-Americans have made to our state and nation.” In 1976 Congress designated the entire month of February Black History Month; by 1980 every state had adopted it for their schools. Long barred or simply ignored in American classrooms, the study of African-Americans had actually become a requirement in them.42 Also, textbooks devoted far greater attention—and more accurate information—to Blacks and other minorities. As recently as 1966 southern school districts had balked at the mere appearance of Blacks in textbook illustrations. By the early 1980s, however, students across the country read about Sojourner Truth and Frederick

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Douglass, Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Textbooks also admitted an assortment of other ethnic luminaries, ranging from Pocahontas and Sacajawea to Roberto Clemente and Cesar Chavez. Given white America’s longtime resistance to diversity in history, this development was no less astonishing—and no less momentous—than George C. Wallace’s proclamation of African-American History Week. Several demographic and political changes accounted for the sharp rise of integrated textbooks in the late 1960s and 1970s. The first, ironically, was the decline of integrated schools in the urban North. The era witnessed an enormous exodus of whites into private schools or the suburbs, turning formerly biracial city school districts into heavily Black ones. By 1976 twenty-one of America’s twenty-nine largest school districts had black majorities. In Detroit, where Blacks accounted for 44 percent of residents in 1970, 64 percent of students in the schools were African-American. Just ten years later Blacks made up 63 percent of the city’s population—and 86 percent of its schoolchildren.43 Publishers quickly identified these newly segregated school systems as huge potential markets for “integrated” textbooks. As early as 1963 the publisher of Our United States—the text that had sparked Black protest in Detroit—began to remove offending passages. “If we win an adoption in Detroit, we don’t care about Mississippi,” the publisher explained. “We sell more books in Detroit.” The following year Detroit did readopt the revised version of Our United States. Four years after that the city school board released one of the nation’s first districtwide standards for “multi-ethnic publishing.” Warning against too many illustrations of “slum environments,” the Detroit guidelines instructed publishers to show minorities “in positions of leadership.” Most significantly, the guidelines specified that 25 percent of pictures in each text should include a member of a minority group. Although nonwhites made up just 14 percent of the nation’s population, one publishing official noted, they were a majority in Detroit. “Twenty-five percent representation is a compromise which is acceptable in Detroit,” he concluded, “and should be equally acceptable in other areas of the nation.”44 By the early 1970s even the South began to adopt integrated texts.

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Lest they lose customers south of the Mason-Dixon Line, publishers initially released all-white “mint julep” editions along with their integrated ones. Thanks to strong federal oversight and intervention, however, southern school systems became more integrated during the same years when urban districts in the North became less so. On the eve of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, only 2 percent of southern Black children attended majority-white schools; just six years later one-third of them did. With more Blacks going to the polls as well as to integrated schools, officials risked their political careers if they continued to adopt mint julep texts. “There were few public attacks [on] history textbooks so long as the ideals they represented remained dominant,” wrote a Virginia observer in 1970, noting Black protests against a history text that described “cheerful” slaves. “What used to be good politics has become bad politics.” Virginia’s state board of education dropped the offending text two years later. The board also directed that new texts include more illustrations and information about racial minorities, especially African-Americans and Hispanics.45 Nevertheless, two other factors continued to constrain what textbooks could say—and what students could learn—about America. First, texts retained an emphasis on “positive images” in history: every ethnic group could have its place in the textbook sun, so long as no textbook ever said a dark or critical word about its members. “The principle that lies behind textbook history,” Frances Fitzgerald would observe in 1979, “is that the inclusion of nasty information constitutes bias even if the information is true.” Hence texts that formerly had described Spanish conquistadors’ attacks on Indians now made no mention of this violence, lest Hispanic readers take offense. Native Americans might object, as well, arguing that these passages reinforced the stereotype of Indian-as-weakling or Indian-as-victim. Best, then, to downplay or omit the entire episode. Likewise, passages about present-day minorities omitted anything about their problems; even illustrations invariably showed them with smiles, Fitzgerald noticed, as if “all non-white people in the United States took happy pills.”46 The more America widened its ethnic scope, the more it seemed to narrow its critical lens. Second, textbooks never revised—or even examined—the larger narrative that supposedly bound these “happy” groups together. To be

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sure, the fulsome praise of America in its history books was as old as America itself. Thanks to the dual efforts of white and Black activists, though, this tradition emerged essentially unscathed from the turmoil of the 1960s. Whites allowed new actors into the national story so long as the story stayed the same; Blacks often abandoned this narrative altogether in a quest to create their own. The result was a history of many parts but no whole, other than a bland affirmation of “freedom” and “democracy.” Just as Black History Month was added to the school calendar, Black history was tacked on to American textbooks. Presented in this detached and disjointed manner, it allowed citizens of every color to avoid the crucial question: What does the Black experience tell us about America? In March 1968 the author James Baldwin testified before Congress on behalf of a proposed National Commission on Negro History and Culture. Baldwin heartily endorsed the commission’s goal of promoting greater study and awareness of Black history. But he also insisted that this study occur as part of American history, lest whites and Blacks alike miss its real meaning. “It is our common history. My history is also yours,” he told lawmakers. “My history, though, contains the truth about America. It is going to be hard to teach it.” By presenting Black history as a separate story, American schools un-doubtedly made it easier to teach. But they also evaded its difficult implications, adding a special poignancy to Baldwin’s final plea: “I am the flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone; I have been here as long as you have been here—longer—I paid for it as much as you have. It is my country, too. Do recognize that that is the whole question. My history and culture has got to be taught. It is yours.”47

PART 2 GOD IN THE SCHOOLS On July 21, 1925, a jury in Dayton, Tennessee, convicted John T. Scopes of violating a state law that prohibited the teaching of evolution in public schools. Immediately, both parties to the conflict claimed victory. To the anti-evolution stalwart William Jennings Bryan, who assisted the prosecution, the Scopes verdict upheld the “moral” truths of the Bible over the “material” explanations of science. Despite their defeat in Dayton, meanwhile, Scopes’s attorneys insisted that they had triumphed in a much more important venue: the court of public opinion. “I think this case will be remembered because it is the first case of this sort since we stopped trying people in America for witchcraft,” declared the leading defense lawyer, Clarence Darrow. Another Scopes attorney called the trial a “victorious defeat,” because “future generations will know the truth” about human evolution.1 Both sides were wrong. Wary of causing further controversy, publishers quietly pared most material about evolution from high school biology textbooks. Anti-evolutionists remained fairly quiet, too, withdrawing from public view to build their own fundamentalist ministries, schools, and colleges.2 But they returned to the fray in the 1940s and 1950s, when a new battle about religion shook American public schools. Contrary to the shared presumptions of Bryan and Darrow,

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the conflict did not concern whether to teach religion but rather what religion to teach. Mainline Protestants asked schools to transmit an expansive, “social” brand of Christianity, stressing the Bible’s proclamation of peace in this world rather than its promise of salvation in the next one. Here they clashed not just with Jews and Catholics but also with a resurgent fundamentalist movement, which sought only to convert each student to Christ. Mainline Christians abandoned public school religious training in the early 1960s, when the Supreme Court banned teacher-led prayers and Bible reading. But religious worship continued, promoted by African-Americans as well as by white conservatives. Advocates of prayer in the schools initially aimed to restore a “Christian America,” returning a wayward nation to the word of God. By the 1980s, however, they phrased their appeal in terms of minority rights rather than scriptural authority. On the question of sex education as well as on prayer, Christian conservatives argued, schools should award their culture the same respect and recognition that racial and ethnic minorities received. Here conservatives echoed the renewed drive against evolution, which followed a similar path from moralism to pluralism. After the Supreme Court’s 1968 decision in Epperson v. Arkansas, which struck down state bans on the teaching of evolution, Christian activists started to demand measures requiring “equal time” for biblical and Darwinian viewpoints. The Court’s 1987 ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard dealt this movement a temporary setback, rejecting a Louisiana law that would have required schools to present “creationism” alongside evolution in the classroom. But anti-evolutionists simply shifted their focus from legislatures to school boards, where they won a host of equal-time provisions. Like prayer supporters, they were careful to request the inclusion of their beliefs rather than the exclusion of others. Even Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell conceded that John T. Scopes should not have been convicted at Dayton, because Scopes was “teaching both points of view—evolution and creation.”3 To skeptics, conservatives’ embrace of pluralism was simply a ploy to reinstitute religious instruction. From a different standpoint, though, the new pluralist consensus represents a momentous opportunity to

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improve all instruction in our schools. In history classes, especially, a wide variety of perspectives on America’s checkered past would encourage students to develop their own interpretations of it. A healthy democracy requires citizens who have the skills and desire to make up their own minds—about evolution, history, and everything else.



In January 1946 Erwin L. Shaver, America’s leading religious educator, sent a triumphant bulletin to newspapers across the country. A court in Champaign, Illinois, had upheld the city’s system of “released time,” Shaver announced, whereby students moved to different classrooms once a week to receive religious instruction from their respective churches. As director of Weekday Religious Education (WRE) for the International Council of Religious Education, a multi-faith umbrella group, Shaver had watched nationwide WRE enrollments skyrocket from 250,000 in 1935 to about 1.5 million by the end of World War II. In New York City alone, more than 170,000 pupils participated in the program. “The world situation . . . has stirred us as never before,” Shaver wrote, alluding to the “human depravity” of the war. “People in all walks of life are turning to moral and religious education . . . It is essentially a grass roots expression of spiritual need.”1 Privately, however, Shaver worried that some of the roots might sprout into poisonous weeds. Even as judges upheld WRE, he warned, “fundamentalist” groups were mounting “a vigorous bid for control” of it. Whereas mainline churches stressed Jesus’ message of peace and social justice, Shaver noted, fundamentalist WRE classes attended only to his pledge of individual redemption. Hence they also drew upon “‘hill billy’ singing” and the other “emotional” techniques of revival, hoping to shepherd young flocks into Christ’s kingdom. “There are many people in these movements who cannot be assimilated,” Shaver cautioned in a confidential report on “conservative Christians” and

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the public schools. “Their stock in trade is criticism of the established churches and opposition to liberal social outlook and interpretation of the gospel.” Especially in rural areas, he added, fundamentalists were poised to displace the “modernistic” churches that had started WRE. Although the courts had affirmed the concept of weekday religious education, in short, its content remained very much in dispute.2 Two years later the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn the Illinois rulings and invalidate Champaign’s WRE plan. Writing for the majority in McCollum v. Board of Education, Justice Hugo Black famously ruled that Champaign’s released-time system breached the First Amendment’s “wall between Church and state.” But WRE continued, fueled as much by competition between Christians as by their shared contempt for the Court’s decision. In one California community students could select from four released-time options during the 1949–1950 school year: Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Roman Catholic, and Christian Science. The mainline class would emphasize “Living as World Christians,” according to its advertisement in the local Released Time Weekly Herald. By contrast, the evangelicals’ announcement stressed “belief in the Bible as God’s Word” and “knowledge of Christ as personal savior.” Catholics celebrated the sacraments as well as “the establishment of the Church by Christ,” while Christian Scientists taught children to interpret the Bible in light of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health. Only Jews declined to participate in the program, complaining that it underscored “religious differences”—and thereby undermined harmony across them.3 Where released time was suspended or eliminated, finally, ministers sought to infuse the regular curriculum with new religious content. Nothing in the McCollum decision forbade Bible reading in the schools, clergymen emphasized. Nor did the Supreme Court bar prayers, religious pageants, church music, and other devotionals that might “fill part of the gap” left by vanishing WRE programs, as Shaver wrote in 1949. Shaver especially welcomed the new ecumenical movement to teach “moral and spiritual values” in public schools, reminding children of different faiths about the “divine authority” that bound them together. Even at this high level of abstraction, however, interfaith unity was often elusive. Jews opposed almost all school-based religious

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exercises, which would either bootleg Christianity into the schools or distill every theology into a bland, colorless brew. The latter concern was echoed by fundamentalist Protestants, who flinched at the idea of “compromise” with other faiths. “Religion taught on the basis of common elements reached by striking out all differences in creeds might satisfy more liberal religionists,” declared one fundamentalist leader in 1951, “but to the evangelical Christian it would be not only inadequate but also repugnant.” Better to strip the schools of all traces of religion than to teach children a religion that was not true.4 Together these examples illustrate the sharp antagonisms surrounding religion in postwar public education. Most historians of the subject adopt a legalistic “church/state” perspective, stressing the courts’ efforts to delimit when and how religion might be taught or practiced in the schools.5 By contrast, I trace the bitter struggles between religious groups over what the curriculum would contain. Working sometimes within and often beyond the shifting boundaries of court doctrine, liberal Protestants promoted courses and exercises to stress “Christian social relationships” and “the real meaning of brotherhood,” as a Virginia minister wrote.6 In this they were challenged not just by Jewish groups—a central theme of the church/state literature—but also by Christian fundamentalists, who sought to inject their own values and perspectives into the schools. Even Jews occasionally tried to influence the curriculum, despite their leaders’ demands for a “strict separation” between religion and government.7 Defending released-time programs as well as joint Hanukkah-Christmas celebrations, some Jews argued that “the people of the Book” should support, not suppress, religious instruction. Echoing liberal Protestant fears of fundamentalists, other Jews warned that sects like the Lubavitchers would move into the schools if the mainstream rabbinate refused to do so. In the late 1940s and 1950s a powerful consensus about religion—a “faith in faith”—seized American culture and politics. Congress added “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance, made “In God We Trust” the slogan for currency, and set aside funds for its own prayer room; in the White House, Dwight D. Eisenhower famously remarked that Americans required “a deeply felt religious faith—and I don’t care what it is.” Songs like “The Man Upstairs” and “Big Fellow in the Sky” climbed

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to the top of the charts; Hollywood blockbusters included The Ten Commandments and A Man Called Peter; and a doll that could kneel in a praying position was marketed by the Ideal Toy Company, which hailed “the resurgence of religious feeling and practice in America today.”8 Yet this apparent agreement on the importance of “faith” masked crucial debates about its actual content, as the struggle for WRE demonstrates. Throughout the early postwar period, released-time classes would expose the bitter rivalries and antagonisms beneath America’s façade of religious consensus.

Weekday Religious Instruction As America emerged from the Great Depression, religious leaders in New York and North Carolina launched ambitious new efforts to shore up religious instruction in their respective states. In 1940 a special White House conference on “Children in a Democracy” had reported that half of American youngsters never attended church or Sunday school. Stepping into this breach, New York churchmen won a bill allowing public schools to release students so that they could obtain religious training. In North Carolina, meanwhile, ministers persuaded the state board of education to let them offer “Bible” as a regular, accredited course during normal school hours. In both states, churches would set curricula and provide classroom supplies for the weekday program. They would also bear all of its expenses, including publicity costs and teacher salaries.9 Almost immediately each project registered impressive gains. In New York City alone, student released-time enrollment soared from 4,500 in February 1941 to over 100,000 in January 1942. By 1943 more than 20,000 pupils in 75 North Carolina communities elected to take Bible courses at school. In both states religious education assumed a distinctly ecumenical flavor. Although New York City released its Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish students to separate off-school “WRE Centers,” the program was administered by a citywide “Interfaith Committee” representing all three religious groups. In the heavily Protestant schools of North Carolina, Methodists and Baptists shared Bible classes with Presbyterians and Episcopalians; in a few towns, handfuls

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of Catholic, Quaker, and even Jewish children joined them. Hence teachers took pains to avoid narrow, “denominational” viewpoints, as one instructor wrote, instead stressing the broad message of justice, tolerance, and love. “If we are to have an era of peace and brotherhood,” another North Carolina teacher explained, “the rising generation must have a deepened understanding and appreciation of God’s word.”10 Elsewhere, too, weekday religious education surged in the 1940s. Northern school districts tended to follow some version of the “Gary Plan,” named after the released-time system pioneered in 1913 in Gary, Indiana, by Superintendent William Wirt. As in New York, larger districts typically released pupils to off-school locations; in rural areas students were more likely to remain inside the schools for their weekly “church” lessons. South of the Mason-Dixon Line schools usually adopted the “Chattanooga Plan” of the Tennessean J. P. McCallie, a private academy principal who persuaded his city’s public schools to offer elective Bible courses in 1922. Both types of WRE declined during the Great Depression, when church coffers tightened considerably. But religious instruction rebounded during World War II, sparked not just by apocalyptic news from abroad but by a healthier economy at home. In Fremont, Ohio, all but 8 of 1,278 elementary pupils in 1945 received weekly lessons from two church-sponsored teachers, who “rode circuit” between the town’s various primary schools; in Morgantown, West Virginia, 94 percent of the entire student body enrolled in Bible class; and in Chattanooga itself more than 15,000 children in 55 schools took the course. Across America, at least 2,000 communities—including 21 of the nation’s 38 largest cities—provided some form of WRE to their public school students by 1946.11 To boost enrollment in these classes, churches advertised WRE in newspapers, radio spots, and store windows as well as in sermons and Sunday schools. In Pittsburgh the cover of a WRE promotional pamphlet featured an attractive teenage couple holding hands. “AN ALL AROUND PERSONALITY means you at your best—mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually!” the pamphlet exulted. In North Carolina churches distributed scripts for a play, set outside a high school registrar’s office, that encouraged students to sign up for Bible class. Seeking an “easy” elective to fill his schedule, a student asks his friends

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whether Bible fits the bill. Another scoffs at the course, declaring that “only sissies go in for that religious stuff.” Both students are quickly corrected by their peers. “What do you mean, sissies?” one boy replies. “You don’t call our football squad sissies do you? And half of them were in there this year.” Another student warns that Bible is hardly a “krip” course: it demands as much work as other electives, if not more. But it is also “lots of fun,” a third pupil attests. In the end, of course, the two skeptical students register for Bible. “I’m not convinced,” one of them cautions, “but I guess it can’t hurt me. If I don’t like it, I can get out.”12 Many students, it seems, did just that. “When they find out how much work is involved they drop out,” reported a churchman in North Dakota, one of the few northern states to offer high school Bible courses. Religious instruction was more popular among younger children, thanks to the “project method” that elementary-level teachers often employed. In this they merely emulated the Master Teacher, one WRE instructor noted, since Jesus “sent His disciples on missions, that they might ‘learn by doing.’” In North Carolina Bible classrooms, for example, students built soap carvings of Rachel’s Tomb, produced puppet shows based on the life of Joseph, and reported on Joshua’s conquest of Jericho for an imaginary “Radio Station Israel.” When they reached the New Testament, they even created newspapers announcing the Crucifixion and the Ascension. The smallest children were often content simply to listen to Bible stories, which one boy deemed “as good as the comic strips.” (“That was a new comparison for me,” his teacher wrote, “but high praise from his standpoint.”) Older students watched movies depicting the Creation, Cain and Abel, and Noah’s Ark, plus a special film about “the life of George Washington Carver.”13 As the juxtaposition of Carver and the Bible suggests, religious educators often used WRE to preach racial equality and justice. “Upon us rests the responsibility of presenting the Prince of Peace,” wrote the Spindale, North Carolina, Bible teacher Louise Bashford in 1943. “If we fail we leave [students] surrounded by the hardness and the cruelty of war that breeds hate; lost in the inequalities of an economic system that begets servants of mammon; slaves within the mental stockades of racial injustice. We cannot fail. We must not fail. Ours is a Holy task.” Other Tar Heel Bible teachers circulated “The Prayer of a Modern

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Pharisee,” which used the Pharisee’s plea in Luke 18:11—“God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are”—to mock contemporary prejudice. “Especially, Lord,” the parody began, I thank thee that I am a Southerner and not a Yankee. Thankful, too, am I, to be an occidental and not an oriental—one of those “lesser breeds without the law.” True that Confucius and Gautama Buddha and Abraham and Moses and Kagawa and Gandhi were, or are, great men, but I never liked slanting eyes or the wrong shape of nose . . . I thank thee that I am white, not yellow or red or brown or black. The Bible does teach that “While man looketh on the outward appearance, God looketh on the heart,” but the outward appearance counts for a lot below the Mason and Dixon line.14

During “Brotherhood Week” in February 1941, New York WRE teachers brought Black and white students together to deliver an “interracial radio program” over the air. More typically, however, northern WRE instructors focused on bridging religious differences rather than racial ones. One Massachusetts minister argued that the simple act of uniting diverse Protestant denominations in a single released-time class reminded children how much heritage and faith they shared. Other WRE programs studied non-Christian religions, underscoring common impulses and attributes in the entire human family. “Now we know Jews are just like everybody else,” wrote a sixth-grade WRE student in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after a class visit to the local synagogue. “We are all God’s children.” Jewish students received a similarly ecumenical lesson, an Ohio WRE teacher added. As she led a class of thirdgraders in a lesson on biblical geography, the lone Jewish member experienced a shock of recognition. “Why, Jerusalem and Jordan River!” the boy exclaimed, rushing toward the three-dimensional “Holy Land Map” at the front of the room. “Why, we Jews also study about them.”15 In the same breath, though, the instructor admitted that this child was “not permitted to study with us” during released-time periods. Hence the episode also seemed to confirm the worst fears of WRE’s critics: however “separated” from the rest of the school curriculum, religious instruction would inevitably seep into it. In one Illinois com-

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munity an eighth-grade newspaper published features about releasedtime classes; in another Prairie State town the religion teacher visited English and history classes to probe spiritual themes in these subjects; and in an Ohio grade school art teachers helped children construct covers for their WRE notebooks about the “Life of Jesus.” Such obvious admixtures of religious and secular instruction would eventually cause the Supreme Court to strike down released-time plans, at least the ones that operated on public school property. In the meantime, Americans would struggle over the question of WRE in schools—and especially over the answers WRE was designed to give.16

Debating WRE Louis Hurwitch was changing his mind. As dean of the Hebrew Teachers College in Boston, he had opposed released-time education when it came before the Massachusetts legislature in 1941. Like other Jewish spokesmen across the country, Hurwitch had worried that WRE would stigmatize Jewish children by separating them from other students. After the legislature authorized released time, however, he put his fears aside. Under Hurwitch’s supervision nearly four hundred Jewish public school students went to local synagogues for WRE in 1945; two years later, more than two thousand would do so. Enlisting many youngsters who did not otherwise attend temple, released-time classes also provided new opportunities for young graduates of Hurwitch’s teaching college. “It is true we were handed a lemon,” he quipped, “but instead of throwing away the lemon, we should make good lemonade with it.” Although national Jewish organizations had soured on WRE, as Hurwitch acknowledged, Boston’s Jews were squeezing every possible advantage from it.17 Hurwitch’s remarks reflected the complex politics of released time, which often sparked furious debate within religious groups as well as between them. Like Jewish leaders, Baptist organizations consistently opposed “any type of relation of the church to the state,” one Illinois Baptist asserted in a 1948 attack on released time. But many local Baptist churches in the same state sponsored WRE, complaining that national spokesmen had “exceeded their authority” in condemning it. For most of the decade, other mainline denominations maintained a consensus

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on the need for weekday religious education. Yet they fought bitterly over its content, as fundamentalists within the denominations tried to push WRE curricula in a more conservative, “evangelical” direction. Other challenges came from the expanding number of independent churches, which not only muffled WRE’s liberal message but also diverted funds “that might otherwise support denominational work,” as a worried committee of mainline ministers noted in 1942.18 Ironically, only Catholics seemed united behind weekday religious education. For most of the century, dioceses had condemned WRE as a threat to Catholic education: if children could receive religious training in public school systems, the argument went, they would have little reason to attend parochial ones. Amid the boom of WRE during the 1940s, however, Catholics became its strongest champions. In New York and Chicago, where Catholic children were released to separate classrooms, they made up over three-quarters of the cities’ total WRE enrollment; in smaller districts, they sometimes joined other children in so-called nondenominational classes. No simple pattern governed these arrangements. In the majority-Catholic town of Shelburne, Vermont, every WRE pupil studied with an Episcopal priest. “I have all the Roman Catholic or Jewish children,” the priest wrote privately, “therefore teaching can not be quite of the same type as if I had only my own young people.” In nearby Fairfax, by contrast, Catholics formed their own class after the local Catholic priest denounced mixed-faith instruction. Whatever their views on the specific procedure for released time, though, Catholics remained firm supporters of the overall concept. Indeed, Protestants frequently attributed WRE’s 1940s explosion to the new Catholic consensus in its favor.19 Especially after 1945, meanwhile, any setbacks for WRE were routinely blamed on “the Jews.” As the Champaign, Illinois, case wound its way to the Supreme Court, observers remarked that the nation’s “big three” Jewish organizations—the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, and the Anti-Defamation League—had each condemned released time as “unconstitutional.” But this apparent Jewish unity masked profound differences in strategy and philosophy. Both the Committee and the ADL initially denounced the court challenge to released time, preferring to fight WRE through “suasionist”

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channels: publicity campaigns, meetings with school officials, and so on. Out in the field, members feared that any opposition to released time—legal, suasionist, or otherwise—would trigger a backlash against Jews. In the rough, day-to-day world of the average American community, one rabbi argued, Jews who condemned WRE would be attacked by their neighbors as “selfish” and “secularist.” However baseless in fact, both charges had a wide popular appeal. “Can Jews assume an absolute isolationist or separatist position,” the rabbi asked, “especially when the overwhelming proportion of the population clamors for public school cooperation in the solution of this problem?”20 Across the country, more and more Jews gave a clear answer: no. “It is one thing for a national body in some far distant place to pass a resolution on this subject,” a WRE defender mused in 1944, “and [another] for local leaders to apply it.” Anti-Semitism had declined since its 1930s heyday, he added, but Jews were wary of reawakening it. Rather than opposing WRE outright, then, most Jews simply kept their children out of so-called nondenominational programs. To the chagrin of national spokesmen, others formed their own released-time classes. By 1946 more than 2,500 Jewish children in New York City received WRE; the following year nearly 2,300 Jews in the Boston area did the same. Nor were such programs restricted to America’s largest cities. After the New York legislature authorized released time, Jews in Rochester quickly formed 9 WRE classes with 228 students. Convening once a week for religious instruction, the classes also met frequently as a group for debates, dances, and “glee club” performances of Hebrew and Yiddish songs. “The Released Time Plan [should] no longer be considered as a necessary evil,” Rochester’s Jewish WRE director declared, “but as a partial contribution to the Jewish education of our youth.” If properly taught, he added, WRE could reinforce—but never replace—Jews’ regular after-school “Talmud Torah” classes.21 Indeed, teachers of “Talmud Torah” often became the most zealous Jewish advocates of released time. During the first two years of WRE in New York, Talmud Torah registration rose by 1,500; by 1947, educators estimated, roughly a third of Jewish released-time pupils had been “inspired” by WRE to attend after-school or Sunday religious class. WRE also provided at least an introduction to Judaism for thousands of chil-

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dren who never studied it. Since few girls in New York City attended Talmud Torah, one observer explained, released time was their only opportunity for formal religious training. In Jewish homes, a Boston rabbi lamented, parents had been “sadly remiss” in teaching both sexes about their religious heritage. Released time could never substitute for this “home training,” but it was better than no training at all.22 Jewish educators also hailed WRE for fostering greater understanding and tolerance among children of different faiths. Here, too, they reversed their prior concern. When released time began, many Jews charged that it would harm interfaith relations by “segregating” students according to religion. But children kept to their own kind anyhow, Jewish educators now argued; rather than ignoring religious differences, schools should use WRE to erase the stigmas associated with them. “Whereas a Jewish child is regarded by many of his Christian schoolmates as an infidel, Released-Time would show the Christian child that the Jew too has a religion,” one advocate of WRE predicted in 1944. “It is a more positive kind of labeling.” To be sure, Jewish children who did not participate in WRE still suffered frequent bouts of prejudice and embarrassment. In Illinois one school confined Jewish students to a cloakroom during the released-time period; in Massachusetts a teacher told them flatly that they would “go to hell” unless they embraced Christ. To Jewish WRE supporters, such episodes demonstrated why Jews should embrace—not resist—the released-time option. “We cannot refuse to take care of the children . . . who are forced to remain at school,” wrote a Boston Jewish educator in 1947, explaining his own conversion to WRE. “I felt that just as we were doing our best for the displaced children in Europe, we should also do our best for our misplaced children in this country.”23 Finally, the same educator warned, “charlatans and quacks” would take advantage of WRE if mainstream Jews declined to do so. Here he alluded to the Brooklyn-based Lubavitcher sect, which founded its own Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education in 1942. By 1948 the group had extended its operations to New York’s other boroughs as well as to Boston, Chicago, and several other locations. Traditional rabbinical councils in all these cities had opposed released time, a Jewish WRE proponent argued, thereby allowing “obscure groups”

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to influence it. But even where rabbis were friendlier to WRE, they often disagreed about what it should teach. “Among Jews more than any other group, there is the problem of intra-group relationships of Orthodox and Reform,” a Baltimore rabbi pointed out in 1942, “leaving us unable to establish a unified system of teaching as do the Catholics or the Protestant Federation of Churches.”24 Just as Christians exaggerated intra-Jewish harmony, however, so did Jews overestimate the consensus among Christians. Throughout the 1940s, Protestants probably suffered the sharpest internal strife over WRE. Some of this conflict reflected simple competition between mainline denominations, each seeking to sway released-time classes closer to its own theology. But the most vehement attacks came from self-described “fundamentalists,” who rejected the authority of any mainline church over WRE. They announced this challenge in 1943 in an editorial in United Evangelical Action, the era’s leading tribune of fundamentalist thought. “Do not be deceived,” the editorial thundered: Religious education on released time from public schools may be one of the greatest means of evangelism for the coming generation or it may be the most destructive to faith that could be imagined. If there is religious education on released time the questions of the origin of the race, the deity of Christ, the infallibility, authenticity and authority of the Bible cannot be avoided. If the teaching of Protestant children is left to leadership selected by the average federation or council of churches the effect will be disastrous to faith . . . The evangelicals of the nation have a responsibility to impress the boards of education with the fact that so-called Protestantism is divided into two entirely and irrevocably diverse groups. These boards must and will recognize the right of united evangelicals to establish in these communities their own system of Christian instruction for the benefit of their constituencies. The time for action is NOW.25

For the next fifteen years a loose coalition of ministries, publishing houses, radio programs, and private educational agencies would flood American schools with this critique. Lacking any type of centralized management or control, they were bound instead by a single idea: re-

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demption through faith. “Any given child is already lost, or soon will be, if he is not brought to Christ,” surmised J. Irvin Overholtzer, director of a small organization called the Child Evangelism Fellowship. “Since this is true, the only reasonable and safe thing to do is to lead each child to Christ as early as possible.” In teacher guides and other literature the CEF provided detailed suggestions for effecting such conversions. It also denounced “modernist” mainline churches, which allegedly diverted WRE from God’s word. Whereas the Bible proved that Christ was the one true God, many WRE classes acknowledged the so-called truths of other religions; whereas the Bible demanded faith in Christ as a condition for salvation, WRE promoted the fallacy of “good works”; and whereas the Bible described salvation as a matter of individual conscience, WRE increasingly discussed it in terms of social justice. To save the children, then, fundamentalists would have to seize control of weekday religious education.26 By the end of World War II they could boast several impressive victories. In Buffalo a “Fundamentalist Ministers Committee on Weekday Christian Education” wrested nearly half of the city’s WRE classes from the mainline church council. A fundamentalist group in Duluth, Minnesota, captured more than 90 percent of the program, marking the largest municipality to leave the official mainline fold. “Ours is a work based upon convictions—not compromise,” intoned the program’s director; “we took our stand for the fundamentals of our faith.” In one fifth-grade class, he exulted, “not a single child had failed to definitely accept Jesus Christ as a personal Savior”; in another school, secondand third-graders had held a “spontaneous prayer meeting” to plead for “the salvation of the father of one of these children.” Other cities were sure to follow Duluth’s example, a Denver minister wrote, rescuing WRE from the clutches of “modernist” mainline denominations.27 For their own part, most mainline churches reacted to the fundamentalist challenge with a patronizing mix of sympathy and disdain. At best, fundamentalists were backward waifs, lost in a wilderness of fear and superstition; at worst, they were vicious barbarians, pounding at the gates of the denominations’ tranquil Eden. Regardless of their motives, fundamentalists’ single-minded focus on personal salvation ignored the social complexities and inequalities that surrounded it. “An

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educated leadership . . . thinks of salvation in large terms,” explained a mainline minister in 1942. “It concerns itself with the causes that underlie attitudes and behavior. It realizes that economic conditions, unsatisfied physical needs and undernourished bodies, require change in environment as well as better educational methods.” Whereas mainline WRE reflected new research in human development, he added, fundamentalist methods contradicted it: “emotional” conversion tactics upset students, while rote memorization of the Bible prevented them from appreciating its nuances. Only a renewed effort among mainline churches would halt this invasion of ignorance, bringing WRE into accord with recent trends in child psychology.28 But in at least one respect, critics acknowledged, fundamentalists understood child psychology all too well. Their loud rituals of conversion provided passion and drama, stirring students’ hearts as well as their minds. Ironically, the same mainline ministers who blasted fundamentalists for neglecting “child nature” often complained that children were naturally drawn to fundamentalism. “The stereotyped program of the Bible Clubs has an emotional appeal and exciting style of presentation,” admitted a liberal minister in upstate New York, “but we don’t have material to put into a teacher’s hands which will do the job.” To be sure, the International Council of Religious Education—an umbrella group of mainline WRE churches—distributed course outlines, textbooks, and teachers’ guides. But these resources were no match for the simple, stark excitement of fundamentalist classrooms, as a frustrated Nebraska clergyman wrote in 1948. Writing a few weeks after the Supreme Court’s McCollum decision, which seemed to strike down in-school WRE, the Nebraskan threatened that if “emotional, evangelistic, and fundamentalist” WRE classes continued in the state he would report them to local school authorities. Hardly a “resolution” of the conflict over released time, McCollum would trigger new battles over religious education in America’s public schools.29

Religious Education after McCollum “It is safe to say that no decision by the highest court in the land has ever caused greater consternation than this one,” pronounced the Rev. W. T.

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Smith, of Peoria, Illinois, in March 1948. “It is equally safe to say that the issue is not closed.” Here Smith joined the rising chorus of American outrage at the Supreme Court’s decision in McCollum v. Board of Education. Hundreds of churches and school districts had quickly announced that they would continue their released-time operations no matter what the Court said. In other schools the decision rejuvenated efforts to infuse the regular curriculum with religious instruction. Some communities were looking anew at their long-defunct laws allowing Bible reading in the classroom, for example. Actually, Smith concluded, McCollum “may be a blessing in disguise”: even if it suppressed releasedtime classes, it would spark a new spirituality within “regular” ones.30 Smith’s comments neatly encapsulated the central themes of public school religious instruction after McCollum. Despite the dire predictions of the ruling’s critics, released-time programs continued to flourish well into the 1950s. Some schools brazenly defied the Supreme Court, while others adjusted their WRE systems to comply with its decision. In the end, as Smith foresaw, McCollum would have a greater impact on religious practices in “regular” classes than it would on released time itself. Anticipating the eventual demise of WRE, states and school districts established in-school religious exercises that all of their students—at least in theory—could accept. But controversy would soon surround these so-called common-core practices, too, setting the stage for America’s next great religious upheaval in the early 1960s. Initial reactions to McCollum often assumed an apocalyptic tone, summoning imagery of hellfire and damnation. Critics also drew on the new red-hot rhetoric of the Cold War, condemning the decision as a victory for “Godless Communism” over American freedom. “If the Supreme Court are free to say what liberties we have every Monday morning, we are like the peasants of Russia, under their Politburo,” screamed an angry resident of Illinois. Under the Court’s ruling, an Oklahoma newspaper complained, schools could teach the Communist Manifesto but not the Sermon on the Mount. Others compared McCollum’s attack on released time to the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which upheld slavery: in each case, they argued, Americans could justifiably flout the Court in the name of Christ’s higher law. Still other critics invoked their rights as parents. “So the U.S. Supreme Court says

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I can’t have my kid released from school an hour a week to study religion in my church?” asked a shopkeeper in Ohio. “The Supreme Court can go jump in the lake, so far as I’m concerned.”31 Following this initial burst of indignation at McCollum, however, critics came to realize that they had vastly exaggerated both its scope and its effect. Since the decision’s Illinois test case involved WRE classes inside public schools, state and local school officials quickly decided that it did not apply to off-site released-time instruction. But in-school classes also continued, because educators rarely took action against them. In a dance of mutual evasion, local school boards deemed the issue a state concern; thereafter, state superintendents declared it a local one.32 Four months after McCollum only three states had ordered a halt to in-school WRE. And they found the ban unenforceable. “There is no possible way my office can control such a situation,” Michigan’s education commissioner told a local church council after his department ostensibly barred released time. “There are 15 large school districts and 300 smaller school districts who teach religious education in school buildings.” Enforcing this lone order would require his office to hire at least a thousand extra employees, the commissioner concluded.33 To be sure, released-time enrollment declined—probably by 10 percent—in the wake of McCollum. Some in-school programs moved to churches and other off-site locations, creating new transportation problems; others disbanded altogether, fearful of legal challenges and increased expenses. But nationwide WRE registration soon returned to its pre-McCollum level, spurred by a second Supreme Court decision: Zorach v. Clauson (1952). Upholding New York’s WRE system, Zorach made explicit what northern school officials had already presumed: if released time occurred outside schools and without public funds, it was constitutional. After struggling in the shadows of McCollum for four years, religious educators hailed Zorach as a ray of sunlight. “Weekday Religious Education Has a Future!” proclaimed the longtime WRE leader Erwin L. Shaver. Thanks to Zorach—the “Magna Carta” of WRE, as Shaver called it—released-time programs could at last operate in full confidence of their legality. A rise in registration was sure to follow, Shaver wrote, as more and more Americans raced through the Court’s new “green light” on WRE.34

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Just as Shaver predicted, WRE grew steadily for the rest of the decade. At least 4 million children received some type of weekday religious instruction by 1959, nearly doubling the nationwide total from 1953. Yet even after Zorach “cleared the air” about “what was permissible,” as one observer noted, thousands of school districts continued to engage in practices that the Court did not permit. Across the South, in-school Bible classes boomed: in Charlotte, North Carolina, churchmen even complained that the Bible course was siphoning students away from their own Sunday schools. In the North an estimated 32 percent of released-time classes met on school property—only a slight decrease from the pre-McCollum rate of 40 percent. Defending the continued use of rural public schools for WRE, Vermont’s lieutenant governor asserted that Supreme Court doctrine did not apply to the Green Mountain State—because its own constitution predated the federal one. In Ohio and Indiana several WRE programs actually returned to the public schools after a brief move away from them.35 Moreover, released time was still racked by the same battles between mainline denominations and fundamentalists that had raged since the 1940s. If anything, the continued growth of evangelical churches— and the ongoing erosion of traditional denominations—intensified this struggle. Vermont churches announced a new rural WRE project in 1954 to combat the New England Fellowship, a Boston-based fundamentalist group that sent teachers into remote areas to “win all of the young people in the community for Christ.” But the NEF continued to flourish, both in Vermont and in Maine: by 1960 nearly a fifth of Maine school districts reported WRE instruction by a teacher from the fellowship. Other mainline critics focused their bile on the Rural Bible Mission, which masqueraded as a denominational movement in order to gain a foothold in the public schools. “School boards frequently thought these teachers represented the regular, organized, cooperating churches,” wrote an angry mainline WRE worker in Michigan, “whereas they really represented only a segment of the fundamentalist group.” All the more reason to infuse the regular school curriculum with “more religious teaching,” a St. Louis church council urged, which would honor Americans’ shared “theistic tradition” as well as enhance their “interfaith understanding.”36

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The final remark illustrates the most significant new development in religious education in the 1950s: the quest for a “common core” of values and practices that could bind the different faiths together. The effort began amid the initial after-shock of McCollum, when churchmen feared that released-time programs would crumble and die. “What we need for the public schools,” proposed the WRE advocate D. Leigh Colvin in April 1948, “is to find a universal and nonsectarian moral code as a substitute for the religious instruction forbidden by the decision of the Supreme Court.” Fortunately, Colvin added, America already had one: the Ten Commandments, “the recognized moral code of the nation irrespective of denominations.” Back in 1916 Colvin had spearheaded an interfaith effort to print posters of the Commandments and distribute them to public schools. From Washington, D.C., to Wichita, boards of education had approved their display. Reviving this effort would provide “a successful non-sectarian substitute” for banned released-time programs, Colvin argued. So would daily readings of the Bible, which more than a dozen state courts had already deemed a “non-sectarian” book.37 Elsewhere, too, religious leaders demanded Bible reading to compensate for the expected loss of WRE. The loss never came, but daily scripture reading continued to grow. Reexamining statute books, ministers found that most states allowed Bible reading and that a dozen even required it. “The law provides that the Bible may be read in the public schools,” reported North Dakota’s Interchurch Council in 1949, “but it is not likely to be done unless someone promotes it.” The council proceeded to print and distribute 15,000 leaflets, each containing 90 suggested scriptural passages plus a copy of North Dakota’s Biblereading statute. In Massachusetts church officials sought to reinvigorate the state’s long-forgotten Bible law by publishing a “syllabus” of excerpts from the Old and New Testaments. By 1957, 175 Massachusetts school districts used the 40-page booklet; in Boston alone, 3,000 teachers did so. Although the state’s 1866 law simply required daily readings of the Bible “without comment,” teachers often used the booklet as a discussion tool in their regular instruction. Praising the booklet’s “tie-in value,” one teacher correlated its passages from Genesis with her science unit on the earth, moon, and stars; similarly, during a civics

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lesson about democracy she read Psalm 66 to illustrate “God’s government of nations.”38 Like released time, Bible reading received an extra boost from the Supreme Court. In 1952, the same year it upheld New York’s WRE plan in Zorach, the Court let stand a New Jersey decision (Doremus v. Board of Education) that affirmed both Bible reading and the Lord’s Prayer in schools. Significantly, the lower court had found that both practices were “non-sectarian.” Across the country, then, church groups increasingly demanded so-called common or nondenominational prayers along with scripture reading in the public schools. The most frequent prayers were grace before meals and morning recitations of the Lord’s Prayer. In 1959, for example, teachers in 82 of 89 primary schools in Indianapolis led children in the Lord’s Prayer; in every one of the 65 schools with a lunch program, students recited some type of mealtime grace. Other states composed their own “common” devotionals, taking a cue from the prayer suggested in 1951 by the New York State Board of Regents: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our Country.” Roughly one-fifth of New York’s school districts adopted the Regents’ prayer by 1955, although New York City chose to institute the fourth stanza of “America” instead: Our fathers’ God to thee Author of liberty To Thee we sing; Long may our land be bright With freedom’s holy Light Protect us by Thy might Great God, our King.39

Finally, dozens of school systems in the 1950s adopted programs to teach the “moral and spiritual values” that were supposedly shared by every American faith. In San Diego a special advisory panel distilled these common principles into three overarching themes: “Existence of God,” “Reverence for God,” and “Brotherhood.” In Los Angeles teachers were enjoined to help children “become more loyal to the church

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of one’s choice” as well as to respect other religions. “No, we are not teaching religion in any sectarian sense of the word,” cautioned an instructors’ guide, “but to vitalize for young people the great spiritual truths underlying man’s search for God through the ages.” Practically, however, most so-called Moral-and-Spiritual (M-S) programs assumed a distinctly contemporary cast. In Weymouth, Massachusetts, the local M-S committee sponsored a student letter-writing campaign to President Eisenhower, urging him to adopt “In God We Trust” as the motto of all American schools. After the launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik satellite, the committee produced a school assembly to remind pupils of America’s spiritual—if not always technological—preeminence. “Show us a hammer and sickle and we’ll show you our flag,” read the assembly program. “Show us the ‘Communist Manifesto’ and we’ll show you our Bill of Rights . . . Show us Malenkov and Stalin and Lenin and we’ll show you 33 presidents, chosen by vote—and we’ll show you a Man on a Cross.”40 Just like advocates of released time, supporters of religious instruction in the “regular” curriculum often championed it as a weapon against the Red menace. “In these days of world-wide conflict between the free world and the slave world of godless communism, it is more vital than ever before that our children grow up with a sense of reverence and dedication to Almighty God,” proclaimed Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York, praising his state’s Regents’ prayer. In Ohio a proponent of in-school Bible reading warned that American “subversives” typically lacked “religious conviction”; the more students learned about scripture, by implication, the less they would listen to radical appeals. “Why is there such a deep and renewed concern today about religion in the public schools?” asked an educator from Spokane, Washington, kicking off a discussion on the subject at a conference in 1955. The audience quickly agreed on an answer: “Fear of the materialistic philosophy of communism.” To prevail in its global struggle, speakers argued, America would have to rediscover the “theistic tradition” that had formerly united it.41 At the same conference, however, other participants urged “that theism not be perverted into humanistic ritualism”—that is, into a set of superficial bromides, “uniting” all religions but satisfying none of

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them. Their worries pointed to deep divisions among Americans over so-called common religious practices in the schools, which sparked just as much controversy as WRE programs did. Fundamentalists expressed the sharpest concerns, welcoming schools’ renewed emphasis on the Bible and prayer but blasting their effort to combine—or, worse, to equate—different faiths. “With the Jews, Roman Catholics, Mormons, and other religious interests . . . Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Saviour of men could not be taught,” fumed a Philadelphia fundamentalist group, attacking a proposed program on “shared” beliefs in the city’s public schools. “Any religion that is worthy of the name must present the way of everlasting life.” Despite its nonsectarian pretense, the fundamentalists added, Philadelphia’s “common-core” project was “nothing more than the ‘sectarian’ program of the ecumenical movement.”42 In a classic case of strange bedfellows, Jews frequently joined fundamentalist Christians in rejecting the common-core approach. “If faith in God is to be inculcated in the schools in such a manner as to do no violence to the beliefs of Catholic, Protestant, and Jew, it will be so pallid and anemic as to be meaningless,” cautioned New York’s Board of Rabbis in a near-perfect echo of the fundamentalist position. Another New Yorker worried that schools were actually evolving “a strange new hybrid religion,” as distasteful to Jews as it was to other faiths. More typically, Jews charged that this supposedly common religion was simply a subterfuge for smuggling Christianity into the classroom. Under the guise of “shared” beliefs, for example, Kansas kindergartners sang a hymn about Jesus’ love; a Massachusetts junior high school showed the Nativity movie Three Wise Men; an Indiana principal donned clerical robes to lead a high school Good Friday service; and in an Easter assembly in Florida students reenacted the Crucifixion. However much school policies might stress America’s “common” faith, a Pittsburgh Jewish leader told local educators, Christian teachers would inevitably twist religious instruction toward their own distinctive beliefs.43 As in the struggle over released time, though, many Jews dissented from this “separationist” position. The Weymouth, Massachusetts, rabbi welcomed his school district’s aggressive program to promote “moral and spiritual values,” despite its obvious Christian themes. “He

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feels that boys and girls today are not getting enough religious training,” an acquaintance explained, “and that such a procedure compensates.” In nearby Watertown an irate parent skewered her local Jewish Community Council for its steadfast opposition to “nonsectarian” prayer: “Many of us question the wisdom of a Godless school. Why, for the sake of our future generation (and plain common sense) can’t there be something of a religious nature in our public schools?” The rising tide of juvenile delinquency demonstrated children’s need for “spiritual guidance,” she added, especially for training in the Ten Commandments. Shared by all three major faiths, the Commandments also covered “every crime punished in our courts.”44 Other Jews objected to religious instruction in principle but acquiesced to it in practice, arguing that any resistance would harm “community relations” with their Christian neighbors. They had good reason to worry. Especially during the Christmas season, the pinnacle of religious instruction in most public schools, Jewish complaints provoked threats of boycotts and even violence. “If you Jews don’t stop interfering with the Christian Gentile and mind your own business, word will be sent out by ‘United Gentiles’ to withhold all trade from the Jews,” a Massachusetts newspaper editorialized in 1949, after a Jewish couple in Chelsea condemned Christmas hymns in the schools. The couple’s personal mail was even more vitriolic: If you don’t like our christian holidays why not go back to Palestine. It is the likes of you Jews that are ruining this beautiful country. This country was founded on the principles of Christianity by Christians. You Jews are in the minority . . . As long as you don’t like it here, why don’t you get out? Israel awaits you! Go back to Russia where you belong . . . No wonder you’re persecuted wherever you go. No wonder you haven’t a country. Why, my dear, should you try to enforce upon others the unhappiness which you say you feel . . . To be so selfish and narrow minded is a usual Russian Communistic plan.45

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Eight years later the memory of the Chelsea episode was still so fresh that a rabbi in Hull, Massachusetts, warned a Jewish parent against complaining about Christmas celebrations in her schools. Elsewhere, too, Jewish leaders counseled extreme caution in handling the “sensitive and explosive” issue of Christmas exercises: while refusing to participate in the exercises, they advised, Jews should also refrain from publicly denouncing them. Increasingly, though, local Jewish communities selected a third option: joint Christmas-Hanukkah celebrations. Unlike the standard Christmas program, according to a Cleveland spokesman, a “mixed” holiday would give Jewish children “a sense of status and belongingness.” Even more important, perhaps, it would teach Christian children to tolerate—even to appreciate—the Jewish faith. “The holidays have so much in common—merrymaking, lights and candles, excellent stories and songs,” proclaimed a teachers’ guide published and distributed to Cleveland public schools by the local Jewish Community Council. “Certainly here is a wonderful opportunity to help children to feel comfortable about cultural differences—the essence of intergroup understanding.”46 Just four years into their experiment with joint holiday celebrations, however, Jews in Cleveland renounced them. “It was felt that it was unwise to attempt—and impossible to achieve—the separation of the religious and cultural elements of the holidays,” explained one JCC leader. The city’s mainline church federation also condemned the joint celebrations for presenting “a distorted and secularistic picture of culture.” Whereas the JCC went on to recommend the elimination of all public school holiday celebrations, though, the church federation asked that schools reinfuse them with “theistic” elements.47 As in the debates over released time and school prayer, it seemed, the search for “common” holidays simply underscored Americans’ religious differences. By the early 1960s a new set of Supreme Court decisions would shatter the dream of interfaith consensus once and for all.



In the midst of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “kneel-in” protest in Albany, Georgia, in July 1962, a newspaper reporter asked King about a different type of worship: school prayer. King was in Albany to fight racial segregation; later that day, for the third time in eight months, local authorities would jail him. But he drew a sharp distinction between prayerful protests against discrimination and teacher-led devotionals in public schools, which the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down several weeks earlier. On his knees, awaiting arrest, King gave his full support to the Court. Its prayer decision was “sound and good,” he declared, “reaffirming something that is basic in our Constitution, namely, separation of church and state.”1 The following year Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama threatened to conduct his own type of “pray-in”—against the Supreme Court. Wallace was already famous for his defiance of court-ordered integration—for literally “standing in the school-house door” to block two Black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963. Six days later the Supreme Court announced a second decision barring religious exercises—this time, Bible reading and the Lord’s Prayer—from public schools. Wallace’s reaction was swift: “If [the Court] says we cannot read the Bible in some school, I’m going to that school and read it myself.” At stake were the “civil rights” of white teachers and students, who would go to prison before they abandoned school prayer. “I don’t care what they say in Washington, we’re going to keep right on praying and reading the Bible in the public schools

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of Alabama,” Wallace asserted. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they sent troops into the classrooms and arrested little boys and girls who read the Bible and pray.”2 Wallace was exaggerating for effect, of course. At no time did federal troops mobilize to stop school prayer and Bible reading, which remained common practices throughout the 1960s. Coupled with King’s defense of the Supreme Court, however, Wallace’s comments heralded a critical shift in the politics of public school religious instruction. During the 1940s and 1950s a strong consensus undergirded the concept—if not the content—of school-based religious education. Liberals stressed the “social teachings” of the gospel and conservatives emphasized its message of personal salvation, but the two camps agreed about the overall need for religious instruction in public schools. The Supreme Court’s prayer rulings brought a sudden and bitter end to this long-standing accord. Lest they jeopardize the Court’s precarious authority on racial questions, most liberals backed its bans on prayer and Bible reading. Meanwhile, as a caustic Minnesotan noted, segregationist “Southern Gentlemen” such as Wallace led the battle to retain religious exercises. Gleefully defying the Court, they seized the prayer issue as part of what the Minnesotan called their broader “vendetta” against Brown v. Board of Education and the struggle for Black freedom in general.3 When Wallace traveled north to campaign for the presidency in 1964, though, crowds applauded his attacks upon the “Godless” Supreme Court as loudly as they cheered his censure of civil-rights reforms. Popular rejection of the Court’s prayer decisions—like “massive resistance” of its racial dicta—transcended regional as well as religious boundaries.4 Concentrated largely in the urban North, Catholics vilified the prayer bans as “atheistic” or even “communistic”; at least one bishop directed that all masses ask God to forgive the Supreme Court. School prayer also awakened fundamentalist voters, who had traditionally eschewed politics in favor of converting each conscience to Christ: the prayer issue demanded social action on behalf of individual souls. Within mainline churches the issue became a bone of contention rather than a force for unity. Although denominational spokesmen stood firmly behind the Court, local ministers as well as laity

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rallied against it—and, increasingly, against their national leaders. In Indiana, for example, one supporter of school prayer scored the “hollow, hypocritical hallelujahs rising from certain doctors of divinity” in 1963—the “men of turncoat cloth” who had turned away from God in his moment of need. Six years later a resident of Maine linked this apostasy to a much wider array of ills: “The Lack of Prayers and Bible Readings in The Public Schools and the Flood of Lewd and Obscene Shows and Films, Photographs and Literature in The State of Maine and other States . . . is The Major Factor for The Rising Rate of Juvenile Delinquency, Crime and Violence, Demonstrations, Racial Riots and Disrespect for Law and Order and Common Decency. Almighty God must be restored to His proper place.”5 To its foes, the ban on school prayer reflected an overall pattern of cultural decay in the 1960s. As a host of scholars have reminded us, “the Sixties” was a polarized era rather than a “radical” one.6 From fashion and the arts to sexuality and race relations, many Americans celebrated a new spirit of openness and experimentation. Outside the universities and other cosmopolitan locales, however, a far larger number of citizens lamented these trends—and laid the groundwork for the conservative revolution that would ensue. The struggle over school prayer echoes as well as extends this interpretation, underscoring not just the general cultural divisions of “the Sixties” but also their specifically religious dimensions.7 In fact, critics of the “Godless” Supreme Court often attributed pornography, crime, and racial unrest near the end of the era to the Court’s decisions about school prayer at its inception. Since school prayer remained a vibrant issue well into the 1980s, it also illuminates more recent changes in modern conservatism. At the start of their crusade, prayer advocates often cited America’s divine mission: to correct for lax or irreligious parenting, schools needed to lead children (and, by extension, the nation) back to God. By the late 1970s supporters of school prayer increasingly invoked the “rights” of religious parents—and decried such parents’ alleged “oppression” by secular public schools. Here, like other members of the so-called New Right, prayer activists copied much of the rhetoric of the civil rights movement and other social-justice efforts in the 1960s. Even as prayer advocates inveighed against the moral laxity of “the Sixties,”

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they also embraced the decade’s most indelible legacy: an expanding consciousness of “rights,” both for individual Americans and for the ever-multiplying groups that they formed.8

Bootlegging Religion into the Schools Leo Pfeffer had good reason to celebrate in June 1963. As counsel for the American Jewish Congress, he had already helped persuade the Supreme Court to strike down a state-composed school prayer in Engel v. Vitale (1962). Now the Court barred Bible reading and the Lord’s Prayer in schools, ruling in Abington v. Schempp that both practices violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Whereas Engel had earned “almost universal condemnation,” Pfeffer wrote, the public reaction to Schempp was much milder. “It is not too optimistic to suggest that this may well be the last major battle . . . in the area of religion in the public schools,” Pfeffer predicted. “The controversy will begin to disappear as a major national issue.” He contrasted Engel and Schempp to the Court’s segregation rulings, which continued to arouse “tensions and conflicts” across America. Frosty race relations would plague America forever, he believed, but religious strife would melt away.9 A brilliant lawyer, Pfeffer was less successful as a soothsayer. Whatever their constitutional status, religious exercises were simply too ingrained to remove from many public schools. In 1962 roughly half of American states had laws allowing or requiring Bible reading in the schools, at least five states authorized the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, and about one-third of all districts conducted daily devotional services.10 To be sure, some American communities quickly altered their policies in accord with Engel and Schempp. As in the case of school desegregation, however, just as many districts mounted various forms of resistance to the decisions. Outright defiance was most common in the South, where state officials openly denounced the Court and urged school boards to ignore it. In the North schools often sidestepped the new rulings through a subtle blend of quiet subterfuge and legalistic evasion. And millions of Americans across the country lent their support to campaigns for a school prayer amendment to the Constitution. Although none of these campaigns succeeded, both

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their size and their persistence demonstrated a deep popular demand for religious worship in the public schools.11 From Congress to statehouses and school districts, southerners took the lead in pressing for prayer—and in resisting the Supreme Court. By 1966 all but three of the senators from the former Confederate states backed some type of constitutional amendment to protect school prayer. Even in the absence of such a measure, southern governors and educational leaders expressly flouted the Court’s prayer prohibitions. Testifying in Congress on behalf of a prayer amendment in 1964, George Wallace proclaimed that Alabama would ignore the Court—no matter what happened to the amendment. South Carolina’s attorney general boasted that he was “not much concerned about what the Supreme Court has ruled”; in Georgia a gubernatorial candidate promised that he would “not only go to jail, but give up my life” for school prayer; in Mississippi the governor openly encouraged all teachers to lead their classes in worship. Across the South, it seems, thousands of instructors did exactly that. In 1965 nearly two-thirds of southern primary-level teachers reported that they still conducted morning devotionals at school.12 In the Midwest, by contrast, only a fifth of instructors led their classes in worship; in the Northeast, where eight of ten teachers had conducted prayers before Engel, just over one-tenth said they still did so. But these figures vastly underestimated the actual amount of religious instruction north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Unlike their southern counterparts, northern state officials often urged or even ordered districts to obey the Court’s new dicta. In surveys about “compliance” with the Supreme Court, then, northern teachers and school officials had a clear incentive to conceal classroom prayers. Moreover, schools that did remove prayer often replaced it with other types of religious activity. After suing the small town of North Brookfield for its defiance of the Court’s prayer ruling, for example, the attorney general of Massachusetts (and future senator) Edward Brooke assured the town that it could continue its Christmas and Easter services in the schools. Throughout the state, schools responded by stepping up their holiday celebrations. In Sudbury the local board announced that schools could celebrate both Christian and Jewish holidays, “in lieu of a vacuum” created by Engel and Schempp. In nearby Sharon the board decreed

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that schools could commemorate all “seasonal” holidays so long as “no theologically significant exercises” were included.13 Across the country, a “December frenzy” gripped American public schools after the Supreme Court’s bans on prayer. Some districts honestly attempted to remove “religious” elements from holiday celebrations, stressing instead their “cultural” or “historical” dimensions. But other schools pointedly increased the theological content of these events, aiming “to ‘compensate’ in Christmas programs for what has been banned explicitly in the daily school routine,” as a Jewish observer complained in 1963. Three years later a survey of Christmas practices at 170 schools in the Indianapolis area revealed that 136 schools taught “religious carols,” 51 produced plays about “the Christ story,” and 53 displayed Nativity scenes. Even in the heavily Jewish New York suburbs of Long Island and Westchester County, one annoyed resident reported, schools exacted “a kind of vengeance or resistance to the court decision” by organizing newly “religious” Christmas celebrations.14 Other communities invented fresh ways to “bootleg” religious exercises into their schools, as a Los Angeles prayer advocate acknowledged in 1966. The most popular mechanism was a “moment of silence,” which twenty-three states authorized or mandated after the Engel and Schempp rulings. Since both the “Star-Spangled Banner” and “America” invoked God’s blessing, other districts replaced their morning devotionals with stanzas from these songs. A third tactic involved prayer at athletic events, both for team members and for their audiences. “We have kicked the Bible out of schools, but coaches realize its importance in the locker rooms,” explained a minister in St. Petersburg, Florida. On the other side of the state, football players at Miami Senior High School attributed their 1966 national championship to team prayers. “The Lord Jesus Christ . . . can make a great athlete out of a good one and a winner out of a loser,” proclaimed the squad’s all-city defensive end in a pamphlet distributed by a local youth group. “Wouldn’t you rather be a winner than a loser?”15 States and school districts also smuggled prayer and Bible reading into classrooms via so-called teaching-about-religion courses. Here schools took their cue from Justice Tom Clark’s majority opinion in Schempp, which stressed that the Bible and other religious writings

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could still be studied for their “literary and historic qualities”—so long as they were “presented objectively,” as part of a “secular program of education.” In practice, teachers often ignored or defied these distinctions; indeed, one critic wrote, “teaching about religion” quickly became the “opening wedge” for the teaching of religion in America. Especially in the South, where many churches had sponsored public school Bible classes in the 1940s and 1950s, they simply continued these courses under Schempp’s “literary and historic” rubric. As late as 1967 at least thirty-seven North Carolina districts still offered “Bible” in their schools. But now the courses were “objective” and “secular,” advocates claimed, thereby meeting the constitutional strictures that Clark had laid down in Schempp.16 Privately, though, North Carolina church officials admitted that Clark’s neutral approach was “not being used in our State.” In fact, courses “about” religion often became more Christian—and more conservative—as the 1960s continued. In Florida a “Bible History” instructor boasted that his course had helped recruit more than a hundred new members into an after-school “Youth for Christ” club in 1967. “I never realized that God was such an approachable Person!” exclaimed a South Carolina student, praising her own school’s “Bible survey” course. “I was always taught to respect God, but I just didn’t know that you could have daily communion and fellowship with Him!” A few weeks later the same student announced her decision to attend a Bible college after high school. “I want everybody to have what I have!” she told her teacher. “And I’d like to spend my life sharing it with them.” Gone was the old emphasis on the gospel’s social message, which had done so much to “Christianize” the public’s “attitudes on the race question,” as a North Carolina man remembered. The sudden change was national in scope, he added, affecting southern and northern schools in equal measure. At its root lay the complex, often tortured relationship between religious education and “the race question” in the 1960s.17

When Should the Majority Rule? A few days after the Engel decision, New York’s leading Black newspaper published a fiery column supporting the Supreme Court’s ban

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on school prayer—and attacking its white critics. “Among the loudest complainants are Senators Talmadge of Georgia and Eastland of Mississippi,” wrote James L. Hicks in the Amsterdam News, citing two of the most vehement segregationists in Congress. “Do I need to say any more?” Although the Court’s 1954 antisegregation ruling “was moulded in the image of Jesus Christ,” Hicks noted, men like Talmadge and Eastland had refused to abide by it; now these same racists insisted that the Court’s decision was “preventing them from living like Christ.” An accompanying cartoon depicted a pair of white “Church Bigots,” carrying Bibles and a sign that read, “Supreme Court Unfair—We Need Prayer!” The protesters were trampling on two other demonstrators, one Black and one white, whose sign demanded “Equal Rights for All.” Like Hicks’s column, the cartoon scored white hypocrites who demanded school prayer but denounced the Black freedom struggle. The cartoon’s caption, “Standing in the Way,” carried a second implication: any Black person who supported school prayer would also assist the racist foe.18 Several weeks later a Black reader took sharp issue with these claims. If Blacks’ quest for justice truly embodied a Christian spirit, Fannie Ledbetter wrote to the News, their struggle would require more prayer—not less. “In these times of disquietude, we should all pray for guidance each day,” Ledbetter argued, “and schools are no exception.” She was echoed by a wide range of civil rights supporters, white as well as black. “In my mind I keep seeing a Public school with doors open wide and children and teens of all races, colors and creeds entering therein,” a Michigan woman wrote to her congressman in 1963. “Over the door of the school is a big sign which says, ‘ANYTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOL—ALL ARE WELCOME—JESUS KEEPOUT!’ And I see Him read the sign, and slowly and sadly turn away.” In Indiana newspapers published a cartoon of a Supreme Court judge “standing in the school-house door” like George Wallace. Jesus appears on the steps, seeking to enter the school, but the judge rebuffs him. “Sorry, This School’s Segregated!” the caption blares.19 Together, these two cartoons reflected an important truth: whereas segregationists stood united behind school prayer, the issue divided America’s civil rights community. Like James Hicks, civil rights sup-

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porters often backed the prayer ban on the simple principle of “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”: since so many segregationists attacked Engel and Schempp, integrationists needed to come to the Court’s defense. Others went on the attack, savaging racists who violated Christ’s teachings of love but who also tried to inscribe them in schools. To still other civil rights advocates, this very message of love made classroom prayer integral—not antithetical—to the freedom struggle. Since God’s word inspired the campaign for racial equality, school prayer could only further this larger, sacred cause. Nowhere were these divisions sharper than among AfricanAmericans. From the start, most national Black leaders and organizations backed the Supreme Court’s prayer rulings. Across the country, however, many Blacks proved reluctant to do so. In Philadelphia a June 1962 survey of six African-American pastors revealed that all but one opposed the ban on prayer. One minister said that religious exercises enhanced school discipline; another feared that the prayer ruling would undermine “moral and religious standards” in society at large; a third demanded a constitutional amendment to overturn it. Shortly thereafter, a council of Philadelphia-area Black Baptist clergymen voiced “profound disagreement” with the Supreme Court. As a rule, the council’s secretary maintained, courts should not “interfere” with “our greatest institutions”—namely, “homes, churches, and schools.” Strong proponents of judicial intervention on questions of race and segregation, many African-Americans demanded judicial restraint when it came to school prayer.20 Similarly, Black supporters of school prayer often seemed to discover a new solicitude for majoritarian rule. Most Black civil rights claims were phrased in terms of timeless verities, not of vote totals: whatever the white majority might desire, activists argued, both the Constitution and the Bible mandated freedom and equality for African-Americans. During the school prayer debate, however, Blacks frequently argued that the popular will should trump all other principles. “It is undemocratic to deny the majority influence of a country for the opinion of the minority,” declared a group of African Methodist Episcopal Zion pastors, blasting the Court’s Engel decision. Likewise, a Black Virginian expressed surprise that “a supposedly Christian country” would bar

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public school devotionals. “As it is a ‘free’ country and the majority rule, I think that they should prevail,” he argued. “But, in order to be equitable, they could let the minority place their fingers in their ears and keep silent.” By putting the term “free” in quotation marks, he signaled that a majority-white American society had not yet granted racial justice to its Black minority. In the same sentence, however, he insisted that schools should privilege the majority-Christian perspective— regardless of the sentiments of non-Christian minorities.21 Also, many Blacks claimed that the special circumstances of AfricanAmerican communities necessitated public school prayer. Traditionally, they asserted, Black schools had placed a heavy emphasis on religious exercises. When the Supreme Court barred these rituals, it also attacked an important part of the African-American educational heritage. At North Carolina’s all-Black Caswell County Training School, for instance, “chapel” services anchored the weekly schedule. In the wake of Engel and Schempp, Blacks from the Caswell area felt cast out to sea; by 1967 they were circulating petitions for a school prayer amendment. Elsewhere Blacks cited the dire social problems afflicting their neighborhoods—especially crime, drugs, and unwanted pregnancy— and argued that prayer might help relieve them. “The schools have gone to the devil and the children have gone to hell under the present setup,” intoned a legislator from New York’s Harlem district, backing a state law for silent classroom meditation. Subtle church-and-state concerns paled next to the poverty and chaos of inner-city America, which needed the hope and discipline that school prayer provided.22 Like African-Americans, white civil rights supporters differed sharply on the prayer issue. Especially among Catholics, spokesmen who praised the Supreme Court on race often condemned its rulings on prayer. “New justices discovered the injustice toward the Negroes hidden behind the fair-sounding slogan of ‘separate but equal,’” noted a diocesan newspaper in Indiana in an attack on Engel. “Someday soon, God willing, new justices will discover the injustice to religious people hidden behind the slogan of ‘separation of Church and State.’” Among Protestants, by contrast, most race liberals seem to have endorsed—or at least accepted—the Court’s bans on prayer and Bible reading. After the Schempp decision in 1963, the general board of the National Coun-

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cil of Churches—America’s foremost theological tribune for racial equality—voted 65–1 to support the ruling. “Worship is a distinctive function of the church,” the NCC proclaimed; if performed in school, it would lose its sacred quality and undermine “genuine Christian faith.” Witness students’ mockery of the Lord’s Prayer, which they often profaned with lines like “Give us this day our jelly bread” and “Lead me not into Penn Station.”23 The nation’s leading liberal newspapers backed the Court on race as well as on prayer, often drawing an explicit link between them. In 1966 the Washington Post reproved the Senate minority leader, Everett Dirksen, for proposing twin constitutional amendments to override Court decisions on legislative apportionment and prayer. In his screeds against the Court’s “one man, one vote” rulings, the Post pointed out, the Illinois senator championed the rights of rural—and typically white—minorities; but in pleading for school prayer, he suddenly became a staunch proponent of majority rule. Later that year Dirksen would lead a two-week filibuster to kill an “open housing” measure barring racial discrimination in the real estate industry. A cartoonist for the liberal St. Louis Globe-Democrat pictured Dirksen in prayer, hands clasped, standing atop a prostrate man who bore the label “Civil Rights Bill.” Lest anyone miss the point, the caption proclaimed, “NEARER, MY GOD, TO THEE . . .” Even as he demanded Christianity in schools, critics alleged, Dirksen’s recalcitrance on civil rights contradicted the most basic elements of that faith: charity, equality, and love.24 In both civil rights and school prayer, Dirksen’s anti-Court leadership also symbolized the northward thrust—indeed, the nationalizing thrust—of “massive resistance.” A close friend of Lyndon B. Johnson’s, Dirksen had played an integral role in breaking the filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act and in ensuring passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Yet as Martin Luther King Jr. brought Black protest north of the Mason-Dixon Line, especially into Dirksen’s home state of Illinois, the senator’s ardor for civil rights cooled. Invoking the sanctity of “property rights,” Dirksen denounced the 1966 open housing bill; shortly thereafter, the measure died. Then he turned to the battle against school prayer, linking Engel and Schempp to the Supreme Court’s race-related decisions. In all these cases, Dirksen argued,

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“judicial arrogance” had eroded individual freedom. “I’m not going to let nine men say to 190 million people, including children, when and where they can utter their prayers,” Dirksen asserted in a much-quoted challenge to the Court.25 In local communities, meanwhile, praise for the so-called Dirksen Amendment—like hostility to civil rights—transcended regional boundaries. To be sure, school prayer still drew its strongest support from the South. As opposition to the Black struggle spread across the country, however, it pulled pro-prayer sentiment with it. “The Supreme Court has usurped the powers of Congress and of the electorate . . . in the Civil Rights cases as well as the School Prayers Case,” a California admirer wrote to Dirksen, “and have deprived the States of their rights.” A second Californian congratulated Dirksen for “holding the line” on open housing and prayer, while a Kansan praised his “courage” on both counts. “I hope you will not be detered for a moment because of the opposition of some of the national church leaders,” the Kansan wrote. “They simply do not represent the rank and file of people who occupy the pews.” Here Dirksen’s Kansas ally alluded to the National Council of Churches, whose “pseudoliberals” or even “Super-Duper Liberals” demanded integration in the schools—but kept God’s word out of them.26 Inside the NCC, officials typically attributed these critiques to “cultural lag.” A large fraction of the laity had reacted “with emotional impulsiveness” to the Supreme Court’s prayer bans, the NCC spokesman Dean Kelley noted in 1964. Once they obtained “factual and objective information,” however, most critics would come to share the “calm judgment” of church leaders like him. Kelley was wrong. First, many devout Americans took offense at the very idea that reason should control religious passion. “We have been accused of being emotional, as if that were a cardinal sin,” proclaimed a Maryland prayer advocate. “It is true, we are emotional. Belief in God, and in everyone’s right to acknowledge him in any and all environments, is emotional.” Second, Kelley radically underestimated the link between school prayer and other cultural concerns—especially crime, pornography, and the war in Vietnam. Critics would soon fashion these issues into a powerful general assault on “liberalism,” not just within America’s churches but

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across American society. The country was already starting its rightward swing, in short, and men like Kelley—not his enemies—would soon be lagging behind.27

Creating a School Prayer Movement New England newspapers published an unusual photograph in the spring of 1969: children praying at their local public school. The children hailed from Leyden, Massachusetts, where the school board had recently voted to resume morning devotionals. “It’s the little people, the ones tired of smut, dope, and draft card burners, who are supporting us,” one board member explained. To the state’s education commissioner, however, the board’s attack on lawlessness in American society contradicted its own illegal behavior. “If communities can arbitrarily pick and choose those laws which appeal to their taste or manners of living,” Commissioner Neil Sullivan warned, “then the future of this country is in jeopardy.” He also blasted national school prayer groups, which used the Leyden incident to fuel their campaign for a constitutional amendment. Self-proclaimed champions of “law and order,” they nevertheless praised Leyden’s “deliberate violation” of both.28 Widely reported in the national press, the Leyden episode illustrates three important aspects of the movement to retain school prayer in the 1960s. First, advocates of school prayer increasingly phrased their demands in the language of right-wing populism.29 They were “the little people,” as the Leyden board member said, the “silent majority” whose traditional values of work, family, and decency were being drowned by the permissiveness and decadence of “liberal” society. Second, these activists often borrowed tactics and even arguments from the “liberals” they detested: even as they condemned “draft card burners,” prayer protesters in Leyden engaged in their own form of civil disobedience. Last, those in favor of school prayer also formed a loose national network, with a single national goal: a constitutional amendment. Drawing heavily upon women, Catholics, and evangelical Christians, dozens of different amendment groups would help launch a new conservative politics in the United States. Although the activists never won a prayer amendment in the 1960s,

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a stream of proposals kept the issue alive. Just ten weeks after the Supreme Court’s 1962 Engel decision, 49 amendment bills had been introduced in Congress; by 1964 the total would swell to 144. A single organization, Project America, collected more than a million signatures for the prayer amendment during a seven-month span in 1963 and 1964. Simultaneously, dozens of film stars lent their names—and often their dollars—to Project Prayer, which organized several huge petition drives of its own. “Not all of Hollywood’s motion picture stars are aligned with liberals who are seeking to change the American way of life,” a Louisiana newspaper gushed. “In these days when [stars] are being linked to civil rights demonstrations on the part of lawless trespassers, it is good to note that there are representatives of the film industry who seek to preserve our constitutional freedoms.” A more skeptical columnist quipped that Project Prayer’s roster of celebrities— including John Wayne, Ginger Rogers, and Ronald Reagan—seemed “more versed in marital infidelity than religious fundamentalism.” Nevertheless, he acknowledged, the campaign had helped whip millions of citizens into a “letter-writing frenzy” on behalf of a prayer amendment.30 Out in the field, dozens of local groups collected donations and signatures for school prayer. Such campaigns were typically started by an aggrieved mother. In Holland, Michigan, Mrs. Howard W. Graves founded an organization called Restore School Voluntary Prayer (RSVP) after her eight-year-old daughter announced that her class could not pray for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s speedy recovery from his 1965 appendectomy surgery. Several months later Graves presented 27,000 petition signatures to House Republican leader Gerald R. Ford, most of them collected in Ford’s own Michigan district. Similarly, the Brockton, Massachusetts, activist Rita Warren started a prayer drive after her daughter came home one afternoon and asked, “Mom, do you know they won’t let us pray in school?” Subsequently, Warren spearheaded a successful statewide referendum to allow school prayers; when state officials continued to bar them, she shifted her focus to the federal amendment campaign. The best-known housewife-activist was Louise Ruhlin of Cuyahoga, Ohio, who sold fruitcakes outside her son’s school—and sold her own stock, at a loss—to help finance a prayer

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drive. Targeting congressmen who had rejected the prayer amendment, Ruhlin and her team of “middle-aged ladies in tennis shoes,” as one annoyed legislator dubbed them, posted billboards urging voters to turn the lawmakers out of office.31 Like Rita Warren, an Italian immigrant, many of the women who joined these campaigns were Catholic. For most of their history, American Catholics were the country’s foremost champions of the separation of church and state. After the courts ruled against school prayer, however, Catholics “made a complete reversal” and became “the most vigorous defender of religious practices in the public schools,” as the school prayer opponent Leo Pfeffer reported. Nearly every leading Catholic cleric condemned the Engel and Schempp decisions, while several Catholic newspapers warned that “litigious minorities”—meaning Jews—would face violent retribution if they continued to resist school prayer. Long a persecuted minority themselves, Catholics, like AfricanAmericans, discovered a new affinity for majoritarian politics during the struggle over school prayer. “Catholics do have short memories,” wrote one Jewish spokesman in 1962. “They seem to have forgotten their own struggles against the Protestants . . . to prevent Bible reading and prayer recitation in the public schools—presumably because they were not Catholic enough.”32 To Catholic spokesmen, by contrast, the Church’s position had remained consistent throughout. During the vicious “Bible riots” that swept several northeastern cities in the 1840s, Catholics “DID NOT ASK THAT PRAYER IN THE SCHOOLS BE DISCONTINUED,” a Philadelphia diocesan newspaper screamed in 1962. Instead, a New Mexico paper asserted, Catholics had objected only to “forced participation in Protestant practices,” especially study from the King James Bible. Now the Supreme Court proposed to strip all religious practices from the schools, thereby enshrining “secular humanism” as a “statesponsored religion,” one bishop complained. Here Catholics began to echo the rhetoric of fundamentalist Christians, who slowly entered the political arena to fight for school prayer. “The Catholic Church (properly led) could have great impact . . . if it would but ‘ecumenicize’ with the real Protestants—the more fundamental types,” a Catholic litigator argued. “There are vast areas for common action with these people.”33

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Writing in 1973, the litigator noted the steady growth of fundamentalist activism since Engel and Schempp. True, many fundamentalist Protestants still eschewed politics: in 1965 the future Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell contended that their only task was to lead each American conscience to Christ. “Preachers are not called to be politicians, but soul winners,” Falwell declared, attacking clergymen who participated in civil rights protests. “We need to get off the streets and back into the pulpits and into the prayer rooms.” In school prayer fundamentalist Christians discovered a social issue that directly concerned individual souls, spanning the historical gap between political action in this world and personal salvation in the next one. Hence the prayer issue also brought thousands of fundamentalists into politics for the first time. “If we stand idly by and let things like this go on, I fear that in generations to come when God is mentioned to a child they will say, ‘Who’s that?’” a woman from Ottumwa, Iowa, wrote in 1968, explaining her own “conversion” to the politics of school prayer. “Christians of Ottumwa, stand up for your religious convictions!”34 The prayer issue also bridged a growing rift within fundamentalism itself. One branch of fundamentalism, most strongly associated with Carl McIntire and the American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC), insisted on biblical inerrancy as well as strict separation from “apostate” or mainline churches. Another wing, calling itself neoevangelical or simply evangelical, shared many of McIntire’s views on scripture but did not place as strong an emphasis on either doctrinal purity or separation from mainline denominations; in fact, the evangelicals recruited heavily from mainline congregations.35 Significantly, the two camps came to agree that Christians should fight the Court bans on prayer and Bible reading. After the Engel decision, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) urged worshippers to attend PTA meetings and circulate petitions to retain prayer in their local schools; when schools started to comply with the ruling, the NAE threw its weight behind a constitutional amendment.36 McIntire and the ACCC actually welcomed Engel, but only because it struck down a “common denominator” prayer that ignored Jesus Christ—“the only mediator between God and Man.” Once the Court ruled out Bible reading, by contrast, McIntire and the ACCC zealously embraced the amendment

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cause. “It is time now for us to turn the tables and take up the crusade,” McIntire wrote after the Schempp decision was announced. “The Christians have been too quiet, too placid, and have not recognized that it is a part of their responsibility also to work for decency and integrity in our schools.”37 Tensions occasionally gripped this growing coalition of patriotic societies, women, Catholics, and fundamentalists. Whereas the evangelicals welcomed Catholics into the battle for school prayer, for instance, McIntire and his followers still eschewed any cooperation with the “Beast of Rome.” Together, however, school prayer’s disparate advocates began to enunciate a common argument—and a common ideology—for their cause: The Supreme Court has taken God out of our schools and freed many known criminals thru technicalities, our televisions and newspapers scream violance is the order of our day, our Attorney Geneal Clark writes that he can’t touch Stokely Carmical and the various looters and burners in our cities . . . There were a few good things in the past, such as moral fiber, faith in one’s fellow man and country, reward for work well done, and protection by police. I felt I had a great deal more civil liberties then than now. Like Sodom and Gomorrah—like Rome—America is rotting from within. Immorality is flourishing and pre-marital sex is being condoned even from the pulpits; juvenile delinquency is on the rise . . . America is in an advanced state of moral decline. I certainly approve of teachers . . . praying in the classroom. There certainly are enough teachers preaching atheism, distrust of the establishment, civil rights (with no civil responsibility). We certainly need SOMETHING to counter-balance all the harm that has been done.38

Of course, activists admitted, the ban on school prayer was not the sole reason for America’s epidemic of pornography, crime, and civil unrest. Rather, the ban was the primary symbol of an evil, decadent

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elite that did cause such ills: “liberals.” To some critics, especially fundamentalist Christians, these despised “liberals” were quite literally agents of Satan.39 Others identified liberalism with “loose convictions,” as a Californian wrote, noting an overall erosion of “courage and backbone”—that is, of moral standards—in the body politic. Although liberalism had infected only a fraction of Americans, critics warned, its wily proponents were attempting to inflict it on the rest of the population. “The liberals falsely claim to believe in democracy—the will of the people—the vote of the majority,” wrote one prayer activist a few months after the Schempp decision, “but when they can, they will use every legal device to kill legislation, although it may be popular, that is contrary to their leftist philosophy.”40 But prayer supporters also mimicked this “leftist” foe. Even as they skewered liberals for fomenting social agitation in God’s name, prayer activists often invoked scripture to justify their own forms of civil disobedience. Citing Daniel’s refusal to obey Darius’s ban on prayer, a rural New York minister argued that the Bible actually mandated resistance to Engel and Schempp. “A Christian surely can not let her mouth be stopped by state directives,” the minister asserted. “If opening her class with prayer were to cost her her job, it would not be the first time that a Christian suffered because of convictions.” Other activists praised sporadic student protests against the prayer ban, which themselves echoed the rhythm and rhetoric of civil rights demonstrations. In Newport, Kentucky, students posted “Ban the Bible Ban” signs in their high school; when school officials removed the signs, ninety pupils affixed similar messages to their shirts and dresses. In Hicksville, Long Island, more than fifty students recited New York’s banned “Regents’ prayer” during their school’s prescribed moment of silence. Following a plea from the school principal, student leaders ended the protest. But several pupils continued their “prayer rebellion,” as a local newspaper called it, declaring that they would sooner receive suspensions from the school than suspend their own devotionals to God.41 Like left-wing activists, also, prayer activists developed a distinctive style of protest music. In the mid-1960s they helped popularize a special 45-rpm “school prayer record” by the Hal Webb Team, a gospelstyle group. Lest anyone miss the point, one side of the record bore

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a song entitled “Let’s Put Prayer and Bible Reading Back in School”; the other side was called, simply, “You Better Do It.” Even as he railed against civil rights “agitators” in mainline churches, similarly, the fundamentalist leader Carl McIntire distributed protest songs against the prayer ban. One number, “Please Pray,” was set to the tune of “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean”: Oh, Mommie, please give me a cookie To take for today’s lunch at school But I’ll have to thank God for it here, now For to pray there is now ’gainst the rule . . . Please pray! Please pray! Let’s pray we may still pray each day, in school! Please, pray! Each day! That they’ll soon change this very bad rule.42

For the prayer and civil rights movements alike, jokes provided a respite from injustice as well as a pithy critique of it. One favorite tale involved a teacher who comes upon a group of boys kneeling in a school hallway. “What are you doing on your knees?” she inquires. “Shooting craps,” comes the quick reply. “Thank God,” the teacher says. “I thought you were praying.” Occasionally prayer supporters even engaged in forms of what leftists called “guerrilla theater”—abrupt, humorous acts designed to shock viewers’ consciences. Anonymous activists in New Jersey papered school fences with a satirical notice: “IN CASE OF ATOMIC ATTACK, THE FEDERAL RULING AGAINST PRAYER IN SCHOOLS WILL BE TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED.” The protest made the national news, to prayer defenders’ delight. “Now this should give our more liberal friends something to ponder over,” a Michigan woman exulted.43 Despite their jabs at “liberals,” finally, prayer activists often shared their enemies’ emphasis on “rights.” In Michigan one activist claimed that “the Christian is being discriminated against”; in Maryland another argued that the Court had removed her “religious freedom”; in Indiana a third likened this oppression to the passion of Christ. “The same bigotry that persecuted Him and His followers then continues

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today,” the Indianan averred. “It seems to me that this is no longer a democracy, where the majority rules, or where tolerance unites us. It is instead an era . . . that has upheld the so-called rights of the individual, but has ignored the rights of the majority.”44 The final comment highlighted a key difference that still separated prayer activists from their liberal counterparts: whereas the left often defended embattled minorities, prayer supporters claimed to speak for a plurality of Americans. By the early 1980s, however, the school prayer movement would fully embrace the status—and the politics—of a suffering minority. Even as a new conservative president endorsed their aims, supporters of school prayer veered ever closer to the “liberal” dogma they purportedly despised.

School Prayer and the New Christian Right In August 1982 the so-called New Christian Right convened a three-day “Family Forum” in Buffalo, New York. Speakers included Jerry Falwell and Phyllis Schlafly, along with the nation’s top-ranking educational official, Secretary of Education T. H. Bell. Reviewing several schoolrelated issues—sex education, “obscene” textbooks, and prayer—Bell remarked that a single theme bound them together: parental control. “Education is a family matter,” he proclaimed, praising the forum’s efforts. “The parent is the foremost teacher, the home is the most influential classroom, and schools should exist to support the home.” On controversial subjects like prayer, other speakers insisted, a parent’s wishes should trump every other concern—including popular majorities. No matter how many Americans wanted to prohibit classroom prayer, schools would have to provide it to the families that still desired it.45 Bell’s comments illuminate what was truly “new” about the New Christian Right and its battle for school prayer. First, media-savvy groups like Falwell’s Moral Majority provided publicity and focus for a school prayer movement that had long lacked national direction or organization. Second, as Bell’s praise showed, the movement finally won the approval and support of national political leaders—including the conservative president who appointed Bell, Ronald Reagan. Last, despite titles such as “Moral Majority,” the New Right developed a refashioned gospel of minority rights in its campaign for school prayer.

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Less and less would activists invoke the virtues of “America,” writ large, or the need to “correct” families that had forsaken those virtues. Instead, like the Israelites in Babylon, prayer supporters would sing a sacred song in a strange land. Except for a few local flashes, the school prayer movement was quiet during the early 1970s. Many fundamentalist Christians placed their own children in private academies, rendering the question of prayer in public schools less directly relevant to their lives. After the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, abortion replaced prayer as fundamentalists’ primary political concern. In 1976, however, the ascendance of a self-proclaimed evangelical Christian to the White House seemed to reenergize the school prayer movement. Jimmy Carter’s avowal that he was “born again” brought many fundamentalists into his corner, confident that Carter would inscribe their beliefs in law. Carter disappointed them. Despite his personal opposition to abortion, he refused to support an anti-abortion amendment or to stack the courts with pro-life judges. On school-based worship, similarly, Carter declared that “government ought to stay out of the prayer business.” The comment raised the ire of Jerry Falwell, already angered by Carter’s apostasy on abortion. After all, Falwell wrote in 1980, Carter had prayed at the signing of the Arab-Israeli peace accord. Why shouldn’t schoolchildren pray at the beginning of school?46 By then Falwell had discovered a new champion of school prayer in Carter’s rival Ronald Reagan. The first president to back a prayer amendment, Reagan defended it with a typically dramatic—and probably fictional—wartime anecdote. “I like the America of the four Chaplains—Hebrew and Christian—who gave their life jackets and lives to save some American soldiers from drowning in World War Two,” he noted in 1984, attacking “secularization” in the public schools. “I’m quite sure they didn’t first ask the religion of the young men they saved.” That same year Reagan told a convention of evangelicals that the reinstitution of school prayer “would do more than any other action” to “reassert the faith and values that made America great.” Most of all, he argued, prayer would help bring alienated youth back into the national fold: “If we could get God and discipline back in our schools, maybe we could get drugs and violence out.”47

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Besides this unprecedented rhetorical support from the White House, school prayer received a huge boost from the Christian Right’s famous direct-mail and television empires. In millions of letters and telegrams, activists linked the Court’s ban on prayer to pornography, homosexuality, abortion, and the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. Falwell himself claimed a mailing list of 7 million families, generated mostly by his Old Time Gospel Hour television show. The show broadcast a special program about school prayer, and the televangelist Pat Robertson’s 700 Club devoted several segments to the issue. Meanwhile, a group called the Leadership Foundation distributed more than 42 million pieces of prayer-related material along with a onehour television spot, Let Our Children Pray, which aired on over 100 different stations. All told, more than 60 organizations probably engaged in direct-mail, television, or radio efforts to promote prayer in the public schools.48 Like most social issues on the New Christian Right’s agenda, however, school prayer failed to make much legislative headway. A prayer amendment passed in the Senate in 1979, only to stall in the House in 1980; reintroduced in different versions during each of the next three years, it never achieved the necessary two-thirds vote in either branch of Congress. Citing the barrage of mail in favor of the amendment, many supporters continued to proclaim the majoritarian basis of school prayer: since most Americans wanted it, schools should offer it. But other prayer activists discovered a new solicitude for minority rights. Following a prayer amendment defeat in 1984, Falwell compared prayer advocates to the Jews in Egypt; as an assistant explained, they were a “persecuted minority group” whose “rights” had been eroded by the public schools. Across America, prayer proponents fashioned similar appeals. In Pennsylvania activists argued that prayer bans robbed Christian pupils of their “cultural heritages”; Oklahomans claimed that the bans “could be psychologically damaging” to “students of the Christian faith”; in Massachusetts prayer advocates established a Christian Civil Liberties Union to fight for their own “freedom of religion.”49 Especially in the South, this new language helped buttress the continued disobedience of Supreme Court doctrine on school prayer. Under the old majoritarian argument, supporters would have to

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relinquish prayer once enough voters turned against it. Using the new nomenclature of “rights,” by contrast, activists could claim an a priori— and unassailable—“freedom” to worship in schools. “I’d rather be right with God than [with] the Supreme Court,” gloated a self-described “bayou rebel” in Louisiana after his school district reinstituted prayer in 1982. Significantly, the same district had defied a court busing order to achieve racial balance the previous year; in that sense, one observer noted, the prayer issue was “just the latest chapter in a history of resistance” by the white South. In Birmingham, Alabama, elementary school pupils began each day by bowing their heads and asking God to “help me . . . find new ways of just being kind”; in Greenville, Mississippi, they thanked God before lunch; and in China Grove, North Carolina, high school students selected Bible verses to read over the school intercom system.50 For their own part, African-Americans also continued to challenge the courts’ prayer directives. In Raleigh, North Carolina, an African Methodist Episcopal Zion pastor argued that prayer would improve the “moral standards” of Black communities; in Chicago a minister complained that schools could provide information on “dope traffic” and sex but not on “spiritual values”; and in Albany, New York, another Black cleric averred that the Bible enjoined everyone—including schoolchildren—to pray. Despite their differences on busing and other issues, meanwhile, African-Americans increasingly allied with whites on behalf of school prayer. At a high school in Rockingham, North Carolina, for example, students of both races asked God to help them “love all people, no matter what their color or country is.”51 By this late date, such expressions of liberal spirituality were rare. Instead, as a North Carolina critic wrote in 1983, nearly every prayer or religious practice in the public schools reflected a “fundamentalist version of Christianity.” In Virginia, where Bible classes had once taught race liberalism, such courses were “tinged with threats of hellfire” and “full of talk about . . . trying to convert a heathen world.” North of the Mason-Dixon Line the same trend was evident: insofar as prayer or religious study continued in the public schools, it was dominated by conservatives or fundamentalists. In North Dakota self-described born-again Christians revived a 1927 law requiring the posting of the

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Ten Commandments in every classroom. According to one of its authors, the law originally aimed to encourage “less war and more peace” by emphasizing God’s sixth injunction: Thou shalt not kill. By contrast, its new supporters stressed the commandment to worship God, and him alone. Opponents of the measure risked eternal doom. “What are you going to answer the Lord on Judgment Day to the question he will ask, ‘Why did you object to having my commandments hung on the wall of your school’?” wrote one supporter in March 1979. “Better give that some thought.” The very question demonstrated the dramatic change in the scope and purpose of religious instruction in American public schools. Formerly a movement to promote peace and justice in this world, school prayer became a vehicle for insuring personal salvation in the next one.52



The sex education controversy reached Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the early months of 1969. Its catalyst was a scheduled appearance by Gordon V. Drake, the author of a vitriolic pamphlet condemning the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). Circulated across the country by right-wing groups like the John Birch Society, Drake’s pamphlet charged that SIECUS—a small team of physicians and scientists—spread “raw sex” through America’s schoolhouses, softening children’s moral backbone and making them “easy targets for Marxism.” For several years Kalamazoo schools had quietly taught sex education without any major criticism or disruption. When a local Birch Society chapter announced plans to host Drake for a speech, however, citizens quickly divided into hostile camps. As in countless other communities throughout America, sex education soon became Kalamazoo’s most hotly contested school issue.1 On one side stood the town’s educational and medical establishments, led by the Kalamazoo pediatrician and SIECUS board member Frederick J. Margolis. Properly taught, Margolis believed, sex education would improve rather than injure children’s morality. “We want to convey attitudes and feelings so that people learn to associate sex, not with promiscuity, VD, something dirty, but with a positive good, [an] essential part of human living,” he told the Kalamazoo Gazette. True, he acknowledged, parents bore the primary responsibility for sex education. But “their fears and their own limited backgrounds too

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often stand in the way,” forcing schools to take up the slack. The doctor reserved his greatest disdain for Drake and his supporters in the John Birch Society, who presumed to tell educators how to teach about sex. Since Drake lacked any “real training” in “medicine or psychiatry,” Margolis argued, Kalamazoo would do well to listen to people who did. The Gazette agreed, praising Margolis as a “nationally recognized expert on sex education”—and blasting its critics as ignorant, far-right “Birchites.”2 In letters to the newspaper, though, citizens who opposed sex education bristled at this automatic association with the Birch Society. Only a fraction of critics bore any link to the society; the rest were simply parents, as one put it, outraged at the intrusion of “sexperts” into their sacred domain. “Isn’t it strange that God gave children to parents and not to the experts, since the experts think they only are qualified to teach our children?” a Kalamazoo mother wrote. “I am perfectly willing to let the experts teach my children reading, writing and arithmetic. When it comes to matters which will affect their moral character, I will handle the job.” Youth were suffering from “degradation on all sides,” another mother noted, citing drugs, promiscuity, and the elimination of school prayer. Rather than capitulating to the “perverts” in SIECUS, then, parents must seize control of American public schools—and “turn back the tide of degeneracy” in American public life.3 Like advocates of school prayer, opponents of sex education spoke the language of right-wing populism. They were the defenders of tradition—work, family, nation, God—in a society that seemed to mock these time-honored values. But several important differences marked the twin struggles for school prayer and against sex education, highlighting Americans’ profound ambivalence on the issue that linked these controversies: parents’ rights. In the prayer debate, conservatives tended to claim that children’s rights should trump parental ones: since so many families neglected or ignored the religious instruction of their young, schools would have to provide it. On the question of sex education, conservatives made exactly the opposite argument: parental views must take precedence over “expert” pronouncements. Of course, a similar contradiction plagued the liberal camp. On prayer,

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liberals championed parents’ rights: lest schools insult even a single family’s creed, all forms of religious practice should be banished from the classroom. But when it came to instruction about sex, liberals were perfectly willing to violate these individual preferences. Indeed, the very fact that children did not receive sex education “at home”—at least not the brand of sex education that liberals thought best—became the central justification for instituting it at school. The same tangled politics enmeshed sex education until the early 1980s, when several new patterns emerged. Rather than opposing all forms of sex education in schools, the so-called New Right started to demand its own version of the subject: “abstinence-only” education. Whereas an earlier generation had condemned liberals for stripping religion from the schools, meanwhile, the New Right indicted them on a much more serious charge: imposing their own religion, a “secular humanism” that supplanted God’s authority. To challenge this ascendant faith—and especially to combat the loose sexual ethics it encouraged—Christians would need to promote their own sex education curriculum in the schools. Like the anti-drug programs that also proliferated during these years, New Right sex education bore a simple message: Just Say No. Abstinence outside marriage was right; masturbation, homosexuality, and all forms of premarital sex were wrong. As in the prayer dispute, New Right spokesmen sometimes buttressed this argument with liberal rhetoric: since students came from a diversity of “cultures,” some conservatives said, schools should transmit Christian as well as humanist views of sex. But to others the very goal of “presenting both sides” demonstrated humanism’s evil influence. “Even the attempt to teach [sex education] without values attaches a value to it,” warned one opponent. “The value is that all varieties of sexual and social behavior are of equal validity.”4 Such complaints reflected an exaggerated, almost fantastic view of so-called mainstream or liberal sex education, which still displayed a deep unease about premarital sexual relations. At least rhetorically, however, liberals favored “discussion” of sexuality in the classroom; conservatives, by contrast, demanded a single set of dicta. No simple compromise could “solve” the problem of sex education, which touched upon the deepest religious and philosophical rifts in post–World War II America.

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Sex Education and the Sexual Revolution Two empty envelopes were mailed to SIECUS director Mary Steichen Calderone on August 1, 1969. Playing on Calderone’s M.D. and M.P.H. degrees, the first was addressed to “Mary Stinken Calderone, Mistress of the Devil, Misfit Prostitute of Hell.” The second envelope was sent to “Sex-Maniacs In seducing Every Child, Under Satan’s Directives,” a parody of the “SIECUS” acronym. Across the bottom the sender had scrawled, “Steal a Bible and Read Matt. 23:15 and see Where God Himself Has Already Condemned You to Eternal Torture and Hell, and Remember this on your Deathbed.” But the most vituperative remarks appeared on the back of the second envelope: God Said, about Seducers of Children: You will Wish You Had Never Been Born . . . You’d Be Better Off if a Millstone Were Tied Around Your Neck, and You Be Cast into the Depths of The Sea. He Meant that the Drowning Would Be Better Than Being Cast into the Depths of Hell, where You Will Have Mouten Steel Poured into You From Two Directions . . . and Where Your Diet Will Be Puss, Excretions, Roaches, Maggots, and Spiders. Think it Over in Bed Tonite, as Well as On Your Deathbed.5

Both missives were mailed anonymously from New Orleans, where an array of citizen groups had mobilized against a proposed sex education program. Although Calderone and SIECUS had no direct connection to the program, critics condemned them for fostering “immorality”—or worse, subversion—in the schools. Converging first on the city school board and then on the state legislature, opponents soon won a law barring any sex education in Louisiana below the ninth grade; by 1970 the state would prohibit the subject altogether. Across the country, a similar pattern obtained. In a narrow two-year span, hundreds of school districts and nineteen states considered measures to ban or limit sex education. Regardless of location, Mary Calderone served as the central lightning rod for this swift current of discontent. One Chicago minister accused her of plotting “to corrupt Christian America”; in Tennessee a columnist deemed her “head madam

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at SIECUS”; and in upstate New York parents charged that “sexual perverts and communists” permeated her organization. “Why don’t you queers, pinkos and pimps crawl under some damp rock and have your own sex orgy until you die from exhaustion?” wrote a Michigan resident in a typically spiteful letter to Calderone. “Nothing would suit me better.”6 At first glance, Calderone seemed an unlikely target for this condemnation. Hardly the brainchild of Calderone and SIECUS, sex education (or “sex instruction,” as it was formerly called) dated to the outset of the twentieth century. It grew slowly in the early decades but gained speed in the 1940s and 1950s, well before Calderone entered the picture.7 Also, SIECUS itself was a minuscule organization: publishing a single book and a handful of teachers’ guides, it bore little resemblance to the “octopus” or “interlocking directorate” that its enemies imagined. And, like the sex educators who preceded them, Calderone and SIECUS sought to control—not to unleash—children’s sexual impulses. Beneath its rhetoric of “choice” and “honesty,” the “new” sex education conveyed an overwhelmingly conventional morality—indeed, some said, an old-fashioned morality—of monogamy and self-discipline.8 Why, in that case, the explosive reaction against SIECUS—and against sex education—in the late 1960s? The answer lay in the complex set of developments that contemporaries called the “sexual revolution.” Defying simple definition, the term encompassed everything from cohabitation and homosexuality to pornography and the Pill. Its diverse and often contradictory strands were united by an impatience with the sexual status quo, a desire to free America from its repressive straitjacket.9 Profoundly ambivalent about this “revolution,” particularly its acceptance of sex outside marriage, sex educators nevertheless shared in its spirit of candor and experimentation. To critics, then, sex education became a symbol of everything that was promiscuous, permissive, and decadent in American life. Significantly, these attacks occurred at the height of the sexual revolution. Most accounts of the revolution place its enemies at the end of the story, when the supposedly libertine Sixties gave way to the conservative Seventies.10 But the sex education controversy reminds us that the sexual revolution

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was contested at every turn, not just in its final laps. If millions of Americans—especially youth—celebrated new freedoms and frankness, just as many citizens sought to arrest these very trends. “Revolution” and “counterrevolution” occurred simultaneously, in other words, reflecting the overall polarization of the “radical” 1960s. As early as 1964 both Time and Newsweek published cover stories describing a “sexual revolution” among young Americans. That same year Mary Steichen Calderone helped found the Sex Education and Information Council of the United States. The daughter of the photographer Edward Steichen and niece of the poet Carl Sandburg, Calderone grew up amid the artistic avant-garde of Progressive-era New York City. After a failed first marriage, she attended medical school and eventually became medical director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. But Calderone grew frustrated at Planned Parenthood, which emphasized birth control services to the neglect of “sexual problems” such as impotence and frigidity. Since these problems stemmed from Americans’ muddled attitudes and outright misinformation about sex, Calderone reasoned, the nation needed a separate agency devoted solely to sex education. Thanks to bequests from John D. Rockefeller and other philanthropists, SIECUS soon boasted eight full-time staff members and an annual budget of $500,000. It also enlisted several prominent “sex experts” to serve on its board of directors, including the Oregon educator Lester A. Kirkendall and the St. Louis gynecologist William H. Masters, the co-author (with Virginia Johnson) of the 1966 bestseller Human Sexual Response.11 To their foes, these “sexperts” represented the vanguard of the nascent sexual revolution. But SIECUS actually functioned as the revolution’s rear echelon, restraining the more radical warriors at the forefront. On the one hand, Calderone welcomed the new public discussion and acceptance of “sexual energy,” which she deemed a “vital life force” and a key to human happiness and fulfillment. On the other, Calderone and her colleagues aimed to channel this energy into its traditional venue: the marriage bed. “Let me assure you . . . that I stand squarely for monogamy,” she wrote in 1968 in a typical response to a critic, “for the committed relationship in marriage that is life-long.”

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Condemning “casual sex” between men and women, Calderone also denounced homosexual relations of every sort; “healthy” sex education, she argued, would help prevent both of these behaviors.12 Out in the schools, meanwhile, sex education courses proliferated: by 1968, according to one estimate, half of American school districts taught the subject. Few of these programs had any direct connection to SIECUS, which sent consultants to some thirty communities and literature to several hundred others. But the “new” sex education classes shared SIECUS’s joint emphasis on expression and control, welcoming “discussion” of the sexual impulse but stressing the need to discipline it. As educators admitted, the very goal of “discussion” was to encourage such discipline. “We don’t lecture or give sermons,” a school superintendent explained in 1968. “The truth is, though, we are selling middle-class morality.” When the topic of premarital sex came up for “debate,” for example, teachers frequently distributed statistics on venereal disease, abortion, and divorce. Such techniques lent a scientific gloss to the “hell-fire warnings” of the past, a journalist observed, but their objective was exactly the same: to foster monogamy in marriage.13 Still, the journalist added, the “new” sex education signaled a much more frank, direct attitude toward sexuality. The subject “has changed its aura from that of a shady mistress to that of a prim matron,” she quipped, “who can be taken everywhere in broad daylight.” Formerly tabooed terms—“erection,” “orgasm,” “masturbation”—now found their way into American classrooms; however much sex educators stacked the deck in favor of traditional morality, their vocabulary diverged sharply from that of their forebears. Nowhere was this trend clearer than in the new crop of books, films, and slide shows that arose in the 1960s to supply the burgeoning sex education market. The most controversial item was a text called How Babies Are Made, which featured drawings of dogs and chickens copulating as well as a cartoon of a man and woman in bed together; although they were covered by a sheet, the man clearly lay atop the woman. In a popular movie called The Game, meanwhile, a teenage boy pressured a reluctant (and virginal) girl to have sex in the back of his father’s car. To be sure, both the book and the film embodied a staunchly traditional, “Cellophanewrapped” view of sex, as an amused British reporter noted: the modest

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cartoon identified its subjects as “mother and father,” while the movie concluded with a stern warning against premarital intercourse. To underscore the point, the reporter’s article was entitled “Unpermissive America.” To millions of Americans, however, these same materials embodied the evils of a society that seemed to permit everything—at least when it came to sex.14

From Soviet Subversion to the Sick Sixties Attacks on sex education were hardly unique to the 1960s. On the contrary, they had accompanied the subject since its inception. In the early 1900s, for example, Catholics charged that sex education—like Darwinism—denigrated religious interpretations of human life. After World War II they also protested a popular new sex education film, Human Growth, which included diagrams of male and female genitals and even footage of a baby’s birth. But the loudest condemnations of sex education came from right-wing patriotic and veterans’ groups, who suspected that the entire subject was a diabolical Soviet plot. “Why all of a sudden this emphasis on SEX?” asked Amos A. Fries, who also led campaigns against allegedly “Red” history textbooks. “Is this departure—that is, teaching Sex Education—part of the efforts of Communism aimed at destroying morality among American youth?” In California the state Un-American Activities Committee even convened a hearing in 1947 to investigate “sex books” in the schools. After collecting testimony from parents, teachers, and physicians, the committee concluded that the sex education texts “follow or parallel the Communist Party line” for “the destruction of the moral fibre” of America.15 Such accusations seem to have declined in the early 1950s, possibly reflecting a decrease in sex education itself. But they reawakened near the end of the decade, when “the superabundance of sex” in the mass media—television, movies, and advertising—gave new life to theories of a “Red Sex” conspiracy. “Few contemporary authors dare mention Communism in connection with the so-called ‘sex revolution,’” one critic noted in 1959. “Yet evidence exists that there is a connection.” Specifically, he claimed, sex educators used Pavlovian “mind-

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conditioning” methods to promote “unrestrained sexual license,” which Soviet theorists had long identified as a precondition for the worldwide triumph of their ideology.16 The conspiracy theory would be revived ten years later, courtesy of the John Birch Society. Founded in 1958 by the Massachusetts candy manufacturer Robert Welch, the society detected a Soviet plot in almost every aspect of American life. Most notoriously, Welch even condemned Dwight D. Eisenhower as a “conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.” The Birchites seem to have ignored sex education until January 1969, when Welch told a Houston audience that the subject was part of a “filthy Communist plot”; its “real purpose,” he insisted, was “to keep our high school youth obsessed with sex.” That same month Welch announced the formation of the Birch Society’s Movement to Restore Decency (MOTOREDE). In the long run, MOTOREDE would aim to reclaim “the morals, manners, customs, traditions, and values that have preserved our civilization,” as its first bulletin blared, highlighting America’s alarming epidemics of crime, pornography, and drug abuse. But the group’s first target would be sex education courses, which had proliferated along with these negative trends—and seemed to have perpetuated them, “exactly as the Communists have planned and intended.”17 The organization proceeded to distribute instructional packets for starting local chapters, complete with leaflets, bumper stickers, sample news releases, and form letters to prospective members. It also produced a thirty-minute filmstrip on sex education, The Innocents Defiled, which activists could purchase for thirty dollars. Focusing mainly on Calderone and SIECUS, Birchite material besmirched them with the time-honored tactic of guilt by association: one SIECUS board member had been active in the “Communist-controlled” teachers’ union in New York City, another signed the “Communist-inspired” Stockholm Peace Petition, and so on. Most of all, SIECUS’s subversive intent was apparent in its own published doctrines and directives. Simply by raising sexual ethics as a “question for discussion,” Birch Society members charged, SIECUS undermined those very ethics. The results could be seen and heard on any American streetcorner, in youths’ “filthy language, squalid dress, lewd behavior, and disrespect for authority.” The

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only remedy lay with American parents, who must seize back the moral authority they had mistakenly ceded to public schools. “I’m the person responsible for raising my children, not the principal,” declared a suggested MOTOREDE script for addressing stubborn school officials. “And I certainly know more about what is best for them than he does.”18 For the next several years Calderone and her supporters would blame the John Birch Society for the nationwide attack on sex education.19 Just as SIECUS’s critics exaggerated its scope and power, though, so did sex educators inflate the Birchites’ influence. By the late 1960s the Birch Society was in disarray; plagued by paranoia and internal strife, it faded quickly from the scene. Across the political spectrum, meanwhile, Americans heaped ridicule upon the Birchites’ accusation of “subversion” in sex education. The Chicago columnist Mike Royko jokingly suggested that Mao Tse-tung, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Ho Chi Minh had sparked Communist revolutions by distributing sex pamphlets entitled “Let Mao Tell You How,” “Hit the Hay, by Fidel and Che,” and “Want to Know? Ask Ho!” In a more serious vein, the staunchly conservative American Medical Association published an impassioned attack on “the extreme right wing”—a code word for the John Birch Society—after the Birchites blasted the AMA for supporting “Communist” sex education.20 In the same editorial, however, the AMA acknowledged that the movement against sex education extended far beyond the Birch Society. Even as they rejected the society’s claims of Communist intrigue, it seemed, thousands of “sincerely motivated but uninformed individuals” embraced the other two themes of the Birchite critique: moral degradation and parental rights. To put it differently, many Americans who scoffed at charges of subversion still rejected sex education as a blight on society and an insult to their own authority. “It’s a red herring to label opponents as the far right,” warned an Illinois school superintendent who supported sex education. Instead, he added, most critics of sex education were simply parents who were concerned about the moral well-being of their children. More precisely, most of them were mothers: rejecting the content and sometimes the premises of sex education, they also bridled at any association with the “far-right”—and male-dominated—John Birch Society. “The [sex education] programs

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are springing up like crabgrass and dichondra,” noted Dixie Ryan, the mother of three children in the California schools, “but the opposition to it is beginning to sear the grass roots like prairie fire.” Hardly the seedlings of the Birch Society, foes of sex education sprouted independently across the American political landscape.21 At least a year before the Birchites appeared on the scene, for example, Ryan had forged a group called Parents United for a Responsible Education (PURE) to fight sex education in the Los Angeles area. In a veritable avalanche of acronyms, hundreds of other local groups across the country also attacked sex education. The most common symbol was “P,” for “parent”: from Parents Opposed to Sex Education (POSE) to Parents Against Universal Sex Education (PAUSE) to Citizens for Parental Rights (CPR), hundreds of citizens’ groups demanded the halt—or at least the suspension—of sex education in their children’s schools. Battering school boards and legislatures, they made sex instruction “the most hotly debated topic in American elementary education,” as Time magazine reported in July 1969. With only a touch of hyperbole, another pair of observers deemed sex education the most explosive school issue since the Scopes trial of 1925. In a small Phoenix elementary school district, more than 1,500 spectators crammed into a school board meeting on the subject; in Kansas a school official supporting sex education received a death threat; and in Minnesota tear gas fumes interrupted legislative hearings on the issue.22 Minus charges of Communist subversion, most of the local protest groups echoed the Birchites’ basic critique: sex education promoted a promiscuous, amoral conception of sex. At its root, indeed, much of the debate about sex education concerned rival views of the sex act itself. To Mary Calderone and her supporters, sex was not simply a means of procreation but an essential component of human pleasure and happiness. To sex education’s critics, however, this so-called recreational philosophy denigrated what was truly unique about human beings. Animals copulated whenever they pleased, for no higher reason than pleasure; by acknowledging or even celebrating this principle, then, sex education reduced people to a “bestial” state.23 At the same time, it exaggerated the importance of sex to human health and well-being.

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“What makes you so positive about sex, as if it were the only thing in life,” began a Rhode Island critic in a lengthy letter to Calderone: I am 71 years old, love to work hard, try to have a purpose in life, other than sex. Hate dirty nude pictures the body is far from beautiful, when there are no clothes on it. God gave us sex to have children, not to play around with the body. People should have interests, as they mature, not depend on sex. My brother had a business and still looked young at 65 a bacholor, no sex drives, too bussy for such. Sex is to bear children, if you want them. I had two and it was all I cared to have, but, I wouldn’t allow my husband to maul me, and play around, and we are both healthy . . . What makes you think your cryterian is for every woman or man. The sex foolishness is getting too much out of control.24

Worse than nonprocreative sex between partners was masturbation, the bête noire of sex education opponents in the 1960s. Even sexual intercourse with contraceptives had the potential to create children, but masturbation’s sole goal was gratification—and of the self, at that. Although sex educators never “taught” or “advocated” masturbation, as critics often claimed, some textbooks and course outlines did seek to correct the widespread notions that it caused pimples, warts, blindness, and especially insanity. “The commonly quoted medical consequences of masturbation are almost entirely fictitious,” stated one California textbook. “Masturbation will not impair the mind.” Actually, many doctors and psychiatrists still preached the alleged perils of “self-abuse.” More to the point, millions of citizens still believed in these dangers. “At 67 my bodily powers ceased and family life hampered which should of continued for life had I not wasted my substance,” wrote one. “So don’t let the medical profession or anyone hoodwink you into believing that masturbation is harmless.”25 By accepting or even promoting sexual hedonism, opponents emphasized, educators echoed the crass messages that children received from the mass media. “To me, the whole thing we witness today on sex, sex, sex, sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex is revolting,” one corre-

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spondent told SIECUS officials in 1968, in a typical jeremiad. Critics particularly targeted modern film and literature, each of which had become, another spokesman complained, “a mere vehicle for fourletter words and dreary sexual perversions.” Schools should challenge this pervasive coarsening of popular culture, he continued, establishing at least one safe harbor from “the sexual Typhoid Marys of the Sick Sixties.” Thanks to sex education, however, the same bawdy winds that swirled across the mass media also blew into the American classroom. In schools as on the streets, critics warned, children ingested “an unmixed diet of high-calorie, highly commercialized sex.”26 Ironically, sex educators often shared their opponents’ abhorrence of wanton sexual imagery in the media. From television and the movies, Planned Parenthood president Alan Guttmacher worried, students learned to “treat sex as a commodity” rather than as an expression of love, trust, and respect. But this problem demanded the expansion— not the elimination—of sex education. “It’s time we acknowledged that most parents fail utterly to educate their children sexually,” Guttmacher declared. Citing several well-documented studies, educators noted that only a slim fraction of American youngsters learned about sex in their homes. So schools needed to take up the slack, just as they did in other areas of the curriculum. “By state law, parents are not— except under exceptional circumstances—permitted to teach history, geography, mathematics or any other academic subject,” a Chicago sex educator explained. “Yet consider the strange anomaly: every parent is expected to be an expert in the critical area of sex education.” Actually, a Kansas City supporter admitted, sex education did take place in the home. But it was the wrong kind of education, she emphasized, conveying a host of inaccurate and even damaging lessons: “Psychiatrists, psychologists, and marriage counselors report vast human suffering derived from warped, confused, repressive attitudes and concepts learned from well intentioned but misguided parents . . . While healthy sex education in the home is a fine ideal, it does not occur in the majority of homes, and cannot occur until parents themselves are capable of providing it. Thus it becomes the province of the specialist to provide such vital services.”27

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Parents versus Experts Such paeans to “specialists”—and insults to parents—sent critics of sex education into convulsions of rage. “I am tired of being told by ‘leading’ educators, psychologists, doctors, and clergymen that we do not know how to raise our children,” wrote an angry mother in upstate New York. “Do you really think that Satan would hesitate to appear in a scholar’s robe, a doctor’s uniform or a clerical collar?” Critics reserved special distaste for prominent churchmen who supported sex education; like school prayer, the issue exposed huge chasms between Protestant leaders and their laities. Mary Calderone dated her own involvement in sex education to a conference in 1961 sponsored by the National Council of Churches, which became a prime target for prayer supporters and sex education opponents alike. The director of the NCC’s Family Life Department, William Genne, served as a SIECUS board member and became one of Calderone’s closest confidants. As early as 1963 other NCC leaders displayed disagreement—and skepticism—about traditional sexual mores. “On this subject of premarital chastity the problem of the churches is in not knowing what to say,” observed one NCC spokesman. “We must be courageous enough to define our differences of opinion and let the world know our confusion . . . The time has come to be honest.”28 To millions of parishioners, however, such matters caused little “confusion”: scripture, after all, placed an ironclad prohibition on sex outside of marriage. The only real conundrum concerned the church leaders themselves, who had inexplicably strayed from “God’s immutable laws,” as one worshipper wrote. Controversy proved particularly sharp within the United Presbyterian Church, where in 1970 leaders endorsed state contraceptive services, legalized abortion, and “thoughtful programs of sex education.” Refusing to condemn premarital sex, the church’s general assembly simply called on couples to make “responsible decisions”; it also deemed masturbation “one of the earliest pleasurable experiences,” deploring the “guilt and shame” that still surrounded the topic. Across the country, local churches reacted with shock and outrage. “Less politely put, the [general assembly]

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seems to say, ‘Go to bed, kids, it’s all right,’” an Illinois pastor fumed. “We are paying more attention to Masters and Johnson than to Moses and Jesus.” Sexual sinners should feel “guilt and shame,” another critic added, as should the national church leaders who abetted them. “Little did I dream that our once grand and glorious old church would ever sink to such a level as to approve immorality and filth!” exclaimed a Presbyterian in Minnesota, vilifying church leaders who supported sex education. “You are going against the teachings of Christ, and I pray he will reward you according to your works!”29 Aside from these allegedly apostate ministers, sex education opponents probably reserved their greatest ire for psychiatrists. In part, their enmity reflected psychiatrists’ obvious prominence in—and support for—sex education programs. More than that, though, it reflected critics’ fears of emotional manipulation or “mind control” in the schools. The “new” sex education emphasized students’ emotions, feelings, and attitudes: its goal was not just to teach the mechanics of sex (often derided as “plumbing”) but rather to transmit a “healthy view” of it. To critics, this objective conjured up what one frightened parent called “psychological brainwashing” in “permissive morality.” In the guise of encouraging students to make decisions, opponents asserted, sex educators used sophisticated psychiatric techniques of “sensitivity training” (ST) to inscribe their own decisions upon students.30 In California fears of ST grew so rapidly that the state assembly held special hearings in December 1968 to investigate it. Critics testified that ST techniques had infected the entire curriculum, not just sex-related instruction: in the “new” English and the “new” social studies, too, teachers tried to elicit—and to alter—students’ “innermost feelings.” But ST was clearly most dangerous when applied to the “new” sex education, which sought to influence the deepest emotions and the most critical decisions that a child could confront. “The child should be considered an individual,” insisted one opponent of sex education, “not something to be standardized, plied with information as in computer programming, and/or wound up like a spring with pre-set attitudes and behaviors.”31 Several sharp ironies marked this campaign against “sensitivity training” and psychiatry. In most of their pronouncements, opponents at-

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tacked sex education for promoting “pluralistic” or “situational” ethics: on matters like premarital sex, one spokesman declared, schools should inculcate “universal and immutable” principles rather than encourage students to formulate their own. In their attacks on ST, however, these same critics castigated sex education for imposing “group control” or “group-think” on individual students. Here these conservatives’ rhetoric echoed the contemporary left-wing critique of psychiatry by popular authors like R. D. Laing, who charged that the discipline used pseudoscientific terms and rationales to scapegoat racial minorities and stamp out political dissent. At the height of California’s ST debate, in fact, white foes of sex education quoted a radical Black activist’s attack on a study that alleged a high prevalence of psychiatric illness among AfricanAmericans: “It becomes clearer what may be crazy about those people: they are black, and they act differently than ‘normal’ people—that is, the white political psychiatrists.” In a hopeful spirit, sex education critics even quoted the Black activist’s concluding call to arms: “There is no reason why blacks, Christians, conservatives, youth—all those alienated from the mental hygiene establishment—cannot join, despite all their differences, in demands for restraint of political psychiatrists.”32 At the same time, though, opponents of sex education eagerly invoked the handful of mental health professionals who shared their position. The most popular such authority was the New York child psychologist Rhoda L. Lorand, who decried sex education courses for interfering with the “latency” period of development (ages six to ten) that Sigmund Freud had described. “Sublimation of sexual curiosity . . . is the price we must pay to live in a civilized society,” Lorand proclaimed in a much-cited pamphlet that drew heavily on Freud. “Cramming sex knowledge down kids’ throats does not promote healthy growth.” (Lorand neglected to note that Freud himself supported sex education in schools, ridiculing “the customary concealment from children of everything connected with sex.”) Critics also claimed that sex educators suffered from “neurosis,” another Freudian term that had entered the vernacular. “Now you want us to believe that these neurotic [sex educators] should teach our kids about Sex?” an Oregon activist asked. “Well there are Psychiatrists of a different opinion and I will continue to listen to them.”33

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As in the controversy over the medical consequences of masturbation, however, most sex education opponents ignored these abstract, theoretical debates. In the final analysis, they argued, only one arbiter really mattered: the parent. “The basic issue at stake [is] USURPATION OF PARENTAL AUTHORITY,” a Californian blared. “This is the real cause of the so-called generation gap.” Across the country, shocked parents reported that sex education interfered with their own efforts to instill modesty and chastity. In Illinois a ten-year-old boy announced over dinner that he “had a good time discussing the penis in school today”; in California a second-grader dissected his breakfast egg “to find the thing the rooster put through the hen to make the egg fertile”; in New York a mother complained that her seven-year-old son asked his grandmother to lift her skirts so he could see her vagina—a term he had learned in school. “There was never any kind of talk like this or anything even near it when I was growing up,” the despondent mother wrote to Mary Calderone. “I’m beginning to think that we just don’t have much say for OUR childrens education or life anymore no matter how hard we try to bring them up decently.”34 Apocryphal or not, such anecdotes accurately captured the moral challenge that sex education posed to parental control. Sex educators did believe that “most parents” were “reluctant” or “unqualified” to teach their children about sex, as one supporter noted in 1969; the entire subject, she admitted, rested on that very premise. Like Calderone’s New York correspondent, some dejected foes simply conceded that schools would supplant their authority in this area. But others resolved to seize back their God-given rights. “Ever Hear of ‘Parent Power’?” one critic wrote to Calderone in March 1969. “You Will!” In Portland, Oregon, members of the National Parents’ League picketed a Calderone speech; near Buffalo, New York, the newly formed “Parents of New York United” urged citizens to “CHALLENGE YOUR PTA AND YOUR SCHOOL BOARD” on sex education; and across the state in Schenectady, members of Citizens for Parental Rights argued that taxpayers should not have to subsidize such “poison” for their children. “Hell hath no fury like a parent scorned, and you perverts have not heard the last from me,” threatened a Michigan critic in a let-

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ter to SIECUS’s board of directors. “Where the morals, religion, and upbringing of my children is concerned, I will fight you to the death.”35 Many of the same Americans who fought sex education also deplored the removal of prayer from the schools. Like the Supreme Court’s ban on prayer, they claimed, sex education demonstrated the overall degeneracy of the schools as well as educators’ hostility toward the Christian faith. “The schools got into trouble when they took God out and put sex in,” thundered the evangelist Billy Graham in an oftquoted address in 1969. In each case, it seemed, citizens were forced to subsidize an initiative that ran directly counter to their spiritual beliefs. “Why must I as a taxpayer give money to a school system that is not allowed to teach about God,” a Michigan mother asked, “but is allowed to teach, instruct, show filthy literature and movies on sex, family planning, sensitivity programs, etc.?” Both sex education and the ban on school prayer, a New York critic explained, violated a basic American freedom: the right of parents to transmit their religious values to their young. “My children belong to me,” she insisted, “and I do not want the school involved in teaching [a] moral and religious subject.”36 As other sex education critics quickly recognized, though, this argument almost exactly echoed the case against school prayer. According to prayer opponents, any classroom devotions would violate the rights of religious minorities—or of atheists—to uphold and transmit their own beliefs. Even as they condemned the prayer ban for “secularizing” education, critics often summoned that very principle to censure sex education. “If the teaching of religion is such an infringement on the rights of the individual, so, then, is the teaching of sex,” declared one upstate New York citizen. As “a Christian thinking parent,” she added, she certainly deplored the removal of prayer from the classroom. But now that the courts had barred religious instruction, any presentation of sexual issues was bound to occur within a materialist, “anti-religious” framework. “The government and the people have taken God out and Prayer out of the schools and now they want to teach sex . . . without the Book that invented or started sex,” a Michigan couple complained. Better to bar all mention of the subject than to subject all children to a “secular” view of it.37

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Nor would it suffice to excuse objecting families from sex education, as school officials frequently ordered. Here, too, sex education critics explicitly invoked the campaign against prayer and other religious exercises. “In the controversy over voluntary Bible reading in the schools we were told that it would do grave psychological harm to children if they were excused . . . for they would be set off from the other students and that would constitute punishment,” a minister noted. “Now we are told that sex education is somehow different. We may excuse our children, but the program will continue.” In fact, critics claimed, children who refused to take sex education faced far greater social censure than those who declined to pray. Given the rebellious spirit infecting many high schools, protesters against prayer might well win popular acclaim from their peers; but students boycotting sex education would simply be dismissed as “squares,” prudish retrogrades whom the sexual revolution had left behind. In elementary schools, meanwhile, any exclusion—from prayer or sex education—could traumatize young minds. In a large California district, for example, students whose parents objected to sex education were sent to a study room or to the principal’s office. One of these children spent the entire class period in tears, his mother reported, convinced that his removal implied some form of reproach.38 Thirteen years later, in February 1982, a group called the Coalition of Concerned Parents brought suit against a state-mandated sex education curriculum in New Jersey. Like earlier critics, the CCP attorney Joseph Shanahan appealed to the Supreme Court’s bans on prayer and Bible reading: if spiritual exercises violated dissenters’ freedom of religion, surely sex education did the same. But Shanahan also cited the Court’s more recent ruling on abortion, Roe v. Wade, which ordained a constitutional “right to privacy.” Just as prohibitions on abortions violated a woman’s right to privacy, Shanahan argued, so did the state’s sex education program inhibit a similar right between parents and children. “When you make a sword,” he said, summarizing his strategy, “expect it to be used against you.” Well into the 1980s, it seemed, sex education’s right-wing foes were hoisting liberals on their own petard.39

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Sex Education in the 1980s Like the school prayer battle, the struggle over sex education cooled in the 1970s. By 1978 nearly half of American pupils reported that they had studied the subject. And a growing fraction of schools addressed the so-called Big Four topics of sexual controversy: masturbation, homosexuality, contraception, and abortion. Some curricula and textbooks deemed masturbation “an acceptable way to relax” or even a safe alternative to intercourse; some schools showed films describing homosexuality as normal. Many of these materials aimed explicitly at provoking student “discussion,” a hallmark of the “new” sex education. Students in Richmond, Virginia, simulated a visit to Planned Parenthood, including a role-play pelvic exam in which male students placed their feet in stirrups; in Minneapolis they stood on a “Values Continuum” line representing their reactions to remarks like “young teenage women don’t like sex”; and across the country girls carried an egg for a week to experience the responsibilities—and the difficulties—of young parenthood.40 Indeed, the issue of teen pregnancy played a key role in sex education’s overall expansion in the 1970s. Contrary to many popular perceptions, the birth rate for teen women nearly halved from 1960 to 1975. But the widespread fear of an “epidemic” of teen pregnancy sparked a new infusion of funds for sex education, most notably from the federal government. Under the Adolescent Health, Services, and Pregnancy Prevention and Care Act of 1978, school districts could receive federal grants to develop sex education programs that provided birth control counseling. Two years later New Jersey became the first state to require sex education (as opposed to health instruction) in all of its public schools. Proponents played heavily on the rise of illegitimate births in the state, especially to teenage girls. They also emphasized the overwhelming support for “preventive” sex education among teens themselves, both in New Jersey and across America. “Maybe I’m in the ‘Immoral Minority,’” quipped a teenager in Pittsburgh, “but I’d rather be informed than a FATHER.”41 The teenager’s comment alluded to the Moral Majority, the brain

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child of the preacher Jerry Falwell and the best-known component of the so-called New Christian Right. In 1980, just a year after its founding, the Moral Majority sued the Washington State Library in an attempt to learn which schools had borrowed a controversial sex education film. The following year the group was selected to rebut Mary Calderone in a much-discussed episode of the popular television show 60 Minutes. Nearly eighty years old, the spry Calderone continued to insist that sex education sought to stem—not to encourage—premarital intercourse. Nonsense, replied Moral Majority vice-president Cal Thomas. Sex education in America resembled a driving teacher who announced to children, “Here is the wheel, here are the keys, here is the accelerator, but forget the brake, and for Heaven’s sake, don’t use reverse gear,” Thomas told 60 Minutes. Whatever its apologists said, in short, sex education encouraged youngsters to have sex—an act that true Christians reserved for marriage. “We are simply and fundamentally—if I may use that word—involved in a battle for the hearts and the minds of the American people,” Thomas concluded.42 Hundreds of other organizations joined in the attack. As Thomas’s pun implied, many sex education opponents belonged to fundamentalist Protestant churches. But many others were Catholics, who joined with conservative Protestants to fight sex education just as they had united in the struggle for school prayer. As in the prayer dispute, moreover, Catholics often found themselves at odds with their own leaders. To the alarm of many parishioners, for example, New Jersey’s Catholic Conference supported the state’s 1980 sex education mandate. “It is almost impossible for those of us who are Catholic to get any input even with our own Bishops,” one worshipper complained. “This is a tragedy.” Several lay Catholics wrote letters to the Pope, condemning their conference’s position on sex education and pleading with the Vatican to intervene. Others flooded meetings of the state board of education, lest school officials conclude that Catholics stood united on the subject. “The Catholic Conference of New Jersey [has] absolutely no right to represent us,” an angry parishioner told the board. “As a matter of fact, they better get themselves straightened out because they are going definitely against the Catholic faith.”43 The same critics also blasted sex educators’ “non-judgmental” ap-

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proach toward homosexuality, which allegedly undermined “the traditional nuclear family” as well as the word of God. Ironically, they noted, New Jersey’s sex education mandate was known as “family life” instruction. “We keep talking about family life, family life, family life,” a grandmother complained. “There is no way you’re going to teach [my] grandchild that homosexuals make a family. The sin of homosexuality is forbidden.” Some opponents even suggested that classroom discussion of masturbation indirectly encouraged sexual abuse of children. After all, they reasoned, masturbation in childhood implied that the child was a sexual being. Sexual predators shared—and acted upon— this warped perspective. Here critics especially targeted the popular feminist health book Our Bodies, Ourselves, which was used as a reference text in a few school districts. By “normalizing” masturbation as well as homosexuality, foes alleged, the book also encouraged “public acceptance of pedophilia.”44 Most important, critics now charged that sex education—formerly viewed as an enemy of religion—actually conveyed a religion of its own: “secular humanism.” The charge dated to the 1960s, when a handful of opponents said that sex education reflected a “humanist” faith that elevated man over God.45 By the early 1980s New Right groups like the Moral Majority had brought this argument into the popular lexicon. “Secular humanism . . . is an aggressive atheism which denies God, denies life after death, and shuns all moral absolutes,” wrote one New Jersey activist. Moreover, she added, sex education was “the major transmission belt” for this religion in American schools. Just a few years earlier, she pointed out, Mary Calderone had received the “Humanist of the Year” Award from the American Humanist Association. But the real proof of “humanist indoctrination” lay in sex education curricula themselves, which consistently supplanted God’s word with “godless ethics.” In short, critics concluded, sex education violated the First Amendment’s ban on the establishment of religion. Humanism was a religion, and sex education foisted it upon the public schools.46 Two very different corollaries flowed from this argument. Since humanism had already penetrated the public schools, some critics argued, their own religion should receive “equal time.” Like advocates of school prayer and creationism, opponents of sex education often echoed the

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neutral, “impartial” cadences of liberal pluralism. “If we are to educate the whole child, practice democracy, stimulate critical thinking, then both sides of an issue must be presented,” asserted one critic, demanding a “God-centered” perspective to complement the “humanist” faith. “Permitting one over the other is alien to everything a democratic society represents.” To other activists, however, this very attempt to satisfy “both sides” reflected the loose, “situational” ethics of the humanist foe. “How can we give our children answers that we as a society are still in the process of arriving at?” asked another opponent of sex education. “Let’s stick to things we do know about: reading, writing, arithmetic, the basics.” Better to avoid the subject altogether than to confuse children with mixed, incoherent messages about morality and sexuality.47 By the mid-1980s conservatives began to formulate a third position. Rather than teaching “both sides” of sexual issues or eliminating them from the curriculum, they argued, schools should provide an entirely new brand of sex education with a single, unambiguous message: abstinence. Following their sweep of Congress and the White House in the 1980 elections, Republicans in Washington had required that federally funded sex education programs emphasize “self-discipline and responsibility in sexuality.” But such programs did not become common at local levels until 1985 and 1986, thanks to the first stirrings of a new sexual crisis: AIDS. Conservatives were shocked when Surgeon General C. Everett Koop demanded broader sex education—including instruction about condoms—to fight the spread of the disease. Asked at a press conference in 1986 when such education should begin, Koop responded, “at the earliest age possible”; pressed to be more specific, he blurted, “third grade.” Across the Christian Right, critics blasted Koop—a staunchly “pro-life” conservative—for his apostasy on sex education. According to the fundraiser Richard Viguerie, the surgeon general was “proposing instruction in buggery”; to Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime critic of sex education, Koop’s report appeared to have been “edited by the Gay Task Force.”48 Yet given the obvious threat of AIDS, even Schlafly could no longer oppose all forms of sex education. Instead, like other conservatives, she began to advocate “abstinence only” curricula. The same year as Koop’s comments on AIDS, Christian Right activists started to tout

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a federally funded program called “Sex Respect”; six years after that, roughly 1,600 school districts had adopted it. In marked contrast to the surgeon general, “Sex Respect” made no mention of contraception. Instead, it focused obsessively on the supposed perils of even the “safest” premarital sex. “Schools ought to teach that the consequences of sex fall twice as heavily on girls as on boys,” Schlafly declared, in support of the abstinence-only approach. “Little girls ought to be taught about . . . the side effects of contraceptives, of abortion and its trauma, venereal diseases, the poverty, the cervical cancer, the emotional and psychological trauma.”49 In at least one suburban New York district, meanwhile, schools offered students a choice between “mainstream” sex education and a new abstinence-only curriculum. But such compromises were rare on the issue of sex education, which polarized Americans for the better part of two decades. “I think this country is very deeply split over morality,” a California teenager observed in 1968. “What some parents consider an outrage seems rather tame, even quaint, to younger, more liberal parents.” Twenty years later Americans were no closer to reaching an accord on the question; by some measures, indeed, they were much farther apart. Designed to elicit discussion of Americans’ “values,” sex education would remind Americans how sharply—and, it seemed, how irrevocably—these values clashed.50

PART 3 FROM RELIGION TO HISTORY In 2017, the man who discovered culture wars—as one newspaper account called him—published an op-ed column about the recent white supremacist rally in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. Like so many other Americans, James Davison Hunter was appalled by the specter of robe-clad protesters chanting “Jews will not replace us” and defending memorials to Confederate leaders. But he was not surprised. Since the publication of his 1991 book on the topic, America’s culture wars had changed. As gaps in educational and economic opportunity widened, Hunter observed, cultural conflict increasingly coalesced around class and race rather than religion. College-educated elites united with racial minorities against lower-middle-class and workingclass whites, who found themselves ridiculed as bigots. So they lashed back, prodded by a pugnacious right-wing media that targeted “open borders,” “political correctness,” and other perceived threats to their dignity and lifestyle. “Where the culture wars of the last several decades were fought over sexuality, religion, and family,” Hunter wrote, “today’s

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culture wars offer a new set of cultural battles linked with shifting economic circumstances, including globalization, immigration, and the changing boundaries of legitimate pluralism.”1 As Hunter added, taking note of the debate over Confederate memorials, “history has long been a source of conflict in the culture wars.” But it has taken on much greater force in recent years, especially in our public schools. Writing the first edition of this book in the late 1990s, I described an uneasy truce over history and an ongoing struggle over religiously inflected issues like Bible instruction, school prayer, and sex education. Across the twentieth century, the history wars were restrained—if never resolved—by a steady addition of new figures to the national story: everyone could win their place in the narrative, so long as no one questioned the overall themes of freedom and progress that united them. Different faith-based claims couldn’t be integrated so easily, however, because they were often mutually incompatible. Either you needed Jesus to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, or you didn’t; either sex outside of marriage was a sin, or it wasn’t.2 But in the two decades since, conflicts over religion and history inverted themselves. The religion wars waned—thanks in part to a mass exodus of Christian conservatives from the public schools—while the history wars flared as never before. Instead of simply bringing new actors into the old triumphal story, history curricula increasingly asked whether the story was a triumph and, if so, for whom. Such conflicts came into nationwide focus with the election of Donald Trump, who defended Confederate monuments and denounced the New York Times’ 1619 Project. Near the end of his presidency, he also pledged to counter the Times’ project—which dated America’s real founding to the arrival of enslaved Africans on its shores—with a “1776 Commission” to rejuvenate the old patriotic truths. Widely ridiculed in the press and in academia, Trump’s effort actually demonstrated the depth of the challenge facing America’s traditional story of liberty and justice for all. Everywhere you looked, it seemed, new questions arose about the meaning and purpose of the nation. This wasn’t just a matter of what kind of history instruction Thomas Jefferson would have liked, as a teacher defending the national history standards in 1995 wrote. It was instead a question of whether we should instruct students to like

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Jefferson, a man who enslaved human beings and fathered children by one of them. Was he a hero? A knave? Both? Neither? Nobody could be sure, at least not anymore. Nor was it clear whether students would actually encounter these questions in their classrooms. Like most previous culture wars, the newly heated conflict over history flared mainly outside of the schools rather than inside of them. Indeed, most American students probably did not encounter the conflict at all; they instead received a single approved story, reflecting the politics of their particular schools and communities. This is the heart of the problem, from our earliest curriculum battles right into the present. Addressing a group of educators in New York in October 1963, James Baldwin urged them to provide an honest account of slavery and racism in schools. But he also warned against indoctrinating students—about anything. “The purpose of education, finally, is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions, to say to himself this is black or this is white, to decide for himself whether there is a God in heaven or not,” Baldwin declared. “To ask questions of the universe, and then to learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity.” Yet as Baldwin also acknowledged, “no society is really anxious to have that kind of person around.”3 The new history wars created an unprecedented opportunity to educate future citizens, in exactly the ways that James Baldwin wanted. Now Americans must decide if they want to nurture and support that kind of person in our schools and what they are willing to do to make it happen.



“School curriculum fights increasingly put children in culture war crossfire.” So declared the Associated Press in early 2005, joining a score of similarly ominous headlines that winter. George W. Bush had just been reelected to a second term, reportedly propelled to victory by evangelical Christians and other so-called values voters who worried more about abortion and gay marriage than taxes and Social Security. In the schools, newly energized conservatives mobilized for prayer and Bible classes and against sex education and evolution instruction. “The battle over religion in public life has found especially fertile ground in the nation’s schools,” wrote one journalist. “The public classroom has become a major battlefield where conflicting visions of America clash.” Other worried observers trotted out George Washington’s warning that religious conflicts are “productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatred than those which spring from any other cause.” Questions of faith involved absolute commitments, a Pennsylvania educator told his local paper, so they did not lend themselves to compromise. “There is no victor in these battles, only temporary winners and losers who will rise out of the trenches for battle on another front or on another day,” he predicted.1 A decade later, American schools remained hotbeds of controversy and contention. But the wars over religious practice and instruction mostly cooled, replaced by heated skirmishes over what to teach about America itself. Some of this debate focused on the country’s religious identity, asking whether it was a “Christian nation” and where other

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faiths—especially Islam—fit within that formulation. Other conflicts arose from new ethnic studies courses: did they spawn racial divisiveness, as opponents said, or provide new pride and motivation for racial minorities? As in prior eras, meanwhile, critics worried that teaching too much “negative” information about America would turn young people against it. These concerns made national headlines with the 2014 revision of the U.S. Advanced Placement History framework, the closest thing we have to a shared history curriculum. Reducing coverage of the Founding Fathers and other heroic figures, the new framework added material about slavery, imperialism, and struggles for racial equality. That was too much for conservative state lawmakers— who moved to cut budgets for the A.P. course—and also for GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson, who provided a memorably hyperbolic sound bite against it. “Most people when they finish that course, they’d be ready to go sign up for ISIS,” Carson warned, referring to the Islamic State enemy that America was fighting in the Middle East.2 Carson would go on to serve in the cabinet of Donald J. Trump, whose 2016 election marked a stark new chapter in America’s culture wars over public schools. Controversies around prayer and Bible instruction continued their steady decline, despite Trump’s strong showing among the evangelical constituencies who had long supported religious practices in schools. But the history wars raged as never before. A white supremacist march in 2017 to defend a Confederate memorial in Charlottesville, Virginia, focused new public attention on the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow; so did the 2020 police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American, which triggered protests for racial justice across the country. In the schools, meanwhile, activists and educators pressed for renewed attention to these issues and—most of all—for a radical reassessment of the nation, writ large. Prior campaigns to alter history instruction had sought the inclusion of new figures and voices, who were then typically folded into the traditional narrative of American progress and freedom. The Trump era brought unprecedented challenges to that optimistic story, culminating in the New York Times’ 1619 Project. Reframing American history around the birth of slavery, not of freedom, the project found its way into thousands of classrooms. It also triggered a sharp backlash, led by the president

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himself, who appointed an ostensibly more patriotic “1776 Commission.” The man who began his quest for the White House with the promise to “Make America Great Again” left amid a fiery debate over what America meant. To be sure, local schools still encountered scattered disputes over prayer at football games and graduations; likewise, sex education remained bitterly contested in some parts of the country. But the battle over sex education lost the hard religious edge that had permeated it in prior generations: critics typically denounced new lessons about gender identity and sexual consent as assaults on parental rights, not as sins before God. Others simply withdrew their children from public schools, sensing correctly that the Right was losing the culture wars over religion. But even evangelicals who homeschooled their kids or enrolled them in Christian academies continued to clamor for “patriotic” curricula in taxpayer-supported schools, where the story of America was up for grabs as never before. “Americans are living in an era when efforts to forge a new national identity [are] directly confronting deeply entrenched national myths,” left-wing historian Peniel Joseph wrote in 2020. “The culture wars of the 21st century . . . [are] centered around public interpretations of history.” From the other side of the political aisle, Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger agreed. Contemporary culture wars focused less on religion and more on racism, criminal justice, and “novel interpretations of America’s founding history,” he observed. “The left canceled Francis Scott Key, so the Republicans did Star-Spangled-Banner patriotism,” Henninger added, referring to the slave-owning author of the national anthem and efforts to remove statues in his honor. The big question was who would compose the next hymn to America, and whether we could share a single song—or story—at all.3

9/11 and After On September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush was reading a book to children at a Florida elementary school when he learned that terrorists had attacked the World Trade Center in New York City. Bush was on a tour to promote his signature education reform, No Child Left

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Behind, which required states to test children annually and to reward or penalize schools based on the results. Signed into law in January 2002, the measure accelerated the drive for standards and accountability across American education. Over the next few years, as 9/11 entered the rearview mirror of history, states would revise their curricula to address the tragedy. In its immediate wake, however, school districts had to decide how to tackle it on their own. One slight exception was Nebraska, where the state board of education revived a 1949 law requiring schools to teach “patriotic songs,” “reverence for the flag,” and “the dangers of Communism.” But most communities hardly needed prodding to promote patriotism, which exploded across America in the wake of the attacks. One survey found that 90 percent of respondents felt “proud to be an American,” to quote a 1984 hit country music song that was rereleased after 9/11. Schools more commonly led renditions of “God Bless America,” which became a de facto national anthem in its own right. News reports described children singing it and waving flags, often attired in red, white, and blue.4 But even in times of apparent national unity, discord was never far from the surface. Although few objected to the singing of “God Bless America,” some parents—joined by the American Civil Liberties Union—balked when that motto appeared on signs in front of their schools. Others opposed the Pledge of Allegiance, which New York City schools started reciting in October 2001 “to thank the heroes of 9/11,” as the school board president explained. Under court doctrine dating to the 1940s, no student was compelled to participate. But in an echo of the conservative case against sex education, critics worried that students who opted out would be stigmatized by their peers. Others denounced the phrase “under God,” which had been added to the pledge in 1954. A federal circuit court in California barred the pledge from schools, ruling that it represented an unconstitutional state endorsement of religion. The decision sparked immediate outrage across the country and a rare unanimous condemnation from the U.S. Senate. To register their own objections, dozens of members of the House of Representatives gathered on the Capitol steps to recite the pledge; for good measure, they also belted out a rousing rendition of “God Bless America.” When the pledge ban was reversed two years later by the

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Supreme Court, no one was surprised. The Pledge of Allegiance was part of “the culture and values that we hold in America,” as one senator put it. The 9/11 attacks simply solidified its hold on the nation.5 There was more contention about the September 11 events themselves—why they occurred, and what America should do in response—than there was about the rituals for commemorating them. That was already apparent by the first anniversary of the attacks, which “set off the latest skirmish in the classroom culture wars,” as one journalist observed. Since textbooks had not yet been revised to include 9/11, teachers relied on websites and lessons created by educational groups and other nonprofit organizations. Inevitably, these materials reflected the politics and priorities of their producers. The National Education Association, America’s largest teachers’ union, urged history teachers to address America’s Mideast policies and how they motivated the attack; it also stressed the need to teach tolerance toward Muslim Americans, who faced a spate of hate crimes in the aftermath of 9/11. Such suggestions sparked a recoil from conservatives like former U.S. secretary of education William Bennett, who railed against “moral equivalence” and “political correctness” in American classrooms. “We are not hated because we support Israel; we are hated because liberal democracy is incompatible with militant Islam,” Bennett insisted. Instead of spreading “the usual pap about diversity,” he added, schools should teach “moral clarity”: America was good, and its extremist Islamic foes were evil.6 From there, it was but a short step to claiming that Islam itself was evil. Despite Bush’s high-profile visit to a Washington, D.C., mosque after 9/11, where he warned against blaming the religion as a whole for the attacks, growing numbers of Americans did precisely that. They were spurred on by evangelical leaders like Franklin Graham, who flatly denounced Islam as “a wicked and evil religion.” Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell called the Prophet Muhammad a “terrorist”; to televangelist Pat Robertson, Muslims were “worse than the Nazis.” Beyond these conservative Christian precincts, broader public opinion reflected a growing unease with Islam. Shortly after 9/11, 25 percent of poll respondents agreed with the statement, “Islam is more likely to encourage violence”; by July 2004, 46 percent agreed. In response, edu-

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cators and activists urged schools to provide more information about Islam via courses on world religions, which mushroomed after 9/11. Attention focused especially on Modesto, California, which in 2000 had become the first school system to require a course on world religions for all students. Although other districts rarely passed such mandates, they added material on the topic to their social studies and language arts curricula. “It is no longer a question of whether schools should teach children about Islam,” declared a guide for educators. “They must teach them—and about other religions as well.”7

Religion and Schools in the Bush Years But there was always a thin line between teaching about religion and proselytizing on its behalf. The early 2000s also witnessed a spike in elective Bible classes, which often crossed that line. Arising in the wake of the 1963 Schempp decision, which barred devotional readings from the Bible, these classes had enjoyed a burst of popularity in the 1960s among conservative Christians who openly aimed to continue religious practices in schools. Bible classes declined after that—in part because of challenges from civil libertarians—but revived during the presidency of George W. Bush, a born-again Christian who repeatedly cited the Bible, God, and Jesus Christ in his public pronouncements. (When asked if he had consulted his father before deciding to invade Iraq in 2003, Bush famously replied that he had appealed to a “higher Father” than former president George H. W. Bush.) Evangelicals were inspired by Bush’s devout displays of faith and especially by his reelection victory in 2004, when—unlike his 2000 contest against Al Gore—he won more popular votes than his Democratic opponent, John Kerry. The quest for Bible courses picked up steam during Bush’s second term, when nine states considered laws to encourage such classes and three states passed them. The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS) reported that the number of districts teaching courses with its material rose from 294 in 2005 to 475 in 2009, when Bush left the White House. Its main competitor, the Bible Literacy Project (BLP), expanded from 88 to 282 districts in the last two years of Bush’s presidency alone.8

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The differences in the two curricula spoke to larger divisions in American religion and politics. As one newspaper headline noted, the BLP aimed to “circumvent the culture war” by avoiding sectarian claims: analyzing the Bible as a literary and historical artifact, it won endorsements from liberal organizations like the American Federation of Teachers, the Council on Islamic Education, and People for the American Way. But most evangelical Christians favored the NCBCPS, which taught a conservative Protestant worldview under the guise of history and science. One lesson cited a NASA study indicating that the Earth had stopped twice in its orbit, which allegedly supported the Bible’s claim that the sun had stood still on Joshua’s command; other passages asserted that the United States had been founded as a “Christian nation,” which would become a centerpiece of evangelical doctrine in the ensuing decade. Examining twenty-five Texas school districts that had offered Bible classes between 2001 and 2006, religious historian Mark Chancey found that only three of these courses “could be reasonably described as nonsectarian.” Regular school personnel taught the courses in twenty of the twenty-five districts, but only five of those instructors had taken any university-level courses in Biblical or religious studies; when asked about teachers’ qualifications, districts typically cited the instructors’ experience teaching Sunday school. All but one of the remaining Bible courses were taught by local Protestant ministers from conservative churches.9 Predictably, these courses came under fire in Texas and—eventually— around the country. The first controversy centered upon the small town of Brady, which called itself the “Heart of Texas” thanks to its proximity to the geographic center of the state. It also proudly showcased its NCBCPS Bible course, which it advertised to other districts that might wish to adopt it. That caught the eye of the Texas Freedom Network (TFN), an organization dedicated to church-state separation, which commissioned Mark Chancey to write a detailed report on the Brady course. Chancey found that the curriculum approached the Bible as “an inspired book and as literal history.” That was perfectly fine by Brady’s mayor, who replied that the schools “couldn’t teach too much of the Good Book”; meanwhile, a county judge charged that the TFN report was “the work of anti-religious outsiders, bent on imposing their views

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on a God-fearing public.” The local school superintendent admitted that he hadn’t read Chancey’s report, and that he was in “no hurry” to do so. “We don’t have a problem,” he categorically declared. “There’s nothing to correct.” But when the larger and more religiously diverse Texas city of Odessa adopted a Bible elective in 2005 inspired by the Brady curriculum, eight citizens sued the district on the grounds that the course aimed to promote a particular faith. Rather than fight the suit, Odessa agreed to drop the curriculum. Widely reported in the national press, the Texas dustups served notice that Bible courses could not run roughshod over the First Amendment’s ban on establishing religion.10 So did several highly publicized battles over school-sponsored prayer, which had continued in many districts despite the Supreme Court’s 1962 ban on it. In Hardesty, Oklahoma, a self-described atheist was kicked off her high school basketball team in 2005 after refusing to join a post-game prayer circle with her teammates. Her father confronted the school principal at his house, where the two came to blows; acquitted of assault, the father sued the school district. Likewise, Jews in rural areas still struggled with school-sanctioned Christian prayers and—especially—with how to respond. For years, Jewish parent Mona Dobrich bit her tongue when officials led prayers at school events in her small Delaware town. But after a minister at her daughter’s 2004 high school graduation described Jesus Christ as “the only way to truth,” Dobrich complained to the school board—and triggered an angry backlash. “Stop interfering with our traditions, stop interfering with our faith and leave our country the way we knew it to be,” a local talk radio host thundered. Fearing for her safety, Dobrich moved with her children out of town. She also joined in a lawsuit with a second family—known only as “the Does,” to protect their anonymity— against the district, eventually winning monetary damages. Meanwhile, several national evangelical leaders announced that they had reversed their former commitment to school-led prayer. According to Frances Fitzgerald, a prominent chronicler of modern evangelicalism, the prayer issue was “essentially dead” by 2007. One well-known conservative minister told her that the majority had no right to impose its faith on the minority, sounding every bit like liberals who had long contested school prayer.11

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Some conservative Protestants tried to invoke a similarly liberal spirit in the still-simmering debate on evolution instruction, insisting that it should not be presented as unalloyed truth; schools should also allow alternatives like the theory of “intelligent design,” which claims that the scientific record suggests a divine Creator. Inspired again by George W. Bush, who endorsed the teaching of intelligent design (ID) alongside evolution, conservatives converged on state school boards and legislatures to press for this “both-sides” approach. Thirty-one states witnessed seventy-eight different clashes by late summer in 2005 over evolution instruction, which one journalist called the “biggest battlefield in a spreading culture war.” But here, too, court challenges and changing public sentiment would spell defeat for the Christian Right. In December 2005, a conservative federal judge appointed by Ronald Reagan ruled that intelligent design aimed to promote religion and hence did not belong in the public school science classrooms of Dover, Pennsylvania, which had included ID as a competing theory. Advocates for ID promised to fight another day, predicting that the Dover decision would rally their troops. Instead, the issue waned. Ohio’s state board of education removed critiques of evolution from its science curriculum in February 2006, signaling what one observer called a “reversal of the national culture war” on the subject. Most importantly, younger evangelicals steadily abandoned the hard edge that had marked their forebears on questions like school prayer and evolution, as a Florida religion reporter observed. “Suburban families trying to get their kids into college didn’t believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old,” he wrote. And even if they did, they weren’t willing to put their necks out for it if that might hold their kids back.12

Worshipping the Nation The election of Barack Obama in 2008 was a watershed in American history, and also in the history of its culture wars, as America’s first Black president ushered in new anxieties about national identity. For many whites, Obama symbolized the loss of their majority status and their historic dominance in defining America itself. Between 1990 and 2007, the year before Obama was elected, the number of Hispanics in

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the country doubled from twenty-two to forty-four million. Hispanics made up nearly 20 percent of the nation and fully half of its new citizens, generating calls for a border wall with Mexico and worries that the United States was relinquishing its “traditional” character. “Look at the latest census figures and you begin to understand why America’s next ‘culture wars’ will not be about homosexuality or abortion, as they were in the 1990s, but about ethnicity,” a British observer wrote in 2007, reporting on death threats received by a Dallas restaurant that accepted Mexican pesos as a promotional stunt. And in 2013, as Obama started his second term, America passed another demographic milestone: for the first time since the colonial era, Protestants made up less than half of the population. “I want my country back!” a Massachusetts man told researchers in 2010. “We need to take our country back,” a Virginia woman added the following year.13 Both speakers hailed from the Tea Party, which burst across the political landscape as Obama entered office. Initially founded to target federal mortgage aid, which supposedly bailed out “loser” homeowners during the Great Recession of 2008–9, the Tea Party also blasted Obama’s signature health care plan and anything else that seemed to assist minorities, immigrants, and the poor. Almost entirely white, its members feared “losing the nation they love, the country they planned to leave to their children and grandchildren,” as one Tea Party leader explained. So they looked backward, choosing a name from history that signified both patriotism and resistance to corrupt authority. When Fox News host Glenn Beck launched “Founders’ Fridays” in 2010, the first episode featured the leader of the original Tea Party: Sam Adams. “Our Founding Fathers were once revered in this country as divinely inspired, courageous visionaries,” Beck told his television audience. “But now, after the past one hundred years of ‘enlightenment,’ we’ve come to realize that they were nothing but old, white, racist, heathens.” To “restore the country,” Beck concluded, “we have to restore the men who founded it.” He even outfitted his studio with a blackboard and old-fashioned oak chairs and desks, conjuring the one-room schoolhouse of yesteryear.14 Out in the real schools, meanwhile, conservatives started to mount new efforts on behalf of patriotic history. Echoing Beck’s emphasis on

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divine inspiration, they often stressed the Christian character of the Founding Fathers and of the nation itself. For white evangelicals especially, the history campaign was a way to defend “their” America from the demographic trends that seemed to be overwhelming it. It also allowed them to assert Christian claims about the country following their defeats on evolution, school prayer, and Bible instruction. The first big push to change history in the Obama years came after Texas’s State Board of Education (SBOE) had voted down a 2009 proposal requiring science teachers to examine “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution, a clear blow to Christian conservatives. But the following year, these same conservatives prevailed upon the SBOE to emphasize the religious roots of the United States in Texas’s social studies standards. Most notoriously, the new standards removed Thomas Jefferson’s famous statement about the “wall of separation” between church and state; they also added new material about Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin, whose theological writings supposedly inspired the founders and demonstrated that their new nation was a Christian one. In these formulations, history became a kind of religion in its own right: it allowed conservative Protestants to transmit Christian doctrine into the schools without requiring direct worship of Christ. “We’re in an allout moral and spiritual war for the soul of America, and the record of American history is right at the heart of it,” explained Peter Marshall, a minister who testified on behalf of the revised Texas standards. Disputes over religious practices were pretty much over, but the history war over religion was just getting started.15 Texas was “ground zero” in the struggle, as one reporter wrote. Part of the reason lay in its statewide textbook adoption system, which gave the state an outsized influence over the national market: lest they lose a lucrative contract from the Lone Star State, publishers frequently tailored their wares to its whims. So activists from around the country descended on Austin. Open to the public, the SBOE’s 2010 meeting about social studies standards assumed a circus-like atmosphere: viewers packed the seats and aisles, while television vans took up positions outside and the national press ran breathless stories about the great Texas standards showdown. On one side: conservatives, aiming to insert God into the history curriculum. On the other: liberals, warn-

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ing about distortions that privileged one faith group over others. The dichotomy papered over differences on the Right, where fiscal conservatives sometimes joined liberals in denouncing efforts to “Christianize” American history. More broadly, the obsession with Texas blinded Americans to similar movements in other states. In Georgia and Tennessee, Tea Party groups demanded that textbooks excise passages about the Founding Fathers as slaveholders; in Minnesota, conservatives charged that a proposed revision of social studies standards promoted “an ‘America the Ugly’ narrative,” giving too much attention to slavery and Native American displacement; and in North Carolina, Republicans pressed for a new history curriculum that emphasized “American exceptionalism,” which became a GOP rallying cry around the country. “The worst day in America beats the best day in any other country,” one Tea Party adherent told a crowd outside the Texas SBOE, capturing the conservative mood.16 As these examples attest, campaigns to revise standards and textbooks went far beyond the question of religion in American history. Once the nation had been rendered divine, or at least inviolate, any criticism of it became suspect. So in 2010, besides adding material about the Founding Fathers and faith, the Texas SBOE replaced the term “imperialism”—in describing America’s acquisition of overseas territories—with the more innocuous word “expansionism.” One board member also successfully persuaded the SBOE to insert the phrase “free enterprise system” in the place of “capitalism,” which allegedly had a sinister ring as well. (It was often used by “liberal professors in academia,” the official helpfully explained. “You know, ‘capitalist pig.’”) The 2010 Texas standards inserted new material about Confederate generals and about recent right-wing figures and organizations, including Ronald Reagan, the National Rifle Association, and the Moral Majority. Summarizing the SBOE’s key additions, one skeptical historian derided them as the “three C’s”: Christians, Confederates, and conservatives. The new standards also added several references to the role of “states’ rights” in triggering the Civil War, which distorted the real cause of the conflict: the enslavement of African-Americans. As one historian observed, Texas did not simply import new Confederate heroes into its curriculum. It provided subtle support for Confeder-

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ate history, which cast the white South as an innocent victim of cruel Yankee invaders.17

Islam in the Schools Finally, the Texas SBOE also passed a 2010 resolution denouncing “proIslamic/anti-Christian bias” in social studies textbooks. It cited three instances of books devoting fewer lines of text to “Christian beliefs, practices, and holy writings” than to those of Islam. It also blasted “pejoratives towards Christians and superlatives towards Muslims”: whereas Crusaders were called aggressors and invaders, Muslim conquest was described as “migrations” by “empire builders.” Likewise, textbooks seemed to indict Christians for sexism, slavery, and persecution of nonbelievers but minimized or sugarcoated the same practices by Muslims. Most ominously, the resolution asserted, textbooks “sanitized” jihad—that is, Islamic religious war—and downplayed its role in provoking contemporary terrorism. Indeed, critics around the country charged, lessons of this sort might help spawn a new generation of Islamic jihadists in the United States. “Some students . . . are more susceptible to becoming terrorists because pro-Islamic and anti-Christian biases planted seeds that could be exploited later,” a group calling itself the “Florida Textbook Action Team” warned in 2011, after reviewing several social studies texts. Conservatives also trained their ire on lesson plans released by state education agencies to address these questions, including an exercise asking students whether Revolutionary War patriots might be considered “terrorists” by the British. Blasted on national television by Glenn Beck, the question associated his beloved heroes in the original Tea Party—especially Sam Adams—with the stain of jihad; at the same time, Beck worried, it weakened the moral condemnation that should attach to Islamic terrorists in the present.18 Like the battle over Christianity and the Founding Fathers, this dispute revolved around the depiction of religion—especially in history courses—rather than the practice of it. It was fueled by another burst of anti-Muslim sentiment, which had faded slightly during George W. Bush’s second term but revived with the election of Barack Hussein Obama in 2008. By 2010, 57 percent of Republicans said they suspected

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that Obama—with his strange-sounding name—was a closeted Muslim; that was even more than the fraction who questioned whether he was born in the United States, which stood at 45 percent. The Muslim and “birther” slurs were close cousins, of course, underscoring the allegedly alien, un-American qualities of Obama and Islam alike. They also dovetailed closely with the widespread, unfounded fear that Muslims in the United States were trying to impose Islamic Sharia law, which spawned 120 bills in forty-two state legislatures aimed at preventing that threat. Around the country, meanwhile, conservative parents aimed to purge classrooms—not just textbooks—of any good word about Muslims. In 2013, a Kansas elementary school was forced to take down a bulletin board about the five pillars of Islam after a parent decried its overly positive view; nowhere did it describe “killing infidels,” which she called the sixth pillar of the faith. A photo of the board appeared on the Bare Naked Islam website (tagline: “It isn’t Islamophobia when they really ARE trying to kill you”) and also on the Facebook page of Prepare to Take America Back, an anti-Islam activist group. Satirizing the protests, a cartoon in the Wichita Eagle showed a bulletin board announcing that its display about Islam “has been blocked by a Facebook page.” A boy says that the removal “was caused by a group that says they are ‘taking America back,’” to which a girl replies, “To what century?”19 But it was no joke for American teachers and principals, who often found themselves caught in the cross fire. Angered by the “peaceful” portrayal of Islam in his daughter’s world history textbook, a Maryland ex-marine threatened to “bring down a shit storm” on her school; fearing for the safety of students and teachers, the school issued a notrespass order against him. In Lamberton, Texas, social studies teacher Sharon Peters was widely reviled in 2013 after photos went viral of her students trying on a burka. Peters had been doing a similar lesson for years, without any controversy, as part of her instruction about Islam and the Middle East. But amid growing fears of Muslims, the exercise took on a different meaning. “Their Islam purpose in life is to kill infidels,” a ninety-year-old World War II veteran told the local school board. “How long will it be until little safe Lamberton, Texas wakes

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up and finds a Muslim mosque in their safe little town?” That echoed another common worry around the country during the Obama years, when communities rallied to block the construction or expansion of mosques in over fifty different instances. The “Burkagate” story (as it became known) got picked up by Fox News, which transformed Sharon Peters from a local lightning rod into a national pariah. “Education or Indoctrination?” a Fox broadcaster archly asked. Peters didn’t wait to hear America’s answer. A thirty-nine-year veteran of the profession, she decided to retire rather than continue the fight.20 As Peters’s defenders pointed out, there was a sad irony in the conservative suggestion that she indoctrinated her students. For surely the Right had been attempting exactly that, in its fervent efforts to “take back America” via the schools. Its worship of the Founding Fathers reflected its own kind of pedagogical faith: that if a student was exposed to the writings and speeches of our country’s founders, she would both recognize and revere the “Christian nation” they had created. “When you read these guys, it’s alive,” Glenn Beck told a “Founders’ Fridays” audience in 2010. “It’s like, you know, reading the Scriptures.” Beck even decried the decline of instruction in cursive writing, fearing that students would no longer be able to read the country’s founding documents in their original form. Yet at the same time, the Right’s own rhetoric—and the twisting fate of the history wars themselves— suggested that the past was always subject to interpretation, as well as to politics. “At the end of the day, it boils down to the conflicting viewpoint of ideals,” one conservative Texas SBOE member admitted, during the 2010 battle over standards. “Somebody’s going to win.” Another GOP board member was even more blunt: “History is written by the majority in control.” Four years later, on the eve of another round of proposed revisions to the Texas standards, a third conservative issued a challenge to his liberal foes: if they wanted their views of history to enter state classrooms, they should “put on their big-girl panties and go run for office.” No matter what Glenn Beck said about the timeless truths of the Founding Fathers, history was a moving target. It would be captured by the party with the most power, which in turn allowed that party to narrate the past.21

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Power to the Professors? Taking up the challenge, liberals around the country mobilized against the idea of America as a “Christian nation” and—most of all—as a white one. Reverence of the Founding Fathers inevitably distorted their blind spots and misdeeds, especially surrounding slavery and other forms of racism; it also tended to blot out nonwhite actors, whose stories and struggles undermined comforting myths about America’s divinely appointed benevolence. In the 2010 Texas debates, for example, the white-majority board voted to remove famed Mexican-American labor organizer Dolores Huerta from the curriculum on the grounds that she was a “socialist”; it also replaced artist Santa Barraza—whose painting of a female torso was deemed too risqué—with Tex Avery, director of the iconic (and, critics said, racially insensitive) “Frito Bandito” advertising cartoon. “It is painful to sit here in this board meeting and hear people say America is so great to minorities,” a Hispanic member of the SBOE declared. “You are not a minority in this country!” Likewise, an African-American member said conservatives on the SBOE “want to sanitize anything that may reflect negatively on our country,” especially if it involved the Black experience. Appearing before the board, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People president Benjamin Jealous quoted his elderly mother on the revised standards: “This is taking us in a direction toward the way I was taught in the 1940s.” The board also heard testimony from historian Emilio Zamora, who reported that whites made up 79.4 percent of entries in the new standards. Nearly half of Texas’s public school students were Hispanic, but Hispanics accounted for just 12.4 percent of the total entries. Black entries were even scarcer, at 6.2 percent.22 Zamora’s testimony reflected another important weapon in the history wars: historians themselves. Some of them entered the arena on their own, as they learned about distortions in textbooks and classrooms. In Virginia, for example, William and Mary historian Carol Sheriff complained to her daughter’s school after discovering that its fourth-grade textbook declared that thousands of Blacks fought on behalf of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Pressed about the claim, which had been widely debunked by scholars, the book’s author said

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she drew it from websites that cited “research” by the United Sons of the Confederacy, a majority-white group devoted to burnishing myths about the war. Other historians partnered with left-leaning activist organizations: in Texas, for example, Emilio Zamora and several other local scholars coordinated with the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus—a group of forty-four state legislators—to challenge the SBOE standards. Atop the profession, meanwhile, the Organization of American Historians passed a resolution urging the Texas SBOE to reconsider its revised standards and instead adopt a curriculum “that reflects the understanding of history developed by historians and history teachers of Texas.” In this formulation, history was not simply the spoils of political victory, tilting toward whichever party won the last election. Instead, it was—or should be—the province of trained experts, whose painstaking research provided the most accurate and sophisticated perspectives on the past.23 In a democracy with deep suspicions of elites, however, this conception of history was always a vexed strategy. Why should any group of experts get to determine the entire nation’s story? And what made them experts in the first place? To counter such testimony, conservatives on the Texas SBOE engaged two experts of their own: Peter Marshall and David Barton. They were ministers, not historians, but each had authored books about the American story and God’s hand in shaping it. Marshall traced the country’s divine destiny back to Christopher Columbus, whom God allegedly designated “to raise the curtain on His new Promised Land”; Barton focused on the Founding Fathers, publishing several best-selling books about their purported Biblical vision for America. Possessing only a B.A. degree in Christian Education from Oral Roberts University, Barton had amassed a huge following—and a small fortune—through his daily radio program. He insisted that Scripture provided a guidepost for every social policy, including taxes on income and capital gains. (Both should be abolished, he wrote, because the Bible says, “the more profit you make the more you are rewarded.”) He also denounced the U.S. Senate for inviting a Hindu leader to open its session with a prayer, because the Founding Fathers believed in one God and would never have countenanced a “polytheist” in that position.24

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Most notoriously, Barton claimed that Thomas Jefferson—America’s best-known champion of church-state separation—envisioned no such thing. Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies came under withering attack from historians—including several self-described evangelicals—and was eventually withdrawn by its publisher. But that only increased Barton’s stature among figures like Glenn Beck, who pledged to republish the book on his own; a Christian publisher eventually released a new edition, including a section where Barton replied to his critics. Back in Texas, meanwhile, conservatives on the SBOE vowed to defeat the scholars who had tried to discredit Barton. “Someone has to stand up to the experts,” declared SBOE chair Don McLeroy, a dentist and a devoutly evangelical conservative. The comment drew ridicule from liberals, who noted that McLeroy had also denounced biologists’ testimony during the SBOE’s 2009 debate about evolution. “Last year, Don McLeroy believed he was smarter than the National Academy of Sciences, and he now believes he’s smarter than professors of American history,” one critic jibed. McLeroy would lose his seat that fall, allowing his liberal foes to claim a small symbolic victory. But conservatives retained their majority on the board and their power over the standards, which would continue unchanged for several more years. Clearly, winning the history wars required more than the “right” professors, or even the right story. It demanded popular mobilization, as well.25

The Death and Life of Ethnic Studies That was the lesson of ethnic studies, which grew steadily during the Obama years. Seeking to promote a separate elective, it echoed a longstanding theme in the American history wars: if you can’t change the shared national narrative, create your own racial or ethnic one. As an academic field, ethnic studies dated to a five-month student strike— the longest in American history—at San Francisco State College (now University) in 1968–69, which concluded with the establishment of its College of Ethnic Studies. The field grew quickly across higher education, generating over seven hundred programs and departments by 1993. But it spread more slowly to K–12 schools, in part because of its explicitly multicultural focus: examining a broad range of races and

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ethnicities, it lacked an identifiable constituency to lobby for it. Ironically, a 2010 ban on ethnic studies in Arizona—targeting a course on Mexican-Americans in a single school district—changed that political calculus. First in Arizona and then across the country, Hispanics seized upon ethnic studies as their route to curricular representation. Then other groups followed suit, yielding a multicultural movement for courses about America’s multiple cultures.26 The Arizona battle dated to a 2007 visit to a Tucson high school by Dolores Huerta, who told a student assembly at the majority-Hispanic school that “Republicans hate Latinos”; when an aide to GOP state school superintendent Tom Horne tried to persuade them otherwise, students raised their fists and turned their backs on her. That focused Horne’s attention on the nascent Mexican-American studies course taught at Tucson high schools, which he blamed for the students’ allegedly “radical” and “anti-American” sentiments. In 2010, close on the heels of a controversial immigration measure allowing police officers to question any Arizonan’s citizenship status, Horne authored a law banning “ethnic studies” classes. Passed quickly by the state legislature, it prohibited courses that “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” are “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” “advocate for ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of students as individuals,” or “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.” Horne openly acknowledged that the law—despite its generic “ethnic” designation—was crafted to prohibit the Tucson MexicanAmerican studies course, which he said violated all four provisions. He ascended to state attorney general in November 2010, riding a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment. In one of his first moves of 2011, he declared the Tucson program in violation of the ethnic studies law he had written. “It’s propagandizing and brainwashing that’s going on there,” Horne charged.27 Horne cited a commonly used Mexican-American history text in the course, Occupied America, which seemed to suggest that the United States’ acquisition of Arizona and other border states was unjust and should be rescinded. He also quoted several dissenting teachers, including a Hispanic instructor who said the course depicted MexicanAmericans as “victims of a racist American society.” In response,

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the teacher said, other instructors called him a “bandito”—that is, a sellout—and claimed that he had internalized the racism of the campaign against the course. Indeed, Tucson’s director of MexicanAmerican studies insisted the attack on the course—and the entire prohibition of ethnic studies—was “anti-Latino” at its core. After all, Horne had not moved against similar classes about the Black, Asian-American, and Native American experience; only the Mexican-American course was held illegal. It enrolled just thirty-five students per year in Tucson, a school district of 55,000. In late 2011, Horne ruled that the school district would forsake 10 percent of its state funds—as per the new ethnic studies law—unless it revised or eliminated the course. Several schools watered it down or simply dropped it; others even banned the books used in the course. Amid these changes, nine Mexican-American students staged a protest at a Tucson school board meeting, chaining themselves behind the board members’ long wooden desk. “When education is under attack, what do we do?” they chanted. “Fight back.”28 The battle caught the attention of other Hispanics in the Southwest, who organized to aid their brethren in Arizona and to press their own states for similar courses. Calling themselves Librotrificantes (“book smugglers”), activists in Houston loaded a tour bus with the books Tucson had banned and delivered them to San Antonio, El Paso, and Albuquerque. The last stop was Tucson itself, where they gave “wet-books” (an ironic twist on the racist slur “wetback”) to former students in the Mexican-American studies course and established a library at a local youth center. Back in Texas, they also lobbied to establish a Mexican-American studies elective. Although that campaign fell short in the state legislature, they won an ethnic studies law that allowed each district to develop courses on Mexican-Americans, Black Americans, Native Americans, or Asian-Americans. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support: conservatives applauded its deference to local control, while liberals said it would pave the way for courses that enhanced both the self-image and the academic achievement of minorities. “Students are not seeing themselves reflected positively in the textbooks,” one activist explained. “If the schools are making you feel bad about yourself, you’re not going to succeed.” That argument echoed a recurring claim by underrepresented American racial and

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ethnic groups, who demanded that the history curriculum reflect their diverse experiences.29 And if it didn’t, they would press for special courses that focused upon their own culture and contributions. Looking back on the Arizona battle of 2010–11, a Los Angeles teacher recalled in 2015 that it “lit a fire for everyone.” By then, five school districts in California required an ethnic studies class while eleven others offered it as an elective. The following year, the state passed a law establishing a “model ethnic studies curriculum” that districts could follow. In San Francisco, the district website declared that the course would “give high school students an introduction to the experiences of ethnic communities that are rarely represented in textbooks”; even more, teachers predicted, it would provide students with “a pathway to break the cycles of poverty, violence, and incarceration that so many communities of color face.” That was a lot to expect from a single class, which continued to provoke anger and resentment on the Right. Tom Horne’s successor as Arizona schools chief, John Huppenthal, was quoted in 2014 as calling Tucson’s Mexican-American course a “Ku Klux Klan class . . . in a different color” and its teachers “skinheads.” In a 2017 lawsuit over the constitutionality of the Arizona ethnic studies ban, he apologized for his tone but continued to insist that the law aimed to protect MexicanAmericans from a course that was injuring them. “To teach kids that they’re victims and they can’t get ahead in life because somebody’s holding them down, I think it’s a mistake,” Huppenthal testified. A federal judge was unconvinced. Ruling that the Arizona law was enacted and enforced with “racist intent,” he struck down the measure—and struck a blow on behalf of ethnic studies courses across the country.30

The Battle over A.P. History Meanwhile, another battle was brewing over the broader national story and—especially—the role of race and ethnicity within it. The controversy focused on the Advanced Placement U.S. History course, which was revised in the early 2010s to emphasize historical thinking over rote memorization. According to the College Board, the private nonprofit that designs and administers the A.P. exam, teachers had long com-

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plained that the course’s long march of names and dates discouraged them from pursuing any particular topic in depth. Several elite universities had also stopped accepting credit for the course, claiming that it did not teach the skills that college-level history classes demanded. But when the College Board released its revised framework for A.P. U.S. History in 2014, conservatives howled. The new framework reduced material about the Founding Fathers but included new information about slavery, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and other “negative” dimensions of the past, critics complained. In the guise of promoting analysis, they said, the course was preaching anti-Americanism. “APUSH rejects the history that has been taught in this country for generations,” worried a Republican school board member in Jefferson County, Colorado, using the common acronym for the course. “It has an emphasis on race, gender, class, ethnicity, grievance, and America-bashing.” She proposed a set of committees that would review the revised framework to ensure that it did not “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law.”31 Ironically, her proposal triggered widespread protest in Jefferson County—a large suburban district outside of Denver—and catapulted the A.P. controversy onto the national stage. Teachers called in sick to condemn the review of the course, fearing their instruction would be censored. Then seven hundred students walked out of class in solidarity with them, marking one of the largest acts of school-based civil disobedience since the 1960s. Even after the district closed two high schools for lack of available teachers, dozens of students spent their day off picketing the schools. “We have a right to know history,” one student sign declared. The school district relented shortly thereafter, announcing that it would not change the course. But the alleged antiAmericanism of APUSH continued to draw fire around the country, as it mapped onto conservative concerns about the “Common Core” standards that the Obama administration was promoting to bring more rigor to public school curricula. In Texas, for example, critics worried that the new A.P. framework would encourage adoption of the Common Core, which the state had already banned. This fear spoke to larger anxieties about standardization, which conservatives saw as a stalking horse for liberal indoctrination. “What would happen if the

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federal government [was] making standards for how we teach American history to our kids?” Louisiana governor and presidential aspirant Bobby Jindal asked a conservative forum in 2015. “Under this administration, American history would be all about victimization. It wouldn’t be about American exceptionalism, the way you and I learned about why this is the greatest country in the world.”32 For conservatives, that was the heart of the matter. The term “American exceptionalism” had enjoyed a revival during the 2012 elections, when multiple GOP presidential candidates charged that Barack Obama was insufficiently committed to the concept. “His worldview is dramatically different from any president, Republican or Democrat,” Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee charged. “To deny American exceptionalism is in essence to deny the heart and soul of this nation.” The A.P. U.S. History battle brought the same concern into multiple states and communities, where conservatives claimed the new framework would erode students’ faith in the United States. Like other history wars during the Obama years, the A.P. controversy also reflected fears of racial and ethnic minorities and—especially—of their demands for recognition. “I’m tired of hyphenated Americans,” groused Jindal, the child of Indian immigrants. “We’re not Indian-Americans or AfricanAmericans or Asian-Americans. We’re all Americans.” In Georgia, one of four states that threatened to defund the A.P. U.S. History course in its schools, a state legislator charged that the revised framework “looks at America through the lens of race, gender, and class identity” and neglected “the things that unite us and set us apart from much of the rest of the world.” An Oklahoma bill proposed replacing the A.P. course with a more “pro-American” one, which would require the study of the country’s founding documents and of speeches by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.33 The bill went nowhere, as did other threats to eliminate the A.P. U.S. History course. If they rejected the test, several Republican lawmakers admitted, they would deny their constituents the chance to earn valuable college credit. In that sense, A.P. was the only game in town. But conservatives certainly influenced how it was played, persuading the College Board to issue yet another revised framework in 2015. It added more material about the Founding Fathers, “American

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national identity and unity,” “free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation,” and the American role in winning both World Wars. The Board also revised several passages that had roused conservatives’ ire, including a statement about the founders’ belief in “white superiority” and another that called Ronald Reagan “bellicose.” (The new framework simply noted that Reagan supported “a buildup of nuclear and conventional weapons” to challenge the Soviet Union.) Conservatives claimed victory, congratulating the College Board for listening to their concerns and adapting the course in light of them. “Of all the culture wars we’ve been engaged in, this is the happier outcome,” declared the American Enterprise Institute’s Frederick Hess, a former social studies teacher. Meanwhile, liberals conceded some small losses but insisted they would win the longer war. Reviewing the battles over A.P. and ethnic studies courses, Chinese-American author and former Clinton White House official Eric Liu said they were both “part of a noisy but inexorable endgame”: the end of white supremacy. “Americanness and whiteness are fitfully, achingly, but finally becoming delinked,” Liu wrote, “and like it or not, over the course of this generation, Americans are going to have to learn a new way to be American.” Whether enough Americans wanted that—and what they would learn in the process— remained to be seen.34

Religion in the Obama Era: Compromise and Dissent Meanwhile, the nation moved steadily toward a new set of compromises—if not a consensus—on questions of religious practice in schools. Writing in 2015, constitutional scholar Charles Haynes noted happily that there was more study of religion—and also more religious expression—in American public schools than at any time in the past century. Teachers increasingly addressed religious topics in different parts of the curriculum, continuing a trend that had begun after the 9/11 attacks. And religious clubs flourished, boosted by a growing agreement that students could engage in religious activity so long as the school did not direct or promote it. Significantly, the Obama administration upheld a George W. Bush–era advisory confirming students’ right to organize religious groups and to pray within them. To be sure, Haynes noted, two

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groups of Americans continued to dissent from this arrangement. On the Right, “restorers” still sought to spread evangelical Protestantism via the schools; on the Left, meanwhile, “removers” aimed to eliminate religion—any religion—from them. Overall, however, the new center was holding. “After more than 150 years of shouting past one another about the place of religion in public schools, we finally have a model for finding considerable common ground,” Haynes concluded.35 The rise in student religious groups received an important assist from the Supreme Court in Good News Club v. Milford Central School (2001), which ruled that elementary schools had to afford an evangelical club the same after-school facilities as any other student activity. By 2012, the Good News Club reported over 3,200 chapters—enrolling more than 150,000 students—in primary schools around the country. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes established itself at 8,000 middle and high schools during these same years. Although the courts barred school officials from promoting these organizations or setting aside time in the school day for them, critics charged that children— especially younger ones—could not discern the difference between a “sponsored” school activity and an after-school one. In Illinois, a Unitarian couple reported that a classmate told their second-grade daughter that “being Christian” was “the only way” to get to heaven; when their daughter disagreed, the classmate replied that she had “learned it in school”—specifically, at an after-school Good News Club. Other parents reported that their children were pressured by peers and adult leaders to join Christian organizations, which routinely referred to public schools as “targets” or “battlefields” in the quest for souls. But non-Christians formed student groups as well, using the new opportunity to explore their own faiths. At one New York City high school, a sixty-member Muslim Student Association wrestled with the issue of headscarves (worn by about half of its female members) and other dilemmas of modern Islam; in Atlanta, meanwhile, a Jewish Student Union met with a rabbi before school every other week. These efforts dovetailed closely with campaigns for racial and ethnic affinity groups, which also boomed during these years. Indeed, many students did not separate their faith commitments from their other identities. “Look, religion is part of who we are and our culture,” one scholar explained.36

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Conflicts still flared occasionally about the proper boundaries of religious activity in the schools, of course, especially when it affected what commentators wryly called America’s real national faith: sports. A football coach in Washington State led team prayers on the fiftyyard line; instructed by school authorities to stop involving players, he continued to pray by himself on the field until the school placed him on administrative leave. Cases involving student-led worship at athletic events were harder to settle. School officials in Kountze, Texas, barred cheerleaders in 2012 from displaying Bible verses on the banners that football players burst through at the start of games. The cheerleaders sued, claiming that their activity was constitutionally protected so long as school personnel did not encourage or direct it. Their case bounced through the state judicial system—and made national headlines—until the Texas Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling in favor of the cheerleaders. The decision won plaudits from Texas GOP senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and also from Republican governor Rick Perry, who cast it as a “victory for Christians.” But when Atlantic journalist Emma Green caught up with the plaintiffs in 2016, she found a very different spirit. “I’ve learned a lot about diversity, especially religious diversity,” said one ex-cheerleader, who went on to the University of Houston. “My favorite people are the people who are unapologetic about the things they say and do.” To these young women, the court victories for their lawsuit signaled not the triumph of Christianity—“No, I don’t think Jesus is a Republican,” another excheerleader quipped—but rather of individual freedom. Indeed, Green found, most of these young women “didn’t really see themselves as part of a culture war” at all.37 Many conservative Christians still saw themselves as combatants in that war as they continued to press for school-led prayer and evangelical-leaning Bible courses. But they were fighting a losing battle, as they often admitted. In Tennessee, three school districts that had distributed Bibles to students and piped prayers over classroom loudspeakers agreed to abandon these practices in 2011 following a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. And in Mustang, Oklahoma, the threat of an ACLU suit caused school officials to drop a Bible course developed by Hobby Lobby, the Oklahoma-based corporation that led

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the fight against government rules requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception. Decreeing that the six-day creation story was supported by modern scientific evidence, the course also presented Biblical characters—including Adam and Eve—as historical figures. When the ACLU warned that the class was unconstitutional, Hobby Lobby president Steven Green vowed to fight back. “It’s an incredible spiritual battle in this nation between Christianity and secular humanism,” Green said. His side was battling for God, Green added, while the ACLU aimed to impose “an atheistic communistic worldview” in the schools. Even in a rock-solid conservative community like Mustang, Green’s dated Cold War language fell on deaf ears. Just a few months after adopting the Hobby Lobby Bible class, the district reversed course and rejected it; as officials admitted, they feared the ACLU more than the defunct Soviet Union. Undeterred, Steven Green announced that his company would promote the curriculum among homeschooling families.38 The number of homeschooled children rose 74 percent to 1.5 million between 1999 and 2007, illustrating another reason for the cooling of religious conflicts in public schools: increasingly, dissenting families opted out of those schools altogether. The trend dated to the 1990s, when Jerry Falwell declared that “the public school system is damned” and encouraged evangelicals to homeschool their children or place them in Christian academies. Often in the same breath, however, Falwell and his supporters called on voters to elect evangelical school board members who would reinscribe Christian practices in the public schools. The balance tipped heavily toward opt-out solutions during the Obama years. “The system of public education has refused to bend,” wrote prominent evangelical educator Robert Simonds in 2010. “CHRISTIANS MUST EXIT THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS as soon as it is feasible and possible.” Since the 1980s, Simonds wrote, Christian conservatives had worked to “save America’s public school children” from “atheism, homosexuality, the occult, drugs, children having children, abortion, brainwashing, and crippling psychology.” But their efforts had fallen short, so they needed to educate their children on their own. Here Simonds was echoed by minister E. Ray Moore, who founded an organization to persuade Christians to “leave government schools for the Promised

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Land of Christian schools or homeschooling,” as its website declared. The group’s name told the whole story: The Exodus Mandate.39 The conservative exit from public schools—and the growth of Christian academies—was also fueled by the campaign for school vouchers, which sought to break the grip of “government schools” (as Moore pointedly called them) on tax dollars. Families should receive vouchers to attend the schools of their choice, the theory went, which would trigger a huge array of educational options that more accurately reflected America’s diversity. In practice, however, about three-quarters of schools receiving vouchers were Christian institutions. Other evangelical families turned to charter schools, which were publicly funded but privately operated. Although barred by law from spreading religious doctrine, some charters partnered with churches and engaged in group prayer and other constitutionally suspect practices that conservative Christians had formerly tried to impose upon the larger public school system. According to a growing coalition of “choice” advocates, including political libertarians as well as evangelical Christians, charters, vouchers, and homeschooling would quell cultural conflict by creating communities of the like-minded. “Our schools are a constant battleground in the culture wars, and our children are essentially innocent civilians with political, social, and cultural bombs going off all around them,” wrote Neal McCluskey of the libertarian Cato Institute in May 2016, referencing a North Carolina dispute over transgender students’ access to public school bathrooms. “Letting people freely choose is the ultimate key.” But public schools were no longer the arena of angry religious conflict that he imagined. Indeed, the rapid resolution of the bathroom issue suggested that the schools could weather storms over religious values rather well.40

Trump, Religious Values, and the Schools The election of Donald Trump in November 2016 bore little hint of the school wars that lay ahead. Trump’s campaign made almost no reference to education, beyond proposing more federal support for different kinds of choice plans. His secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, had led voucher campaigns in Michigan and seemed much more interested in eroding the monopoly of “government schools” than in changing any-

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thing that occurred inside of them. Gamely, she insisted that vouchers and other forms of school choice would improve public education. But her real interest and passion lay in widening the array of alternatives, which DeVos—a devout evangelical—said would “advance God’s kingdom” here on Earth.41 The first educational controversy to confront the Trump administration confirmed that its legions of conservative Christian backers— focused mainly on private school options—would exert minimal influence over the day-to-day operations of public schools. In March 2016, North Carolina had passed a bill barring transgender people from using bathrooms that did not match the sex assigned to them at birth. Trump had signaled his support for transgender rights on the campaign trail, pointedly declaring that the transgender reality-show celebrity Caitlyn Jenner could use whichever bathroom at Trump Tower that she wanted. But upon reaching the White House, Trump rescinded an Obama administration order that schools must allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice. “As the culture war is about irreconcilable beliefs about God and man, right and wrong, good and evil, and is at root a religious war, it will be with us as long as men are free to act on their beliefs,” wrote the venerable Republican firebrand Pat Buchanan, praising Trump’s decision. “Yet . . . it is an open question as to how, and how long, we will endure as one people.” In his speech to the 1992 GOP convention warning of a looming “cultural war,” Buchanan had probably done more than any political figure to bring that language into American public discourse. But the quick denouement of the bathroom issue revealed the limits of visceral religious appeals in the Trump era. The National Basketball Association removed its All-Star game from Charlotte to protest North Carolina’s bathroom law; Bruce Springsteen and Cirque du Soleil canceled shows in solidarity with the transgender cause as well. Amid polls showing decreased support for the bathroom measure, North Carolina repealed it in March 2017. Efforts to pass a similar law in Texas also fell short, again quelled by corporate threats to withdraw business from the state. By 2018, Texas GOP governor Greg Abbott declared that limiting transgender students’ access to school bathrooms was no longer an issue: “It’s not on my agenda.”42 Likewise, sex education disputes during the Trump era underscored

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the declining power of conservative Christians in public school politics. Once again, the Trump administration nodded loyally to its religious base: designating a well-known advocate of abstinence-only education to administer federal funding for sex education, it also tried to cancel grants to groups that provided lessons on contraception. But the grantees contested that maneuver in federal court, where a judge ruled that the new administration could not withdraw their promised funds. Out in the schools, meanwhile, controversy focused on two new matters that schools increasingly addressed in sex education: gender identity and sexual consent. Both topics appeared in California’s revised guidelines, which sparked protests and a “Sexxx Ed Sit Out”—a one-day strike—in several locations. As the spelling of their campaign suggests, protesters complained that the new curriculum contained “pornographic” material; echoing the bathroom battle, meanwhile, other critics said that lessons about the transgender community would frighten or confuse students. “It’s either you’re a girl or a boy,” explained one ninth grader, attending a protest with her mother. “That’s what I agree with.” Elsewhere, efforts to teach about gender identity and LGBTQ issues came up against long-standing laws that barred schools from “promoting” homosexuality. In 2017, seven states still had “no-promo-homo” laws on the books. But GOP strongholds Utah and Arizona rescinded their measures, reflecting a sea change in public attitudes. The Arizona repeal passed by a landslide 55–5 vote in the state house of representatives and was signed by Republican governor Doug Ducey, a rising star in his party.43 The movement to teach about sexual consent proceeded in fits and starts as well, but the larger trend was clear: liberal approaches were ascending over conservative ones. The consent effort built upon the nationwide #MeToo movement, which shone new light on sexual coercion and other kinds of misconduct; indeed, the sponsor of a 2019 Colorado measure promoting instruction about consent had sued a fellow lawmaker for sexual harassment. By that year, ten states and the District of Columbia required schools to teach about consent as part of sex education. But the concept was always controversial because it implicitly recognized young people as sexual actors. “When you get into the issues of how do you say ‘yes’ or how do you say ‘no,’ that can easily

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open the door [to] ‘It’s OK to say yes and no,’” a Catholic activist in Washington State explained during the state’s 2020 battle over revised sex education guidelines, “and that steps on our teaching that sexual activity is to be reserved for the sacrament of marriage.” Passed by Washington’s Democratic-controlled legislature, the guidelines spawned a citizen petition effort to overturn them and—eventually—led to the nation’s first state referendum on sex education. In November 2020, voters upheld the new guidelines by a nearly 60–40 plurality. Requiring schools to teach about LGBTQ issues as well as consent, the guidelines also allowed families to opt out of sex education if they wished.44 Around the country, conservatives sought to persuade dissenting parents to do precisely that. Demonstrating the ongoing determination of right-wing Christians to defend traditional values, the “opt-out movement” also reflected—by conservatives’ own admission—their failure to inscribe these values in the public schools. After Omaha revised its sex education curriculum to include contraception and gender identity, for example, a group called Nebraskans for Founders’ Values held two dozen “information nights” at churches and other locations to distribute opt-out forms to parents. “This is about the souls of children,” explained a member of the group, which helped persuade over three hundred families to opt out. “This is about protecting children from being exposed to sexual immorality, sexual perversity, under the guise of education.” Other critics urged parents to remove their children from the public schools altogether. In California, one mother started homeschooling her son after she discovered that his elementary school was teaching Jacob’s New Dress and other children’s books about gender identity. A North Carolina woman calling herself “Activist Mommy” created a Facebook page attacking “pornographic” sex education, which drew over half a million followers by 2018. “I personally homeschool my children but felt sorry for the parents who feel helpless to stop . . . these graphic and dangerous programs in public schools,” she wrote. A mixture of anger and defeatism permeated many of these accounts, which conceded that “religious conservatives . . . have lost the culture war,” as right-wing journalist Rod Dreher admitted. Although scattered battles over religion and sex would continue, neither side questioned who would triumph in the end.45

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Trump and the History Wars But a much bigger conflict was brewing, spurred by a president who had pledged to return the nation to its “real” roots. “Make America Great Again,” Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, called on the country to revive a lost past. So even as religious controversies cooled, battles over history heated up. To be sure, the shift was already apparent when Barack Obama took office and spawned new anxieties about Islam, immigration, and national identity. But the history wars reached a boiling point under Trump, who appealed directly and explicitly to white Protestant fears of decline and displacement. As Frances Fitzgerald observed, Trump voters came heavily from the Tea Party wing of the Christian Right: they worried more about jobs and opportunity than they did about gay marriage or sex education. As in the early days of the Tea Party movement, they rallied against immigration and economic competition from abroad. But now the president was in their corner, serving as both a motivator and a mouthpiece. Trump warned darkly of rapists and other “bad hombres” from Mexico, demanding that America build a wall to keep them out; he also wondered aloud why the United States did not take more people from Norway and fewer from “shithhole” countries in Africa. He stoked anger at China, charging the country with breaking trade agreements and—later—with infecting America with the coronavirus, which he pointedly called the “China Flu” or even the “Kung Flu.” Meanwhile, he continued to condemn Obama at every turn. That marked Trump as “America’s first white president,” essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates observed, in the sense that “his entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president.”46 Not surprisingly, then, the most bitter school-related battles of Trump’s term revolved around race as well. In August 2017, hundreds of Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, and other white nationalists converged upon Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. In a candlelight vigil, they chanted “Jews will not replace us” and other bigoted slogans; the following day, a Nazi sympathizer drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring nineteen others. Many of the demonstrators also expressed support for Trump, who seemed to return their sympathies a

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few days later. “There were some very fine people on both sides,” Trump said, “and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white supremacists because they should be condemned totally.” Trump’s point was that there were non-racists who also rallied to defend the Lee statue, which was a dubious claim at best: as videos of the protest confirmed, it was dominated by avowed white supremacists. But the second part of Trump’s quote was dropped from most news accounts, which made it seem like he was defending white supremacy itself. And surely many of Trump’s racist supporters took him to mean exactly that, happily noting that Trump had encouraged Americans “to be proud of their heritage—whether it is white, whether it is Confederacy, whatever it is,” as one white nationalist asserted. “He is the most honest president since George Washington and the cherry tree,” the Trump supporter added, ignoring the obvious fact that the cherry-tree story—meant to burnish Washington’s truthfulness—is itself a myth. “This is an honest man saying what he believes in his heart.” Whatever was in Trump’s mind, in short, his racist supporters believed that he had their backs.47 That perception was shared by Trump’s enemies, who stepped up their efforts to take down Confederate statues in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy. They also moved to rename schools that were named for Confederates and to alter dress codes that allowed Confederate symbols, rendering schools “a prime battleground”—as one news account noted—in the burgeoning national debate over racism in American history and memory. Over the next few years, several dozen schools named after Lee and other leading Confederates changed their names. But more than 240 schools around the country still bore Confederate names in 2020, over half of them serving student bodies that were mostly Black or nonwhite. Minority students led the charge against Confederate names and also against the Confederate flag, which was still widely permitted on student clothing. In Asheville, North Carolina, a tenth-grade African-American student spearheaded an in-school protest against the district dress code, demanding a ban on the “Stars and Bars” and other Confederate insignia. White students then staged a counter-protest, which they explicitly linked to Donald Trump. “Everyone wear your Confederate and Trump stuff tomorrow since everyone is trying to come at us for wearing our pride,” one social

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media post urged. Opponents of Confederate clothing eagerly picked up on such statements, which they used to win bans on it in Indiana and Maryland as well as in North Carolina. Whether Trump supported the right to wear Confederate symbols, he had clearly become a symbol of them.48 Trump’s rhetoric inspired another push for ethnic studies as well as for Black history instruction, which advocates put forth as antidotes to the racism that his presidency unleashed and amplified. Seattle passed an ethnic studies resolution based on recommendations by the NAACP; in Providence, students successfully lobbied for a pilot course in the topic; and Albuquerque launched ethnic studies in all of its high schools. In California, meanwhile, the state school board proposed a draft ethnic studies curriculum that sought not just to “celebrate the historic contributions of minorities”—the traditional goal of the subject—but to “critique empire and its relationship to white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism and other forms of power and oppression.” It sparked predictable objections among conservatives, who decried its allegedly “anti-American” spirit alongside its trendy left-wing jargon. But the campaign also triggered competition and tension among different ethnic groups, repeating a long-standing pattern. Hindu, Armenian, Greek, and Korean organizations all complained that the model curriculum in California gave them short shrift; so did Jews, who also said it neglected the history of anti-Semitism. In 2020, governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a measure requiring ethnic studies in all California public schools. Although he supported the purpose of the course, Newsom wrote, he worried that the proposed curriculum was “insufficiently balanced and inclusive.”49 Meanwhile, nine states passed laws in 2019 and 2020 requiring or encouraging instruction about Black history. A new elective about it in Virginia emerged from the state’s African American History Education Commission, which governor Ralph Northam appointed after old photos surfaced that appeared to show him in blackface. Other states were inspired to expand Black history instruction following the May 2020 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked massive protests across the country. In Congress, meanwhile, Black representa-

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tive Marcia Fudge introduced a bill to provide federal grants to school districts that included Black history in their curricula. “The failure to teach all of America’s history perpetuates and exacerbates the myth that African Americans and others were mere bystanders,” Fudge declared, noting that only twelve states specifically required instruction about Black history. For too long, too many students “have been uninformed and misinformed about our contributions to this country,” said Fudge; teachers often limited the topic to Black History Month in February, if they addressed it at all. Yet Fudge also saw rays of hope in the darkness. “African Americans have been here before, but this time it feels different,” she added. “Allies also see the wrong, and have joined us in demanding justice and equity, and promoting an anti-racist society.”50

From 1619 to 1776 Fudge’s language spoke to a new trend in the debate over history instruction. Her call for teaching Black “contributions to this country” echoed the traditional argument of formerly excluded peoples, who demanded representation in the broader national narrative of freedom and progress. But her wish to join with allies to create an “anti-racist society” cast doubt upon that narrative itself, suggesting that racism continued to mar America’s vaunted claims of liberty and equality. So did the proposed California ethnic studies curriculum, which aimed not simply to foster inclusion but instead to critique the many ways that America inhibited it. In this formulation, teaching about the minority experience exposed America’s continued inequities rather than its exceptional character. Since the 1960s, University of Missouri scholar LaGarrett King explained, American history courses had typically added new faces to the old story. Now they were giving a new face to the story itself. “We include these particular people, maybe a few viewpoints, but we don’t change the narrative,” King explained. If taught honestly, however, Black history “is contentious to these progressive narratives,” he added. It would no longer do to add some diversity and stir, or even to create new ethnic or Black courses that did the same. The entire story of America needed to change in light of the Black experience.51

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That was the explicit goal of the 1619 Project, which the New York Times launched with a special issue of its Sunday magazine in August 2019. It dated America’s founding to the arrival of its first African slaves, who were kidnapped from what is now Angola, forced onto a Portuguese slave ship, stolen by English pirates, and brought to the small British colony of Virginia. In eighteen essays and fifteen creative works, the project explored the four-hundred-year legacy and impact of slavery on American health, housing, criminal justice, and more. The Times expanded upon these themes in a five-episode podcast, a children’s section of its print edition, and an article about how slavery has been addressed in American schools. “Think about what it would mean for our educational system to properly teach students about enslavement, and what they would have to learn about our country,” Nikita Stewart wrote. “For generations, we’ve been unwilling to do it.” Too many textbooks and lessons celebrate “good people” like abolitionists and runaway slaves but “leave out the details of why they were protesting or what they were fleeing,” Stewart added. So the Times partnered with the Pulitzer Center to provide free reading guides, lesson plans, and physical copies of the magazine issue to educators around the country. By the following May, more than 4,500 classrooms were using materials from the 1619 Project. It earned three National Magazine Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, which went to project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones for her introductory essay.52 The 1619 Project was hardly the first challenge to the dominant narrative in American history textbooks and classrooms. But it was surely the most widely publicized one, fueled by a “series of counterpunches”—as one scholar called them—from a predictable and voluble source: Donald J. Trump. In a fireworks-studded Fourth of July speech at Mount Rushmore in 2020, the president railed against the toppling of monuments and other alleged threats to American pride and dignity. “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children,” he thundered. The following month, when Trump unveiled goals for his imagined second term, two of them addressed education: increase school choice and teach American exceptionalism. He repeated that theme at the 2020 Republican National Convention. “We

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want our sons and daughters to know the truth: America is the greatest and most exceptional nation in the history of the world,” Trump declared. Lest anyone miss the point, he also pledged to “fully restore patriotic education in our schools.”53 Trump did not directly reference the 1619 Project, but nor did he need to do so; as one journalist wrote, the Times’ effort had clearly triggered a “proxy war” over the nation itself. Earlier in the summer, Arkansas GOP senator Tom Cotton had introduced a bill prohibiting federal funding for teachers’ professional development in districts using the 1619 Project. As several Republicans admitted, Cotton’s proposal ran counter to the GOP’s traditional support for local control in education. But Cotton stood firm, insisting that Congress could censure the 1619 Project without abrogating community prerogatives. “If local left-wing school boards want to fill their children’s heads with anti-American rot, that’s their regrettable choice,” Cotton argued. “But they ought not to benefit from federal tax dollars to teach America’s children to hate America.” Trump echoed Cotton’s threat on Labor Day 2020, pledging to pull money from public schools that taught the 1619 Project. Critics noted that Trump almost surely lacked the authority to do so; he also seemed unaware that hundreds of school districts were already using materials from the project. But he continued to rail against it, condemning the 1619 Project in an address at the National Archives two weeks later. Standing in front of America’s founding documents, Trump blamed “left-wing indoctrination in the schools” for riots that had occurred in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In a direct challenge to the 1619 Project, he also said he would appoint a “1776 Commission” to promote a “pro-American curriculum” for the nation’s children.54 Trump’s comments won immediate ridicule from historians and educators, who correctly noted that most instruction in schools still echoed the patriotic themes that he demanded. Nor was Trump able to enlist any established historians for his 1776 Commission, which released a slapdash twenty-page report that was unceremoniously deleted—along with the commission itself—as soon as Trump left the White House. But Republicans continued his campaign at the state level, introducing dozens of measures in 2021 to bar the 1619 Project

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and other supposedly subversive curricula from the schools. In Arkansas, for example, one proposed law prohibited any instruction that promoted the overthrow of the U.S. government, division or resentment between different groups, or solidarity among students based on ethnic or racial characteristics. The language almost exactly echoed the 2010 Arizona law to restrict ethnic studies, which was later overturned by the courts. But the new measures targeted the whole history curriculum, reflecting conservative worries that the entire idea of America was under attack. “The United States is the greatest country in the history of the world,” declared Tate Reeves, Mississippi’s GOP governor, proposing a $3 million “Patriotic Education Fund” to combat “revisionist history” in Mississippi’s schools. “Capitalism, democracy, and other uniquely American values have been the victims of a targeted campaign . . . to destroy the pillars of our society,” Reeves added. “We need to combat the dramatic shift in education.”55 As always, there was a strong element of hyperbole in these rightwing claims. “I have three children who have attended Mississippi public schools and none of their teachers have ‘indoctrinated them with far-left teachings that emphasize America’s shortcomings,’” the House minority leader in Mississippi replied, quoting the governor. He also cited local political cartoonist Marshall Ramsey, who tweeted that the proposed patriotic education fund was “$3 million of political bullshit.” But growing numbers of Americans were questioning traditional narratives of national strength, progress, and pride, as conservatives correctly sensed. In a 2019 Gallup poll, only 20 percent of surveyed Democrats said they were “extremely proud” to be Americans, as compared to 76 percent of Republicans. In another study, the number of Americans who said the United States was “an exceptional country because of what it represents” declined by a remarkable 7 percent between 2018 and 2019 alone; among respondents between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine, just 55 percent said that America was exceptional. It was hardly clear whether these trends were connected to schools, let alone to school history instruction. But one thing was obvious: Americans were increasingly divided about the meaning and purpose of America. The real question was whether they wanted those differences aired in classrooms, and what that would look like in practice.56


In November 2016, a few days after Donald Trump was elected president, historian Daniel K. Williams predicted that Trump would “end the culture wars.” A leading scholar of conservative Christianity, Williams noted that Trump had maintained “libertarian views on abortion and gay rights” and “evinced little interest in the religious right’s agenda.” Under President Trump, Williams anticipated, the United States would continue its shift away from “national moral regulation.” The culture wars were pretty much over, in short, and the liberal side had won.1 Williams was half-right. Although abortion continued to divide the body politic, most other religion-inflected conflicts cooled. After years of trying to amend the Constitution to allow school-led prayer, the Christian Right gave up. The controversies over sex education and evolution instruction waned as well, in part because opponents increasingly opted out of public schools altogether. And conservatives lost the battle on same-sex marriage, too, as every demographic except elderly Republicans came to accept it. Even transgender rights showed a steady increase in support, which was unimaginable a few years earlier. But Trump’s election also unleashed new forms of cultural conflict centered on racial differences and resentments. Slurring Muslims as terrorists, Trump sought to ban them from the United States. He fought to erect a wall on America’s southern border, lest “Mexican rapists” come across it. He denounced football players who knelt during the national anthem—most of whom were Black—as “sons

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of bitches.” And he told four congresswomen of color—three of them born in the United States—to “go back to where [they] came from.” Meanwhile, evidence mounted that Trump’s heavily white and working-class supporters believed their nation—not their religion—to be under threat from nonwhites and from liberal enemies in government and the news media.2 So the culture wars lived on, configured around race and class rather than faith. Even wearing a mask during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020–21 became a touchstone for cultural controversy. Inevitably, schools became a site of that struggle as well. The chief lightning rod for the conflict was the New York Times’ 1619 Project. Readers lined up to purchase paper copies of the August 2019 issue introducing the project, something New Yorkers hadn’t witnessed since the release of a “historic presidency edition” to commemorate Barack Obama’s election in 2008. But the 1619 Project explicitly challenged Obama’s much-repeated aphorism that the arc of the moral universe— and, by extension, of American history—bent toward justice. Instead, the project insisted, racial inequity was baked into America’s past and present alike. By October of that year, one journalist observed, the 1619 Project had emerged as “one of the hottest culture-war battlefields” in the United States.3 To be sure, history instruction had sparked loud controversies before. But as the first part of this book demonstrated, history wars usually surrounded the issue of inclusion—who gets written into the national narrative, and who does not—rather than the structure of the narrative itself: each race would have its heroes sung, as the Times put it in 1927, but no group could question the melody of peace, freedom, and economic opportunity that unites them all. Dissidents were sometimes silenced, as the decline of Harold Rugg’s textbooks in the 1940s reminds us. More commonly, though, they simply developed separate texts and courses—think of white neo-Confederates in the early 1900s or Black radicals in the 1960s—until their stories could be reconciled with the cheerful national vision. The price of diversity in American history has been banality in its narrative, a singular and often suffocating optimism that blots out most traces of misery, tragedy, and especially self-doubt. Careful to note America’s departures from its civic creed, our history

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curricula and textbooks have generally remained confident that the country—like the creed—will continue on an upward trajectory of liberty and justice for all. Not so for the 1619 Project, which placed the creed itself under question. So did A People’s History of the United States, by left-wing historian Howard Zinn, which enjoyed a vogue in a handful of school districts. Despite America’s soaring egalitarian rhetoric, Zinn insisted, its political system had served the interests of rich white men rather than of “the People” in the broadest sense. Zinn’s book drew attacks from liberal scholars, who charged him with downplaying America’s progress toward freedom; similarly, they said, the 1619 Project exaggerated the role of slavery in the country’s founding. To conservatives, by contrast, these initiatives threatened nothing less than the dissolution of the nation itself. “The self-loathing anti-Americanism is infecting even high schools now,” warned Laura Ingraham on Fox News. “Their aim is to pull down our whole culture, the American founding, Western civilization, and everything that sprang from it.”4 In a campaign without precedent in America’s culture wars, Republican legislators in twenty states introduced bills during the first half of 2021 to restrict how teachers could discuss race and racism in public schools. Four measures specifically targeted the 1619 Project; others barred instruction of Critical Race Theory, which likewise maintained that racism was endemic to the historical and contemporary United States. This wasn’t just an effort to revise one textbook or replace another, as per the long-standing pattern around history instruction. Conservative lawmakers instead aimed to purge a critical perspective from classrooms, lest it draw children away from the conventional story.

The Unvarnished Truth? In reply, defenders of the 1619 Project insisted that they did not aim to impose their outlook on American schoolchildren; they simply wished to provoke debate and discussion about American history. But they also promised to replace flawed versions of the past with a more accurate one, which suggested a different set of motives. Consider the headline of the sixteen-page newsprint section that the New York Times

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released alongside the magazine issue: “‘We’ve Got to Tell the Unvarnished Truth.’” Not a different or contrasting truth but the truth, which assumedly would enlighten students about the real story of America. Asked to explain why her school district had adopted materials from the 1619 Project, an Arizona educator gave a similar reply: because it was true, and the truth would set us free. “If we want to create a better society of young people and problem solvers and future leaders, they do have to understand and know America’s truth and what it was built on,” she explained.5 But all truths require interpretation, which is a basic premise of history itself. The Times’ “unvarnished truth” headline was actually a quote from John Hope Franklin, perhaps the foremost postwar scholar of African-American history. It is engraved on a wall at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., where Franklin served as the founding chairman of its Scholarly Advisory Committee. He was also a co-author of Land of the Free (1966), which triggered the movement for “desegregated” high school textbooks during the civil rights era. As we saw in Chapter 5, Franklin’s book forthrightly depicted the struggles and achievements of Blacks, Native Americans, and other minorities who been either denigrated or ignored in most schoolbooks before that time. Conservative parents argued that material about slavery and discrimination would make white children feel “guilty” and encourage all students to “hate America,” prefiguring many contemporary objections to the 1619 Project. Yet Franklin’s book maintained a patriotic tone, folding the new groups into a triumphal story of struggle toward freedom. Despite frequent deviation from its ideals, the country was consistently moving closer to fulfilling them. For the past several decades, American historians have debated that proposition. Indeed, the question of whether America was born in freedom—and what that means—is possibly the most contested issue in the discipline.6 The 1619 Project brought that controversy into the wider public sphere and, eventually, into some of our public schools. But can we subject the nation’s deepest assumptions and myths to sustained critique in its classrooms? In 1962, amid the white-hot tensions of the Cold War, a young philosopher named Richard Rorty gave a curt

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answer: no. Analyzing recent efforts to “teach about Communism” in the schools, Rorty noted that an “objective” analysis of it would have to concede that the Soviet Union had made “enormous economic and technological achievements”; even more, schools would have to admit that much of the world’s wealth is “stolen from the poor by the rich,” exactly as communists claimed. As Chapter 4 showed, Cold War classrooms eschewed any such analysis; instead, they presented communism as an unalloyed evil and the antithesis of the American Way of Life. “It is impossible for the public schools of a democratic country to educate youth in areas in which education would call into question beliefs which are central to the general tenor of adult opinion,” concluded Rorty, who would become one of the leading philosophers of his generation. “This fact is one of the built-in disadvantages of democracy, part of the price paid for its advantages.”7 But in a country as diverse as the United States, “adult opinion” is always a moving target. Indeed, as this book has demonstrated, people of enormously different opinions have continuously pressed them upon our schools. From the Knights of Columbus and the Ku Klux Klan in the early twentieth century to the Moral Majority and the Black Lives Matter movement in more recent years, a wide range of Americans have sought to alter the curriculum. They typically seek victory and vindication, not dialogue and discussion. On that score, at least, Rorty was right: people enter this arena to instill their beliefs in American classrooms and—they hope—in American children. And they generally don’t want schools to call those beliefs into question. Yet the very diversity of America creates the potential for multiple perspectives in our schools, whether activists envision that or not. “We are too diverse of a school, of a community, of a country, to just sit here and say that there is one story of U.S. history,” an Iowa teacher declared in February 2020, explaining his school’s decision to adopt materials from the 1619 Project.8 But Republicans in his state legislature wanted a single story, and—most of all—they wanted to insulate it from challenge. A few weeks earlier, they had proposed a measure that would bar schools from teaching the 1619 Project or any “similarly developed” curricula. Clearly, they were in no mood to debate what Rorty might have called “central” beliefs about the United States.

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History Becomes a Religion Nor was it clear who really wanted such a discussion, or how it could take place in a nation where citizens clung to their partisan identities as articles of faith. By some accounts, indeed, politics was replacing religion as the source of Americans’ fundamental beliefs about the world and their role in it. Between 1937 and 1998, the fraction of Americans who belonged to churches remained close to 70 percent. Over just the next two decades, it dropped to less than 50 percent. Long suspicious of religion for fostering prejudice and division, secularists imagined that less faith-centered activity would mean more tolerance and unity. But the opposite happened. “As Christianity’s hold, in part, has weakened, ideological intensity and fragmentation have risen,” scholar Shadi Hamid wrote in 2021. “American faith, it turns out, is as fervent as ever; it’s just that what was once religious belief has now been channeled into political belief.” So “debates over what it means to be an American have become suffused with a fervor,” Hamid added. Acting more like sects than parties, both sides claimed that they were defending the true faith against those who would betray it. Most of all, they became less able to compromise—or even to converse—with each other.9 In this light, the shift from religion wars to history wars looks more like a transformation of history into religion. Denouncing the 1619 Project, Republicans made no secret about their wish to defend the gospel of American virtue and exceptionalism. But there was a quasireligious element to the new history initiatives, too, which often aimed to proselytize about the past rather than to interrogate it. Officials at the Pulitzer Center—which distributed materials from the 1619 Project to schools—insisted that the project encouraged students to think and debate, not to “believe certain ideas.” Yet when asked about scholars’ critiques of the 1619 Project, one Buffalo school leader dismissed them as “just another form of oppression”; she also warned that any teacher who wished to question the project in class would need official permission before doing so. Meanwhile, ostensibly “critical” assignments around the 1619 Project often pointed to a single right answer. One student reading guide asked how nineteenth-century efforts to enslave African-Americans “manifest in contemporary politi-

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cal parties”; another asked for “examples of hypocrisy in the founding of the United States,” which took for granted that the founders were indeed hypocrites. Still another asked students why such information was absent from their textbooks. “You get the idea,” replied one critic. “Susan or Johnny are supposed to respond, ‘because the history books from which I’ve learned about U.S. history were written by systemic racists.’”10 As we saw in Part I of this book, many American history textbooks were written by racists. But schoolbooks were heavily revised in the civil rights era and thereafter by liberal historians, who registered their own sharp objections to the 1619 Project. To Civil War expert James Oakes, the problem with the project was not that it stressed slavery—a central focus of his own scholarship—but rather that it blamed all of America’s woes on it, imagining slavery as “part of the very DNA” (to quote Nikole Hannah-Jones) of the nation. “The function of these tropes is to deny change over time,” Oakes told an interviewer. “If it’s in the DNA, there’s nothing you can do. What can you do? Alter your DNA?” Oakes’s comments appeared on the World Socialist Web Site, signaling a very different kind of critique than the one heard in GOP circles: instead of making students “hate America,” as Republicans alleged, the 1619 Project made them less likely to engage in the hard work of improving it. “Black people made 400 years of history in British North America, and all we hear about is racism and slavery,” African-American historian Daryl Michael Scott wrote, in his own attack on the project. “Racism from Day One, racism till now. That’s culture-war stuff.”11 And while culture warriors wanted singular explanations, Scott added, historians bridled at them. Did the Declaration of Independence’s ringing affirmation that “all men are created equal” exclude African-Americans, as the 1619 Project asserted? That’s what Stephen Douglas argued, in his famous 1858 debate with Abraham Lincoln. But Lincoln insisted that the Founding Fathers meant what they said: slavery would end, and the Declaration would apply to all. Was the Constitution drafted to protect slavery? The 1619 Project said so, as did a young Frederick Douglass. But Douglass eventually changed his mind, claiming that the Constitution had “noble purposes” and could

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be “wielded on behalf of emancipation.” These debates burst onto the pages of the Times, which published a pointed critique of the 1619 Project in December 2019 by five prominent historians and a spirited rejoinder by its editor.12 That’s the stuff of scholarship: framing questions, gathering evidence, and weighing competing interpretations. It is a dialogue, not a diktat. And there is never a final answer. But “culture-war stuff ”—as Daryl Scott called it—is different. It seeks to defeat enemies, not to engage them; its goal is victory, not inquiry. Some people will be enlightened, but others are too far gone to be redeemed. “I’m not writing to convert Trump supporters,” HannahJones acknowledged, in an October 2019 address. “I write to try to get liberal white people to do what they say they believe in. I’m making a moral argument. My method is guilt.” Indeed, Hannah-Jones said elsewhere, the entire 1619 Project aimed to make a case for reparations to Black people, “a societal debt owed because of the racial apartheid that has been practiced.” That’s a defensible goal with a distinguished intellectual lineage going back to the abolitionist era and taken up most prominently in recent years by the African-American author Ta-Nehisi Coates. But if you write history with that purpose, you will inevitably highlight certain parts of the past—and downplay other parts—depending on whether they fit your goal. That’s “history as propaganda,” Daryl Scott warned, not history as a quest for knowledge. And it can indeed resemble a religious-style campaign, calling on us to confess our sins and to seek redemption in the one true faith.13

The Conservative Backlash Meanwhile, the GOP response to the 1619 Project and related curricula reflected its own religious refrain: sinful forces are menacing the nation, so we must rise up to protect it. The result was an unprecedented explosion of state legislative proposals in early 2021, all aimed at squashing the alleged threat. Several Republican-sponsored measures explicitly prohibited the 1619 Project; more commonly, they barred teaching that one race is superior to another, that members of a given race are inherently oppressive, that the United States is a racist nation, or that students should feel discomfort or guilt because of their

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race. That language borrowed directly from Donald Trump’s rhetoric in the last months of his presidency, particularly from his order barring federal dollars for diversity trainings that included these practices. Lawmakers especially took aim at Critical Race Theory, which became an all-purpose signifier for GOP fears and resentments around history in the schools. In the guise of fighting racism, Republicans charged, CRT reinforced it. “Stop Racism. Stop Hate. Stop Critical Race Theory,” declared a picket sign produced by FreedomWorks, one of several conservative groups that mobilized to rebut this supposed peril.14 Nobody knew how many classrooms were influenced by CRT, an academic movement that started in law schools in the late 1970s to explain ongoing racial inequities in the wake of the civil rights movement. Measures barring discrimination had failed to change America in a substantive way, critical race theorists argued, because racism was embedded in the country’s legal, political, and educational institutions. Few Americans had heard of CRT before 2020, when a classic modern-style media campaign brought it into the right-wing purview. On June 5, conservative journalist Christopher Rufo appeared on Fox News to warn that CRT was permeating every level of American government. Luckily for Rufo, the Fox-obsessed president of the United States was watching. Donald Trump instructed his chief of staff to contact Rufo the following morning; three weeks later, Trump signed his executive order banning CRT from federally sponsored activities. Although Joseph Biden would rescind that order on the first day of his own presidency, fears of CRT continued to circulate in the GOP media bloodstream. Fox News used the term in at least 150 broadcasts following its initial interview with Rufo, who also provided analysis or testimony in a half-dozen states that were considering bills to stamp out CRT. The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and other conservative standard-bearers took up the cudgel against it. And in February 2021, the right-wing Legal Insurrection Foundation unveiled a website allowing parents and students to search whether their school was teaching CRT.15 But CRT was always in the eye of the beholder. And if that eye watched a lot of Fox News and its friends, it would see CRT whether it was there or not. “There is not one agency in this state that has

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compelled a teacher to teach Critical Race Theory,” insisted a Democratic lawmaker in Texas after the state legislature passed a bill barring schools from teaching that anyone was “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” Although the measure did not mention CRT by name, everyone knew what it was targeting; indeed, GOP lieutenant governor and longtime culture warrior Dan Patrick praised the law for prohibiting “Critical Race Theory and 1619 Myths in Texas schools.” In interviews, academic scholars of CRT insisted that they did not believe white people were inherently racist or oppressive; their theory focused on institutions, not on individuals. But the distinction was lost on CRT’s critics, who took their case to school boards as well as state legislatures. In suburban Philadelphia, a candidate for a town school board shared a Fox News video clip on her Facebook page of former Trump housing secretary Ben Carson claiming that CRT taught “white kids they’re bad people” and “Black kids they’re victims.” Back in Texas, meanwhile, right-wing talk show host Dana Loesch appeared on Fox to denounce “far-left Marxist activists” for pushing CRT in her hometown of Southlake, a Dallas–Fort Worth suburb. Her main target was the local school board’s “Cultural Competence Action Plan,” which it instituted after a racist incident in the schools. For some critics, it seemed, any mention of race or racism conjured the dangerous specter of Critical Race Theory.16 Such concerns reached a crescendo—and an even wider audience—in April 2021, when Republicans on Capitol Hill joined the anti-CRT crusade. Selected to give the GOP response after Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address, South Carolina senator Tim Scott— the chamber’s lone Black Republican—delivered a broadside against “divisive” instruction in schools. “Today, kids again are being taught that the color of their skin defines them, and if they look a certain way, they’re an oppressor,” Scott warned. “You know this stuff is wrong. Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country.” The following day, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona decrying proposed rules for a grant program to enhance teaching about racial and cultural diversity. The rules mentioned “the New York Times’ landmark 1619 Project” as an example of instruction about slavery and African-American history; they also

Who Are We Now? * 2 47

praised schools that drew on scholarship by historian Ibram X. Kendi to “incorporate anti-racist practices into teaching and learning.” That was catnip for GOP critics in Washington, who pounced eagerly on the relatively small ($5.3 million) grant program. “Families did not ask for this divisive nonsense,” declared McConnell’s letter, which was signed by three dozen Republican senators. “Americans never decided our children should be taught that our country is inherently evil.” The letter specifically noted the proposal’s support for the 1619 Project, which supposedly confirmed that the grant program “would not focus on critical thinking or accurate history, but on spoon-feeding students a slanted story.”17

From Critical Race Theory to Cancel Culture Of course, the GOP’s favored story had its own unmistakable slant: America was the greatest country in human history, a beacon of freedom and a lodestar for the world. Yet conservatives continued to signal their commitment to “critical thinking,” as McConnell called it, even as they sought to ban critical perspectives from the schools. Echoing a well-worn culture war motif, they cast themselves as the party of reason, dialogue, and deliberation; by contrast, their enemies allegedly aimed to foist propaganda on innocent minds. Forming a task force dedicated to “exposing indoctrination in the classroom,” North Carolina’s GOP lieutenant governor asked parents to report biased lessons from their children’s schools. So did his counterpart in Idaho, who warned that a wide array of radical theories had infected the state’s classrooms. “If you, your child, or someone close to you has information regarding problematic teachings on social justice, critical race theory, socialism, communism, or Marxism, please provide us with as much information as you are comfortable sharing,” she pleaded. Clearly, this was no longer a campaign against CRT alone. It was an effort to rebut a supposed scourge of leftist indoctrination, organized by right-wingers who were eager to indoctrinate on their own.18 Conservatives also invoked free speech, claiming these dangerous new curricula threatened to muzzle dissent. That was the essence of the right-wing campaign against “cancel culture,” which joined CRT as a

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favorite bogeyman in conservative media. “We will reject Critical Race Theory in our schools and public institutions, and we will CANCEL Cancel culture wherever it arises!” tweeted former vice president Mike Pence in early 2021. Here, too, Republicans engaged in the same activity that they claimed to resist: laws against CRT represented their own obvious threat to free speech and risked canceling students and teachers who wished to engage such ideas. To be sure, a few conservatives opposed these measures on First Amendment grounds. While New Hampshire considered a bill to bar “race or sex scapegoating” in schools—along with any suggestion that the state or nation were “fundamentally racist”—Republican governor Chris Sununu suggested the measure might be unconstitutional. “I personally don’t think there’s any place for [CRT] in the schools,” Sununu said, “but when you start turning down the path of the government banning things, I think that’s a very slippery slope.” Likewise, an official from the Koch Foundation—probably the most powerful conservative force in state legislatures—blasted such measures as “overly broad” infringements on political expression. “In the guise of free speech, these are simply speech codes by another name,” he wrote.19 Worst of all, critics worried, the new laws could discourage or even prohibit any discussion of race and racism in schools. After Oklahoma passed a measure barring schools from using lessons that make anyone “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex,” teachers wondered if they could address the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, especially during commemorations surrounding its centennial anniversary. “If I teach that, am I going to cause a student to feel discomfort, guilt, or anguish?” one history teacher asked in May 2021. The Oklahoma law specified that none of its restrictions should be interpreted to bar the teaching of the state’s academic standards, which included instruction about the Tulsa massacre. But teachers still wondered whether—and how—they could explore such difficult and emotion-laden topics without running afoul of the new measure. After GOP governor Kevin Stitt signed the law, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission took the extraordinary step of removing him from its membership; no matter how the law was interpreted, commissioners argued, it would surely inhibit a full

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and free examination of the massacre. A second Oklahoma history teacher feared that she could no longer share interviews with ex-slaves recorded in the 1930s by the Federal Writers Project, as she had done in her classroom for many years. Students often cried when they heard these accounts, she noted. “If a kid comes home and says they’re uncomfortable, now you’re breaking the law,” the teacher warned.20 Most of all, teachers worried that the new measures might block consideration of systematic racism: that is, of the ways that discriminatory practices across time had harmed the education, safety, and mobility of racial minorities. In Tennessee, for example, a new law withheld public funding from districts that taught about “white privilege.” Would that prevent teachers from addressing police brutality against African-Americans, one teacher asked, or the history of racism in mortgage lending? No one could be sure, which meant that some teachers would surely bite their tongues. Many of them probably eschewed any mention of the 1619 Project, and with good reason. In Utah, for example, a teacher who assigned readings from it was denounced by a member of the state board of education for allegedly promoting “communism” in her classroom. “She has never taught an alternative point of view other than left-leaning material,” the state board member charged. “This is unacceptable and full-blown indoctrination.” Others came to the teacher’s defense, insisting that she had framed the 1619 Project as just one perspective on the past. She was providing multiple views of history, they said, so students could sort out these ideas on their own.21 That was also the spirit of a lesson plan posted in early 2021 by New American History, a clearinghouse for resources in the field. It presented materials from the 1619 Project as well as from 1776 Unites, a group of mostly African-American scholars and educators who came together in February 2020 to “celebrate the progress America has made on delivering its promise of equality and opportunity.” The lesson plan included a link to an essay by Black political scientist Wilfred Reilly, who rejected the 1619 Project’s premise that slavery and racism have been the key roadblocks to African-American equality. Reilly argued that many contemporary Black problems—including out-of-wedlock childbirths—began well after Emancipation. He also worried that

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harping upon racial discrimination could hold Black students back, all in the guise of lifting them up. “If the REAL reason young brothers struggle with the SAT is ‘the subtle institutional structural racism of the white gaze,’ and not the fact that we study a bit less for the exam, then why ever bother to study more?” Reilly wrote. The lesson plan also linked to a televised debate about the 1619 Project between three African-Americans, featuring supportive remarks by Princeton scholar Eddie Glaude Jr. and critical ones from Chicago journalist and 1776 Unites contributor Clarence Page. “How should we tell the story of America’s beginnings?” the lesson plan asked. “History education is complicated. How much of that complexity should students learn about in school?”22

Reality Check: History Teachers in America Sadly, across the history of the United States, the answer to that question has been the same: not much. Americans have argued vehemently over how we should teach the nation, but most of that debate has occurred outside of our public schools. The biggest reason for that is the public itself, which has never expressed a deep or enduring desire for controversy in the classroom; as one of my students quipped, many years ago, “You’ll never see a parents’ group called ‘Americans in Favor of Debating the Other Side in Our Schools.’” Especially during the polarized fury of the Trump years, teachers were often afraid to broach delicate racial issues in their classrooms. For many instructors, indeed, the kind of questioning envisioned in the New American History lesson plan was impossible. “I see this real terror that they’re going to say or do something that will upset parents and end their careers so they don’t want to talk about race,” an Iowa education professor observed.23 Many teachers also lack sufficient education on these issues, she added, pointing to a perennial problem in American history instruction: instructors don’t learn enough history. A majority of high school history teachers in the United States do not have a major or minor in the discipline; as late as 2013, a history teacher in New Jersey could be certified in the subject by taking just one college course in it. No other core subject demands less academic preparation for the classroom than

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history does. Though most states require history teachers to pass the Praxis examination—a short multiple-choice affair that is significantly less rigorous than high school Advanced Placement history tests— most prospective teachers do not receive in-depth training in historical thinking skills: interpreting primary documents, comparing secondary sources, and so on. Millions of teachers have downloaded lesson plans created by the Stanford History Education Group, founded in 2002 by psychologist Sam Wineburg to promote historical thinking in classrooms. But none of those lessons will work—or work well—in the hands of a poorly prepared teacher, as Wineburg recently cautioned. “[W]e don’t delude ourselves that curricular materials, alone, lead to good teaching,” he wrote. That requires the kind of historical thinking skills that many history teachers simply do not possess.24 By 2016, Wineburg’s colleague Larry Cuban estimated, just 15 to 25  percent of history teachers engaged weekly in primary-source analysis or other methods associated with historical thinking. History teachers lectured for more than half of each class period, more than instructors in any other subject. Many of them did not believe students could debate—or even understand—different perspectives on history. So teachers typically presented a singular “happy endings” story, one scholar observed, which they justified with a mix of patriotism and psychology: it would make students feel good, both about the nation and about themselves. But the students told a different story. They found history boring and irrelevant, as a wide array of surveys confirmed. And they certainly didn’t learn very much from it, as best we can measure. In 2018, only 15 percent of American eighth graders were ranked “proficient” in history by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, down from 18 percent in 2014. High school students were woefully ignorant as well, particularly when it came to issues surrounding race. According to a 2018 study, just 8 percent of seniors could identify slavery as the central cause of the Civil War; meanwhile, over two-thirds did not know slavery was eliminated by a constitutional amendment. Not surprisingly, nearly half of surveyed teachers did not feel equipped to teach about the topic. Many of the textbooks they used were inadequate: despite excising racist passages and adding new material about minorities, books still gave short shrift

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to slavery. Teachers reported that students, too, were reluctant to discuss the issue: white students were afraid of offending Black peers, who in turn worried about how others would view them when slavery came up in class.25 Finally, even for teachers who possessed both the will and the skill to debate difficult issues in their classrooms, the overall conditions of schooling in the United States often made it difficult—if not impossible—for them to do so. According to a 2016 survey, American teachers of core subjects in grades 7–12 instructed an average of 121 students at any given time. They worked an average of fifty-four hours per week for an annual salary of $56,290; over one-fifth of them reported taking a second job to make ends meet. Under those constraints, many if not most teachers could not find the space to plan or deliver contentrich, deliberative lessons on a complex topic like the role of racism in America. In the elementary grades, meanwhile, pressures to prepare students for tests in reading and math—mandated by the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act—have reduced the time that teachers devote to non-tested subjects, including history and social studies. When they did address history, harried teachers reported focusing more on “the facts” and less on pedagogically rich exercises like simulations and debates. All told, as one scholar has surmised, “the picture of history instruction is bleak.”26

Teaching the Conflict Yet some teachers did engage in critical discussions of our past, which should give us hope for the future. Robert Cohen and Sonia Murrow recently showed how teachers have used Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States to spark controversy in their classrooms. Teachers handed out photocopies of Zinn’s most provocative chapters—especially his account of Christopher Columbus—and asked students to compare them to their “regular” history textbook. The result was not left-wing indoctrination—as critics of Zinn’s book feared—but real historical thinking, where students debated different interpretations as well as the meaning of history itself. Using Zinn’s book in two conservative-leaning high schools, Oregon teacher Bill

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Patterson told his students not to “believe it’s the gospels”; instead, Patterson said, they should analyze the book next to other sources and figure out what they thought. In letters they sent to Zinn, Patterson’s students critiqued the historian for describing Columbus’s actions as genocide, for linking the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II to Nazi concentration camps, and for claiming that the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unnecessary. But they also praised Zinn—and their own teacher—for introducing them to a different style of history, which was focused on critique and debate rather than on factual recall. “Until I read one of your writings I never even stopped to think about the fact that our History books were only giving us one viewpoint on all the issues,” a student told Zinn.27 Likewise, skilled and motivated teachers have used the 1619 Project to raise vital historical questions in their classrooms. Condemning a GOP-sponsored bill in Missouri to restrict discussions of racism in public schools, a St. Louis student explained how his own A.P. U.S. History teacher presented the 1619 Project as “an alternative view” rather than as the “correct” one. “We students were not taught exclusively by it; we were not indoctrinated; but we were captivated,” he wrote. “The 1619 Project is no different from any passage from a history textbook, any historic speech or any historical documentary. It presents a viewpoint of history.” In Boise, Idaho, similarly, a teacher assigned the report by Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission and an editorial from the right-wing National Review alongside excerpts from the 1619 Project and Ibram X. Kendi. “The curriculum I teach is designed to confront biases in everything we read,” he emphasized. “We must trust [that] the students of our country can hold two or more conflicting thoughts in their head at once [and] can weigh the arguments that abound in our society and in our time.” The student in St. Louis concurred, adding his own fervent plea for dialogue in schools. “It is appalling to many students like me that something so valuable, something so critical of traditional teaching should be banned simply because it paints an unpleasant picture of the past,” he argued, in reference to the 1619 Project. “Students aren’t sheep, and lawmakers should never assume that [they] absorb the information they are fed without critical analysis, questioning, and discussion. This is the purpose of education.”28

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But how many Americans—inside the schools or outside of them— actually endorsed that purpose? If Idaho passed its own proposed measure restricting instruction around race, the Boise teacher warned, his analysis of the 1619 Project might be prohibited. Nor was it clear whether Bill Patterson’s lessons comparing Howard Zinn to the regular history textbook would be allowed, either. When he started teaching that exercise in the 1980s, Patterson recalled, Republicans were friendlier to dialogue and discussion. But by 2010, when Zinn died, Indiana GOP governor Mitch Daniels suggested that his book should be banned from the schools. “A guy like Ronald Reagan would be a puppy dog compared to a guy like Ted Cruz,” Patterson said, referring to the fiery GOP senator from Texas. “So back then conservatives were a little more receptive . . . I could talk to them about Zinn, and they would go ‘Hmm,’ whereas today it would be ‘Grrr.’” But surely the same went for many people on the Left, who were hardly eager to have their own assumptions challenged. “It is really about wrestling over who can control the narrative of the country that we live in,” Nikole Hannah-Jones explained in an interview. As the battle over the 1619 Project revealed, Americans told different stories about their nation. The only question was whose story would win.29 Yet there was also evidence that the wider public preferred a multiple-perspectives approach, even if activists on each side did not. Consider a 2021 survey of citizens in Illinois, who were asked to choose between two policy statements: K-12 teachers should work to expose students to a variety of perspectives about the country’s founding and history, and to equip them to think critically about its successes and failures. K-12 teachers should embrace progressive viewpoints and perspectives when teaching U.S. history, to encourage students to advocate for social justice causes.

Respondents favored the first prescription by a strong majority, 62 percent to 23 percent. Even among self-identified liberals, 52 percent preferred exposing children to different views while just 35 percent chose

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the “progressive” option. Among African-Americans, meanwhile, 44 percent favored multiple perspectives and 29 percent supported the progressive approach. Such polls are notoriously imprecise, of course, because respondents attach different meanings to the terms under question. But the data show more preference for dialogue and discussion than many media accounts of the culture wars would suggest. Most Americans do not want the 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory, or Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States banned from the public schools; neither do they want these perspectives presented as undisputed truths that decent people must embrace for the sake of justice and progress. “This can be part of a curriculum, but NOT its core,” wrote journalist Damon Linker, urging educators to reject the “one-sided and dogmatic style of history” in the 1619 Project. “Please, don’t do this. We will all regret it.”30

Who Are We Now? Perhaps so. From another perspective, however, the new history wars demonstrated the vibrancy of American democracy and—most of all— the country’s ongoing commitment to public schooling. Even GOP activists seeking to purge the 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory from the schools acknowledged—at least implicitly—that the schools mattered and were worthy of public attention and support. So when former Trump cabinet member Ben Carson and South Dakota GOP governor Kristi Noem joined hands in May 2021 to condemn “antiAmerican indoctrination” in public schools, they also reaffirmed the value of those institutions. “Patriotic Americans at the state and local level must lead the way,” they wrote. “That means pressuring candidates and elected officials to clarify their positions, making patriotic education a defining issue up and down the ballot this year and beyond.” They concluded by urging Americans to sign a pledge affirming the need to promote “a profound love of country” and opposing instruction “that pits students against one another on the basis of race or sex.” Its name told the whole story: the 1776 Pledge to Save Our Schools.31 That impulse stood in stark contrast to America’s religion wars, which helped spawn a widespread rejection of public education over

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the past four decades. The exodus of conservative Christians from public schools lessened the pressure on schools in matters like prayer and Bible reading, which largely disappeared as public issues. For families who continued to patronize the schools, meanwhile, wider “choice” options—including vouchers and charter schools—allowed them to select institutions that reflected their beliefs. “Public schooling has always to some extent been a matter of imposing someone’s values on someone else’s children,” wrote a Virginia school choice advocate in 2016. “It is time to remove the education of the young from the battlefield.” Once families could pick their own schools, the argument went, culture wars would go away.32 In the religion wars, that’s mostly what happened. But overall support for public education dwindled as well, a casualty of the same cultural conflict that “choice” promised to alleviate. Starting in the late 1970s, dissatisfaction with sex education and other perceived liberal excesses led many Americans to reject bond issues and tax hikes for schools.33 By the early 2000s, some conservatives were envisioning the end of traditional public education altogether and its replacement by a set of market mechanisms. But when families get to select their own schools, the schools become echo chambers; like so much else in our splintered nation, they segregate us into ideological enclaves instead of requiring us to interact and deliberate across our differences.34 Hence we should take some comfort in our recent history wars, which have engaged a wide swath of Americans in the endless quest of defining America. That was the spirit of a bracing poem by Nikky Finney, “A New Day Dawns,” which was reproduced in many publications following America’s massive racial protests in 2020. She wrote it in the early morning hours of July 9, 2015, after legislators voted to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse in her native South Carolina: It is the pearl-blue peep of day. All night the palmetto sky Was seized with the aurora And alchemy of the remarkable. A blazing canopy of newly minted

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Light fluttered in while we slept. We are not free to go on as if Nothing happened yesterday. Not free to cheer as if all our Prayers have finally been answered Today. We are free only to search The yonder of each other’s faces, As we pass by, tip our hat, hold a Door ajar, asking silently, Who are we now? . . . Soon, it will be just us Again, alone, beneath the swirling Indigo sky of South Carolina. Alone & Working on the answer to our great Day’s question: Who are we now? What new human cosmos can be made Of this tempest of tears, this upland Of inconsolable jubilation? In all our Lifetimes, finally, this towering Undulating moment is here.35

Finney’s poem reminds us of the responsibility we all share at this undulating, unprecedented moment in American history. We are not free to go on as if nothing happened. Soon it will be just us, again, left to answer the great day’s question: Who we are now? And what do we want to become? Battered and beleaguered, public schools remain our central institution for working on the answers. The next step is to bring our future citizens into the conversation, by welcoming our most fervent differences into the classroom. In the end, debating those differences might be the only thing that holds us together.


The first edition of this book took shape in the late 1990s, when Elizabeth Knoll brought it to Harvard University Press. Her wise editorial direction transformed a series of inchoate ideas into an actual argument. She is still the smartest person that I know. I’m also grateful to Timothy Mennel, who recognized that the time was ripe for a second edition. Thanks to Tim and the superb staff at University of Chicago Press, especially Susannah Engstrom. Without her skilled and patient help in reformatting the book, it wouldn’t exist at all. I worked out the revised argument while teaching my Education and the Culture Wars course at the University of Pennsylvania, where my students contributed more to it than they might realize. I’m also thankful for the many editors who have published my op-ed columns on the culture wars over the years. I can’t name all of them here, but special shout-outs go to Josh Greenman, Jill Lawrence, Josh Burek, Francine Kiefer, Michael Larabee, Elizabeth Souder, Josh Gohlke, Sarah Bray, Eugene McCormack, Erica Palan, and Elena Gooray. I wrote the first edition of this book nearly a quarter-century ago, at a very different moment in my life. The one thing that has stayed the same is the love and support of Susan Coffin and our beautiful daughters, Sarah and Rebecca. They were little girls when I began work on this project. Now they are brilliant young women, making their way in a tenuous world and striving to make it a better one. Like the first edition, this book is for them. Again, and always.


AHR: American Historical Review BJCC: Boston Jewish Community Council Papers, American Jewish Historical Society, Waltham, Mass. BLPP: Bessie Louise Pierce Papers, Joseph Regenstein Memorial Library, University of Chicago CDER: California Department of Education Records, State Archives, Sacramento CVTP: Claude Van Tyne Papers, Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor, Mich. DIS: Department Investigations Series, California Department of Education Records, State Archives, Sacramento EDP: Everett M. Dirksen Papers, Dirksen Congressional Center, Pekin, Ill. FPSB: Friends of the Public Schools Bulletin ICRE: International Council of Religious Education JCRCGP: Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia Records, Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center JNH: Journal of Negro History JWFI: Jewish Welfare Federation of Indianapolis Papers, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis KCHC: Knights of Columbus Historical Commission files LCCP: Lucille Cardin Crain Papers, Knight Library, University of Oregon, Eugene

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MCP: Mary Steichen Calderone Papers, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College NAMP: National Association of Manufacturers Papers, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Del. NCC: National Council of Churches Papers, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, Pa. NCTE: National Council of Teachers of English Papers, University Archives, University of Illinois, Champaign NHB: Negro History Bulletin NJSBE: New Jersey State Board of Education Records, State Archives, Trenton NYSASCE: New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Education, Incoming Correspondence Relating to Proposed Legislation, Collection LO129, State Library, Albany NYT: New York Times PPFA: Planned Parenthood Federation of America II Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College SCF: Schomburg Center Clipping File, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library UO: Knight Library, University of Oregon, Eugene UPCC: United Presbyterian Church in the USA, Board of Christian Education, Correspondence and Other Papers on Sexuality and the Human Community, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, Pa. WP: Washington Post WPF: Working Papers folder WRE-NC: Weekday Religious Education Record Group, North Carolina Council of Churches Papers, Division of Archives and History, State Archives, Raleigh


Preface to the Second Edition 1. James Davison Hunter, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America (New York: Basic Books, 1991), 42; Andrew R. Murphy, Prodigal Nation: Moral Decline and Divine Punishment from New England to 9/11 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 142. 2. James Davison Hunter, “Reflections on the Culture War Hypothesis,” in The American Culture Wars: Current Contests and Future Prospects, ed. James L. Nolan Jr. (Charlottesville, Va.: University Press of Virginia, 1996), 233; idem., Before the Shooting Begins: Searching for Democracy in America’s Culture War (New York: Free Press, 1994), 8; idem., Culture Wars, xii, 174, 198. 3. Testimony of Mary Flunn, Minutes of State Board of Education Hearing on Family Life Education Programs, 8 April 1980, II: 151, accession 1997.025, NJSBE; Gary B. Nash, Charlotte Crabtree, and Ross E. Dunn, History on Trial: Culture Wars and the Teaching of the Past (New York: Knopf, 1997), 101, 199, 235. 4. See, e.g., Andrew Hartman, A War for the Soul of America: History of the Culture Wars, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019 [2015]); Stephen R. Prothero, Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections) (New York: HarperOne, 2016); Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), esp. 213–217; Kristy L. Slominski, Teaching Moral Sex: A History of Religion and Sex Education in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), esp. 250–254. 5. Hunter, Culture Wars, 201; Katherine Stewart, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children (New York: Public Affairs, 2012), 250. 6. Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017), 570; Prothero, Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars, 241; Adam Laats, Creationism USA: Bridging the Impasse on Teaching Evolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), 175, 181.

2 6 4 * No t e s t o I n t roduc t ion 7. Sam Wineburg, Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 51. 8. Jonathan Zimmerman, Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002), 222.

Introduction 1. Walter Lippmann, American Inquisitors (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1993 [1928]), 22–23. 2. See Todd Gitlin, The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked by Culture Wars (New York: Henry Holt, 1995). 3. Jonathan Zimmerman, “Bible Can Be Tool to Further Agenda of Liberals, Too,” Denver Rocky Mountain News, 9 July 2000, 3B. 4. Lippmann, American Inquisitors, 8. 5. George C. Wallace, “State of Alabama Proclamation by the Governor” (ms, 27 Nov. 1972), enclosed with J. Rupert Picott to “Executive Council Members,” 2 Jan. 1973, folder 11, box 88, Raymond P. Alexander Papers, University of Pennsylvania Archives. 6. Lippmann, American Inquisitors, xxxv. On the supposed retreat from public affairs see George Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelism, 1870–1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980); Joel A. Carpenter, Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism (New York: Oxford, 1997). 7. Joan DelFattore, What Johnny Shouldn’t Read: Textbook Censorship in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 80–81. 8. Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017), 434, 610; “Baptists Turn from Public Schools,” News and Observer [Raleigh, N.C.], 26 Aug. 2007. 9. Adam B. Lerner, “History Class Becomes a Debate on America,” Politico, 21 Feb. 2015. 10. Michael J. Petrilli, “Pity the History Teachers,” Fordham Institute, 8 July 2020.

Part One 1. Frederick Bausman, “Under Which Flag?” American Mercury, Oct. 1927; “The Spotlight Shifts from Tennessee to Chicago,” Chicago Tribune, 25 Oct. 1927, both in “Chicago Text Book fight, Bill Thompson and burning of books” folder; “Those Chicago Textbooks,” Publishers Weekly, 29 Oct. 1927, “Big Bill Thompson” folder, all in Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Papers (in Schlesinger’s possession).

Chapter One 1. Horace M. Kallen, “Culture and the Klan,” in Culture and Democracy in the United States (New York: Arno, 1970 [1924]), 41–43.

No t e s t o C h a p t e r On e * 2 6 5 2. “Patriotic Organizations Appeal for School History Bill” (ms, 1924), 2, “Chicago Text Book Fight, Bill Thompson and burning of books” folder, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Papers (in Schlesinger’s possession); M. S. Waters, “Urges Definite Action to Prevent Un-American Instruction of Youth,” Newark Evening News, 29 Jan. 1924; Kallen, “Americanization and the Cultural Prospect,” in Culture and Democracy, 132, 139. Dewey, “Nationalizing Education,” in idem., The Middle Works, 1899– 1924, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1976), 10: 205. 3. “Patriotic Organizations Appeal for School History Bill,” 1; “Denounce Efforts to Censor History,” Trenton Times, 19 Feb. 1924, 3; D.A.P., “Maintains School History Revisers Will Be Guided by Study of Facts,” Newark Evening News, 1 Feb. 1924, 13; “Steubenites Celebrate the Fourth,” unidentified clipping enclosed with John Grossghbauer to George S. Silzer, 16 July 1923, box 26, folder 148C, George S. Silzer Papers, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton. 4. See, e.g., Paul A. Carter, Another Part of the Twenties (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977); Stanley Coben, Rebellion against Victorianism: The Impetus for Cultural Change in 1920s America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); William E. Leuchtenberg, The Perils of Prosperity, 1914– 1932, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993). But see Lynn Dumenil, “The Tribal Twenties: ‘Assimilated’ Catholics’ Response to Anti-Catholicism in the 1920s,” Journal of American Ethnic History 11 (Fall 1991): 43. 5. William G. Ross, Forging New Freedoms: Nativism, Education, and the Constitution, 1917–1927 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994), chs. 3–4, 7–8; David Tyack, “The Perils of Pluralism: The Background of the Pierce Case,” AHR 74 (Oct. 1968): 74–98. 6. Edward F. McSweeney [hereafter EFM], “Address to Supreme Convention,” 2 Aug. 1922, in “EFM, Address to Supreme Convention, August 1922” folder, KCHC; EFM, “Racial Contributions to America,” Columbia 3 ( June 1924): 8. 7. Harold Underwood Faulkner, “Perverted American History,” Harper’s 152 (Feb. 1926): 338. 8. David Saville Muzzey, An American History (Boston: Ginn, 1911), iii; idem., An American History (Boston: Ginn, 1925), iii, iv. See also James Harvey Robinson, The New History: Essays Illustrating the Modern Historical Outlook (New York: Macmillan, 1912). 9. Muzzey, American History (1911), 107; (1925), 90. 10. Ibid. (1911), 128, 130; (1925), 110–111. 11. Interviews with David S. Muzzey, Feb.–April 1956, p. 39, Oral History Research Office, Columbia University Libraries; Gary B. Nash, Charlotte Crabtree, and Ross E. Dunn, History on Trial: Culture Wars and the Teaching of the Past (New York: Knopf, 1997), 29; “History Inquiry Ordered by Hylan,” NYT, 7 Dec. 1921, 36; “Hirshfield to Set Our History Right,” NYT, 30 Dec. 1921, 20; “Hirshfield Finds Heroes for History,” NYT, 4 Feb. 1922, 24; Bessie Louise Pierce, Public Opinion and the Teaching of History in the United States (New York: Knopf, 1926), 281; “There Need Be No Unwritten Chapters,” American Hebrew 110 (10 Feb. 1922): 353.

2 6 6 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r On e 12. EFM, “Memorandum to the Supreme Directors,” 30 March 1923, “Sub-committee of Supreme Board On Historical Commission Report, Jan. 1923” folder, KCHC. Douglas Bukowski, Big Bill Thompson, Chicago, and the Politics of Image (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), ch. 7; Walter Lippmann, American Inquisitors (New Brunswick: Transaction, 1993 [1928]), 26–27. 13. See, e.g., Claude Van Tyne [hereafter CVT], “A Questionable History,” NYT, 24 July 1925, 12; Faulkner, “Perverted American History,” 344; “Historical News and Comments,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 14 (March 1928): 575. 14. CVT to Arthur Pound, 30 Nov. 1918; M. E. Osborne to Jessie McLean, 5 April 1918, both in folder 39, box 2, CVTP; John E. Moser, Twisting the Lion’s Tail: American Anglophobia between the World Wars (New York: New York University Press, 1999), 4. 15. David Matteson to EFM, 20 Feb. 1922, “Report of Proceedings, Feb. 1922” folder, KCHC; Lippmann, American Inquisitors, 68. 16. Oliver L. Spaulding to CVT, 11 March 1928, folder 29, box 2, CVTP; Henrik Willem Van Loon, “‘Big Bill’ Thompson,” Outlook 148 (8 Feb. 1928): 207; EFM to Luke Hart, 15 Jan. 1923, “Correspondence, 1923, Jan.–March” folder, KCHC; F. G. Wickware to CVT, 14 Dec. 1921, folder 21; Andrew C. McLaughlin to CVT, 2 Sept. 1923, folder 24, both in box 1, CVTP; Muzzey, American History (1911), 128; David Matteson to EFM, 20 Feb. 1922, “Report of Proceedings, Feb. 1922” folder, KCHC; Official Bulletin of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution 18 (June 1923): 67; Frances Fitzgerald, America Revised (New York: Vintage, 1979), 21, 107. In the preface to their 1925 edition the Beards boasted that they had omitted “biographies of heroes” and “all descriptions of battles,” emphasizing instead the “causes and results of wars.” But in fact they excluded almost all economic analysis and provided graphic descriptions of Revolutionary heroes, especially of “Foreign Officers” who aided the American cause. Charles A. and Mary R. Beard, History of the United States (New York: Macmillan, 1925), v–vii, 118–121. 17. Fitzgerald, America Revised, 59; Theodore D. Gottlieb, “Patriot League for History Now Declared Vindicated,” Sunday Call, 20 June 1926, “Miscellaneous Correspondence, Pre-WWII” folder, box 12, Carleton J. H. Hayes Papers, Manuscripts Collections, Columbia University Libraries; “Patriotic Organizations Appeal for School History Bill,” 17, 14; “Chicago Buys History, Paying $1.50 a Word,” NYT, 7 Dec. 1927, 29; Chicago Board of Education, Lest We Forget: Lafayette, Von Steuben, Kosciusko, Pulaski, DeKalb, John Barry, The Distinguished Patriots from Europe Who Volunteered Their Services and Fought Valiantly in the Revolutionary War for the Liberty of America. Betsy Ross. The American Flag. Yankee Doodle (Chicago, 1927); typescript of testimony by John J. Gorman, n.d. [1927], folder 7, box 10, BLPP. 18. “Witness Reveals Britain’s Hand in School Histories,” Irish World and American Industrial Laborer, 26 Nov. 1927, 2; Dixon Ryan Fox, “Mayor Thompson and the American Revolution,” Contemporary Review 134 (Nov. 1928): 607; David Hirshfield, Report on the Investigation of Pro-British History Text-Books in Use in the Public Schools of the City of New York (n.p., 25 May 1923), 60–68; “Hirshfield Asks Ban on 8 Histories as Pro-British,” NYT, 4 June 1923, 13; Andrew C.

No t e s t o C h a p t e r On e * 2 67








McLaughlin to Bessie Pierce, n.d. [May 1922], folder 8, box 13, BLPP; EFM, Americans, Wake Up! (n.p., [1921?]), cabinet Q-R, KCHC. Arthur M. Schlesinger, New Viewpoints in American History (New York: Macmillan, 1922), ch. 1; William Morris, “Barring of Hayes’ Text-Book of History Opens Up Big Question—What Is History? The Standard Should Be Truth, Not Prejudice,” Brooklyn Standard Union, 3 May 1930, “Clippings on World History Textbook Controversy” folder, box 11, Hayes Papers; W. H. Thompson, “Are We Victims of British Propaganda? I—Patriots and Propagandists,” Forum 79 (April 1928): 509. Schlesinger’s New Viewpoints was not actually used in Chicago public schools. Yet the Thompson “trial” revealed that the book was on the reading list of a course for teachers at the University of Chicago, prompting at least one witness— herself a teacher—to suggest that Schlesinger “should be filling a cell in a Federal prison.” Arthur M. Schlesinger, In Retrospect: The History of a Historian (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1963), 104–105; “Viereck Co-adjutor to Thompson’s Aid,” NYT, 3 Nov. 1927, 2. EFM to Burton J. Hendrick, 6 Nov. 1923, “Correspondence, Nov.–Dec. 1923” folder; Memorandum to the Supreme Board of the Knights of Columbus from the Knights of Columbus Historical Commission, 7 Oct. 1923, 3, “Subcommittee of Supreme Board on Historical Commission Report, Jan. 1923” folder, both in KCHC; EFM to Diarmuid Lynch, 22 June 1922, folder 1, box 11, Daniel F. Cohalan Papers, American Irish Historical Society, New York; “To Spur the Study of History,” NYT, 29 May 1921, 5. Bessie Pierce to Bruce Bliven, 4 June 1923, folder 5, box 8, BLPP; Frank Donnelly to “Reverend and Dear Father,” 18 April 1919; Friends of Irish Freedom and Associated Societies, America’s Debt to Ireland (n.p., n.d. [1919]), both in folder 11, box 7, Cohalan Papers; Edward Cuddy, “‘Are the Bolsheviks any worse than the Irish?’: Ethno-Religious Conflict in America during the 1920s,” Eire-Ireland 11, no. 3 (1976): 15; Daniel T. O’Connell, “Senator Williams’ False Statements Refuted,” Irish National Bureau press release, 21 Oct. 1919, folder 12, box 12, Cohalan Papers; James Sullivan to CVT, 27 Feb. 1922, folder 44, box 2, CVTP. Concord Society of America, Year Book 1927 (Detroit: Herold Printing, 1928), 37–38; Souvenir Program, Grand Ball and Pageant, Steuben Society of America for the Metropolitan District of New York (n.p., 28 Jan. 1926), 21–23, both in scrapbook 8, box 2, Carl Ernest Schmidt Papers, Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor; Theo H. Hoffmann, “July Fourth” (ms, 1928), folder 2, box 1, Steuben Society of America Collection, Princeton University Libraries. “History Must ‘Go,’” NYT, 20 Nov. 1927, III: 4; “Handy History Seats Heroes in Wrong Pews,” Chicago Tribune, 6 Feb. 1928, “Chicago Text Book Fight” folder, Schlesinger Papers; Lest We Forget, 8–9; “Dutch and Italians Ask History Change,” NYT, 16 Nov. 1927, 11; Souvenir Program, 5, 2; Concord Society, Year Book 1927, 42. “Thompson Will Get Indians’ Complaint,” NYT, 7 Nov. 1927, 25; “American Heroes,” Chicago Defender, 10 Dec. 1927, II: 2; letter by Arnett Voneydoar Eskridge, “As Heroes Pass in Review,” ibid., 17 Nov. 1927, II: 2. Charles H. Wesley, Negro History in the School Curriculum (Washington: Howard

2 6 8 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r On e

26. 27.

28. 29.







University Press, 1925), 18; “Mayor Thompson in a War Dance,” NYT, 2 Dec. 1927, 5; “History as It Is Written,” Negro World, 19 Nov. 1927, 4; Floyd Logan to Edwin C. Broome, 19 Jan. 1932, folder 13, box 6, Floyd Logan Papers, Urban Archives, Temple University; Howard K. Beale, Are American Teachers Free? An Analysis of Restraints upon the Freedom of Teaching in American Schools (New York: Scribner’s, 1936), 197; William Pickens, “The Negro in American History,” New York Age, 4 March 1922. “Revising School Histories,” New York Age, 26 Nov. 1927, 4; “Mayor Thompson in a War Dance.” “What Is Patriotism?” New York Age, 5 Nov. 1927, 4; M. S. Waters, “Urges Definite Action to Prevent un-American Instruction of Youth,” Newark Evening News, 29 Jan. 1924, 13; Gail S. Carter, “‘America First’ Bluff Wrecks ‘Big Bill,’” Kourier (June 1928): 29–32, folder 14, box 2, Crown Point Ku Klux Klan Collection, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis. Morris, “Barring of Hayes’ Text-Book.” W. I. Lincoln Adams, “The Proper Teaching of History,” Official Bulletin of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution 17 (Dec. 1922): 18; Wallace McCammant, “Report of Committee on Patriotic Education,” ibid. 18 (June 1923): 66. J. L. O’Connor to EFM, 5 March 1923, “Correspondence, 1923, Jan.– March” folder, KCHC; Pierce, Public Opinion, 101; Albert Kerr Heckel, “Pure History and Patriotism,” Historical Outlook 16 (March 1925): 106; EFM, Attempt of British to “DeAmericanize Americans” (n.p., n.d. [1920]), folder 2, box 18, Cohalan Papers; EFM, Americans, Wake Up, 3. EFM, address, 2 Aug. 1922, “EFM, Address to Supreme Convention, August 1922” folder, 10, KCHC; Charles Edward Russell, Bare Hands and Stone Walls: Some Recollections of a Side-Line Reformer (New York: Scribner’s, 1936), 339–340; J. M. Wall, “Jefferson’s Immortal Masterpiece,” Journal of the American-Irish Historical Society 25 (Jan. 1926): 281–282. Philip R. V. Curoe, Educational Attitudes and Policies of Organized Labor (New York: Arno, 1969 [1926]), 116; John H. Reddin, “The National History Movement,” Columbia 1 (Nov. 1921): 21. Wallace McCammant to Jesse A. Ellsworth, 16 June 1924, “World History Correspondence” folder, box 11, Hayes Papers; Official Bulletin of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution 18 ( June 1923): 67; A. H. Conner, Should the “History of the American People” by Willis Mason West Be Used as a School Text Book? (n.p., n.d. [1923]), “Big Bill Thompson” folder, Schlesinger Papers. “Cashman Speech Put in State Records,” Milwaukee Telegram, n.d., enclosed with J. L. O’Connor to EFM, 5 March 1923, “Correspondence, 1923, Jan–March” folder, KCHC; Pierce, Public Opinion, 272–273. See, e.g., George N. Fuller to CVT, 26 Sept. 1921, folder 21, box 1; Edith Scott to CVT, 20 Sept. 1927, folder 28, box 2; J. Holland Rose to CVT, folder 28, box 2, all in CVTP; S. B. Duncan, “American-English History,” Oregon Teachers Monthly 26 (April 1922): 1–3, “Chicago Text Book Fight” folder, Schlesinger Papers.

No t e s t o C h a p t e r On e * 2 6 9 36. J.T., “Point as to Discoverer of America in Discussing History Text Books,” Newark Evening News, 25 Jan. 1924, 13; clipping, n.p., n.d. [Boston], “Declaration Av Indipindense,” folder 4, box 11, Cohalan Papers; “Introducing Abraham of House of Linkhorn,” Dallas News, 26 Oct. 1924, scrapbook 9, box 8, Schmidt Papers. 37. “Loyal Coalition” leaflet, n.d., n.p., enclosed with Margaret Rooney to Daniel F. Cohalan, 29 April 1920, folder 13, box 10, Cohalan Papers; J.T., “Point as to Discoverer of America”; A Teacher, “School Books under Fire,” NYT, 13 Dec. 1921, 18; H. H. Powers to CVT, 11 Nov. 1923, folder 24; M. M. Yates to Van Tyne, 15 Nov. 1921, folder 21, both in box 1, CVTP. 38. Carleton J. H. Hayes, Essays on Nationalism (New York: Russell and Russell, 1966 [1926]), 243. 39. Concord Society, Year Book 1927, 27. 40. Randolph Bourne, “Trans-National America,” in idem., History of a Literary Radical and Other Essays, ed. Van Wyck Brooks (New York: B. W. Huebsch, 1920), 297; Kallen, Culture and Democracy, 124–125; Dewey, “School as a Means of Developing a Social Consciousness,” in Middle Works, 155, 154, 153. 41. Gary Gerstle, “The Protean Character of American Liberalism,” AHR 99 (Oct. 1994): 1060; idem., Working-Class Americanism: The Politics of Labor in a Textile City, 1914–1960 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 3–4; idem., “Liberty, Coercion, and the Making of Americans,” Journal of American History 84 (Sept. 1997): 557n74. 42. “No Propagandist, Says Mrs. Stetson,” NYT, 6 March 1924, 9; “Attacks Mrs. Stetson at Anthem Hearing,” NYT, 21 March 1924, 9; Joseph T. Griffin to Augusta Stetson, 14 June 1922, “Correspondence—1922” folder, KCHC.

Chapter Two 1. “Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors, Feb. 8, 1932,” frames 430–431, reel 2, The Papers of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, part I (Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America, 1982); Charles Edward Russell to W. E. B. Du Bois, 12 Oct. 1932, frames 613–614, reel 37, The Papers of W. E. B. Du Bois (New York: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1980); Russell to James Weldon Johnson, 18 Oct. 1933, folder 3, box 17, Rachel Davis DuBois Papers, Immigration History Research Center, St. Paul, Minn. 2. “Muzzey’s History, Adopted as Text Book in Virginia, Is Held Unfair to the South,” Richmond News Leader, 23 Jan. 1932, book C-9, p. 98, Confederate Memorial Literary Society Scrapbooks, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Va.; “John Tyler’s Son,” NYT, 18 Feb. 1932, 20; “Northern Idols Taken for a Ride in Muzzey Row,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 25 Feb. 1932, book C-9, p. 99, Confederate Memorial Literary Society Scrapbooks. For Black attacks on Muzzey’s An American History, see W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction (Milwood, N.Y.: Kraus-Thomson, 1976 [1935]), 712; Charles Edward Russell, “Civil War History as Taught in Certain Textbooks” (ms, [1935?]), “Civil War History” folder, box 37, Charles Edward Russell Papers, Library of Congress.

270 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r T wo 3. See, e.g., Mary B. Poppenheim, “Objections to Eggleston’s History” (ms, n.d.), enclosed with Martha B. Washington circular, 6 June 1905, “UDC” folder, box 1, James Mercer Garnett Papers, Alderman Library, University of Virginia; Mildred L. Rutherford [hereafter MLR], Historical Sins of Omission and Commission (n.p., 1915), vol. 4, item 47, MLR Scrapbooks, Museum of the Confederacy; typescript review of Muzzey, American History, n.d [1922], “Correspondence and Statements in re Controversy ‘Muzzey’s History’ 1921–22” folder, box 1, Textbook Correspondence, Office of Superintendent, Records of the Dept. of Public Instruction, Division of Archives and History, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh. 4. “History! Whose History? Written by Whom?” The State [Columbia, S.C.], 30 May 1914, “Miscellany” folder, box 2, United Daughters of the Confederacy Papers, Museum of the Confederacy. 5. Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The “Objectivity Question” and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 76; Michael Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture (New York: Vintage, 1993), 416; Thomas J. Pressly, Americans Interpret Their Civil War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954). 6. On the archival and monographic contributions of men like Du Bois, see, e.g., Jacqueline Goggin, Carter G. Woodson: A Life in Black History (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1993); August Meier and Elliott Rudwick, Black History and the Historical Profession, 1915–1980 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986). 7. Many historians emphasize sectional reconciliation after the Spanish-American War; see, e.g., Gaines M. Foster, Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the Emergence of the New South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 145–191; Cecelia Elizabeth O’Leary, “‘Blood Brotherhood’: The Racialization of Patriotism, 1865–1918,” in Bonds of Affection: Americans Define Their Patriotism, ed. John Bodnar (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), 53–81; Nina Silber, The Romance of Reunion: Northerners and the South, 1865–1900 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993), esp. 159–196. By contrast, I agree with Michael Kammen that beneath America’s patina of sectional harmony lay “a roiling sea of inter-regional rivalries and resentments.” Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory, 376–377. 8. Fred Arthur Bailey, William Edward Dodd: The South’s Yeoman Scholar (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997), 81. 9. Angie Parrott, “‘Love Makes Memory Eternal’: The United Daughters of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, 1897–1920,” in The Edge of the South: Life in 19th-Century Virginia, ed. Edward L. Ayers and John C. Willis (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991), 221. 10. To Promote Patriotic Study in the Public Schools, Report of Special Committee Appointed by Col. Albert D. Shaw . . . (n.p., 1897), folder 5, box 81, Grand Army of the Republic Papers, New York State Library, Albany; Stephen D. Lee, History Committee, Interesting Report Submitted to United Confederate Veterans Yesterday . . . (n.p., 1897), Broadsides Collection, Alderman Library, University of Virginia; “General Stephen D. Lee, Chairman, Presents the Report of the Historical Committee to

No t e s t o C h a p t e r T wo * 27 1







17. 18.


Confederate Reunion” (n.p., 1898), book R-3, pp. 48–49, Confederate Memorial Literary Society Scrapbooks; James H. M’Neilly, “History as It Should Be Written,” Confederate Veteran 30 (Jan. 1922): 13–14. Journal of the Thirty-Fourth National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic (Philadelphia: Town Printing, 1901), 143; Journal of the Thirty-Eighth Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic (Chicago: M. Umbdenstock, 1904), 245–246; George L. Christian, Official Report of the History Committee of the Grand Camp, Confederate Veterans, Department of Virginia (n.p., 1902), 28; Sophie Lea to Mrs. James Mercer Garnett, 10 May 1904, “UDC—Papers and Pamphlets” folder, box 1, Garnett Papers. O’Leary, “Blood Brotherhood,” 67; Foster, Ghosts of the Confederacy, 172; Parrott, “Love Makes Memory Eternal,” 221; Mary D. Carter to Claude Van Tyne [hereafter CVT], 13 Aug. 1925; Carter to CVT, 1 Aug. 1925, both in folder 47, box 2, CVTP. Fred Arthur Bailey, “Mildred Lewis Rutherford and the Patrician Cult of the Old South,” Georgia Historical Quarterly 77 (Fall 1994): 530–532; Grace Elizabeth Hale, “‘Some Women Have Never Been Reconstructed’: Mildred Lewis Rutherford, Lucy M. Stanton, and the Racial Politics of White Southern Womanhood, 1900–1930,” in Georgia in Black and White: Explorations in the Race Relations of a Southern State, 1865–1950, ed. John Inscoe (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994), 182; MLR, A Measuring Rod to Test Text Books . . . (n.p., 1919), 5. MLR, An Open Letter to all State Historians, Chairmen of Historical Committees and Chapter Historians . . . (Athens, Ga.: McGregor Co., n.d. [1911]), item 18; Address Delivered by Miss Mildred L. Rutherford . . . (n.p., 1914), p. 16, item 35, both in vol. 4, MLR Scrapbooks; “Confederates Assert Lincoln Forced War; Call for ‘Fair’ Schools Histories in South,” NYT, 22 June 1922, 1; Miss Rutherford’s Scrap Book 2 (Sept. 1924), 5; Address Delivered by Miss MLR, 28. Action of R. E. Lee Camp No. 1; Minutes of the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the UDC, 198; “Report of Historical Committee of Louisiana Division United Confederate Veterans” (ms, 1904), “The Genesis of Secession” folder, box 1, Garnett Papers; Fred Arthur Bailey, “Free Speech and the ‘Lost Cause’ in Texas: A Study of Social Control in the New South,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 97, no. 3 (1994): 464. Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Grand Camp Confederate Veterans, Department of Virginia (Richmond: William Ellis Jones, 1897), 27; Bailey, “Free Speech,” 469; “Report of Historical Committee of Louisiana Division United Confederate Veterans”; Christian, Official Report, 27. See, e.g., Adelia A. Dunovant, Truthful History (Houston: J. J. Pastoriza, 1898), “Address: Truthful Histories” folder, box 9, UDC Papers; Christian, Official Report, 27. Christian, Official Report, 27; “Protest against False Histories,” Confederate Veteran 21 (Jan. 1913): 38; Minutes of the Thirtieth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (Jackson, Miss.: McCowat-Mercer, 1923), 165. Report of the Historian-General, Mrs. J. Enders Robinson, to the General Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (n.p., 1911), 8, “Report of the HistorianGeneral” folder, box 6, UDC Papers; Mrs. B. M. Howorth to “Dear Sir,” 15 Jan. 1912, item 83, vol. 3, MLR Scrapbooks; Elise Dodson, The Story of Slavery in Virginia

27 2 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r T wo


21. 22.



25. 26.




(n.p., 1915), 1, 11, “‘Historical Work’ of Rawley Martin Chapter, Daughters of Confederacy, for year 1914–1915” scrapbook, box 13, UDC Papers. Pressly, Americans Interpret Their Civil War, 237–238; Novick, That Noble Dream, 229–230; Albert Bushnell Hart to MLR, 24 Jan. 1917; MLR to Hart, 29 Jan. 1917, both in “Rutherford, M” folder, box 22, accession 4448.6, Albert Bushnell Hart Papers, Harvard University Archives; Hale, “Some Women,” 176. See also Mary D. Carter to CVT, 1 Aug. 1925; Carter to CVT, 13 Aug. 1925, both in folder 47, box 2, CVTP. J. T. Jenkins to The Independant, 27 March 1905, accession 4448.27, box 1, Hart Papers. R. H. Dabney et al. to History Committee, 11 April 1899, History Committee Records, Papers of the Grand Camp Confederate Veterans, Library of Virginia, Richmond; Howard K. Beale, Are American Teachers Free? An Analysis of Restraints upon the Freedom of Teaching in American Schools (New York: Scribner’s, 1936), 177; Bessie Louise Pierce, Public Opinion and the Teaching of History in the United States (New York: Knopf, 1926), 265; Matthew Page Andrews to MLR, 5 July 1923, folder 15, box 1, Mildred Lewis Rutherford Papers, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia, Athens; Arthur H. Jennings to Bessie Louise Pierce, 12 Aug. 1923; Jennings to Pierce, 2 Aug. 1923, both in folder 1, box 15, BLPP. See, e.g., Criticism of the History of the American People by Beard and Bagley (n.p., n.d. [1921]), “Correspondence—1922” folder, box 2, Textbook Correspondence, Office of Superintendent, North Carolina State Archives. Pressly, Americans Interpret Their Civil War, 207–208; Meier and Rudwick, Black History and the Historical Profession, 3; Accomplishments and Program of the History Committee, Sons of Confederate Veterans (n.p., 1938), 10–11. Criticism of the History of the American People by Beard and Bagley, 2, 6; Du Bois, Black Reconstruction, 714–715. Carter G. Woodson [hereafter CGW], “Negro History in Its Proper Setting,” New York Age, 15 Feb. 1936, 6; “Negro History Week: The Eleventh Year,” JNH 21 (April 1936): 106. See Goggin, Carter G. Woodson, ch. 6; Lorenzo J. Greene, Working with Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History: A Diary, 1928–1930, ed. Arvarh E. Strickland (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989). I have relied especially on Goggin, Carter G. Woodson; Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Meier and Rudwick, Black History and the Historical Profession; and David Levering Lewis, W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868–1919 (New York: Henry Holt, 1993). F. L. Hoffman to CGW, 8 July 1925, frame 336, reel 3, Carter G. Woodson Papers, Library of Congress; Goggin, Carter G. Woodson, 22; Arthur A. Schomburg, “The Negro Digs Up His Past” [1925], in Voices from the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Nathan Irvin Huggins (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 221. Agnes M. Roche, “Carter G. Woodson and the Development of Transformative Scholarship,” in Multicultural Education, Transformative Knowledge, and Action,

No t e s t o C h a p t e r T wo * 27 3

30. 31.








ed. James A. Banks (New York: Teachers College Press, 1996), 99–100; Goggin, Carter G. Woodson, 84–85; CGW, “The Celebration of Negro History Week, 1927,” JNH 12 (April 1927): 105–107. CGW, “Negro History Week: The Fourth Year,” JNH 14 (April 1929): 113; Greene, Working with Woodson, xxvii, 203. Greene, Working with Woodson, 225–226; idem., Selling Black History for Carter G. Woodson: A Diary, 1930–1933, ed. Arvarh E. Strickland (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1996), 56–57; “Negro History Week: The Tenth Year,” JNH 20 (April 1935): 127; “S.C. Elementary Schools to Use Negro Text Books,” Call [Kansas City], 25 Aug. 1939; “Negro Textbooks in the Public Schools,” Black Dispatch [Oklahoma City], 26 Aug. 1939, both in frame 155, reel 63, Tuskegee Institute News Clipping File (Tuskegee, Ala.: Tuskegee Institute, 1978). “Interracial Aspect of Historical Meeting Next Week Looms Large,” Journal and Guide [Norfolk], 7 July 1931, file 000.362–1, SCF; “Negro History Week: The Tenth Year,” 127; Luther P. Jackson, “The Work of the Association and Its People,” JNH 20 (Oct. 1935): 390–391; “School News,” NHB 1 (Nov. 1937): 3; “Books,” NHB 2 (Oct. 1938): 6. ASNLH press release, 8 Feb. 1937, folder 1, box 366, Claude A. Barnett Papers, Chicago Historical Society; “School News,” NHB 1 (Feb. 1938): 7; Thomas L. Dabney, “The Study of the Negro,” JNH 19 ( July 1934): 270–274; “School News,” NHB 1 (Oct. 1937): 8; “Negro History to Be Taught in Beaumont Colored School,” Informer [Houston], 9 Feb. 1935, frame 259, reel 50, Tuskegee Clipping File. CGW to Mary Church Terrell, 3 Feb. 1928, frame 279, reel 6, Mary Church Terrell Papers, Library of Congress; Greene, Working with Woodson, 391; CGW, “Only One in Ten Thousand Interested in Racial History (ms, 31 July 1935),” folder 1, box 370, Barnett Papers; “Selling the Negro to Negroes,” St. Louis Argus, 11 Nov. 1932, file 005.861–1, SCF. Ella W. Parker, “Suggestions for the Elementary School,” NHB 2 (Feb. 1939): 40–41; Greene, Selling Black History, 200, 133; CGW, “Only One in Ten Thousand Interested,” 11; CGW, The Mis-Education of the Negro (Washington: Associated Publishers, 1933), 132, 138; CGW, “Negro History Week, Negro History Year,” New York Age, 21 Dec. 1935, 11. “Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors, Dec. 12, 1932,” frame 506, reel 2, part I; William Pickens to Branch Officers, 17 Feb. 1938, frame 161, reel 1, part 19A; Pickens to “Branches and Youth Groups,” 17 May 1939, frame 195, reel 1, part 19A, all in NAACP Papers; Helen Boardman to Charles Edward Russell, 26 Nov. 1937, pp. 3881–84, vol. 20, Russell Papers; “Textbook Survey for Youth Councils” (ms, n.d. [1938]), frame 169, reel 1, part 19A, NAACP Papers; NAACP, Anti-Negro Propaganda in School Textbooks (New York, 1939), 16. See, e.g., Carleton Mabee, Black Education in New York State: From Colonial to Modern Times (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1979), 273; Beale, Are American Teachers Free, 312; Michael Homel, Down from Equality: Black Chicagoans and the Public Schools, 1920–1941 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984), 115. Thomas F. Armstrong Jr., “The Public Educational Programs of Selected Lay

274 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r T wo





43. 44. 45.



Organizations in Pennsylvania” (Ph.D. diss., Temple University, 1947), 293; “Report of Miss Ovington on Textbook Investigation by Mr. Reddick” (ms, 4 April 1938), frame 558, reel 8, part 16A, NAACP Papers; Gloria Oden, “My Discoveries” (ms, 1939), folder 14, box 17, Rachel Davis DuBois Papers. Lawrence D. Reddick, “Racial Attitudes in American History Textbooks of the South,” JNH 19 (July 1934): 264–265; Frank Marshall Davis, “Now Is Strategic Time to Start Improving Our School Textbooks,” Call [Kansas City], 6 Aug. 1943, frame 119, reel 83; “Fight for Negro History Course in California Schools,” Black Dispatch [Oklahoma City], 27 Aug. 1938, frame 951, reel 58, both in Tuskegee Clipping File. W. E. B. Du Bois to Charles Edward Russell, 7 Oct. 1932, frame 611, reel 37, Du Bois Papers; “Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors, Sept. 12, 1933,” frames 548–549, reel 2, part I, NAACP Papers; “Committee on What We Should Teach the Negro about Himself and about Others in Relation to Himself, Makes Report,” New York Age, 23 Dec. 1933, file 005–861–1, SCF; “Timely Suggestions for Negro History Week,” NHB 1 (Feb. 1938): 12; “History Week and What It Means,” Chicago Defender, 23 Jan. 1932, file 003–562–1, SCF. Willis N. Huggins and John G. Jackson, An Introduction to African Civilizations, with Main Currents in Ethiopian History (New York: Avon House, 1937), 143; Mrs. Booker T. Washington to Mary Church Terrell, 20 Sept. 1922, frame 384, reel 5, Terrell Papers; “Negro History Needed,” Amsterdam News, 28 Feb. 1931; “Negro History Week,” ibid., 9 Feb. 1931, both in file 003–562–1, SCF. Although the term “Afrocentrism” was not coined until the early 1960s, I use it here as Wilson J. Moses does: to connote “the idea that African-Americans were essentially African, and that the solutions to their problems must be discovered within a Pan-African context.” Moses, Afrotopia, 2, 13. George Wells Parker, “Questions and Answers in Negro History,” Michigan State News, 18 Oct. 1924, frame 18, reel 21, Tuskegee Clipping File. Moses, Afrotopia, 89–91, 93–94; letter from James Patten, “Who Started Civilization,” Chicago Defender, 5 Nov. 1927, II: 2. Moses, Afrotopia, 88–89; CGW, Negro Makers of History (Washington: Associated Publishers, 1928), 12–13; idem., The Story of the Negro Retold (Washington: Associated Publishers, 1935), 14; CGW and Charles Wesley, The Negro in Our History, 11th ed. (Washington: Associated Publishers, 1966 [1922]); idem., African Myths (Washington: Associated Publishers, 1928), ix; “The Negro in Art from Africa to America,” NHB 2 (March 1939): 49; “Africa in Discovery and Invention,” NHB 3 (March 1940): 82; CGW, “Why the Negro Lacks His Tenth,” New York Age, 4 Jan. 1936, 6; “Committee on What We Should Teach the Negro,” 3. Schomburg, “The Negro Digs Up His Past,” 220; “Negro History Week: The Eleventh Year,” 106–108; Robert G. Weisbord, Ebony Kinship: Africa, Africans, and the Afro-American (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1973), 89, 98–99; J. A. Rogers, “The Suppression of Negro History” [1940], in Modern Black Nationalism: From Marcus Garvey to Louis Farrakhan, ed. William L. Van Deburg (New York: New York University Press, 1997), 71. Lorenzo J. Greene, “Dr. Woodson Prepares for Negro History Week, 1930,” NHB 28

No t e s t o C h a p t e r T h r e e * 27 5 (May 1965): 175; Goggin, Carter G. Woodson, 152–153; “The Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World” [1920], in Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa, ed. John Henrik Clarke (New York: Vintage, 1974), 446, 451; Marcus Garvey, “History and the Negro” (1925?), in The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, ed. Robert A. Hill (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 6: 226; UNIA Convention Report, 17 Aug. 1922, ibid., 4: 897–898. 48. Marcus Garvey to Earnest S. Cox, 8 Aug. 1925, Garvey and UNIA Papers, 6: 224– 226 (italics added). 49. Eleanor Roosevelt to Charles Edward Russell, 9 Feb. 1939, p. 4117, vol. 22, Russell Papers.

Chapter Three 1. Harold Rugg, That Men May Understand: An American in the Long Armistice (New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1941), 139, 241; idem., “This Has Happened Before,” Frontiers of Democracy 7 (15 Jan. 1941): 106–107; idem., “A Study in Censorship: Good Concepts and Bad Words,” Social Education 5 (March 1941): 179. Rugg’s analysis neglected the degree to which the “new historians” had changed their textbooks to meet popular challenges; see Chapter 2. 2. Amos A. Fries to “Editor, Evening Star, Washington, D.C.,” 23 June 1925, folder 6, box 2, Amos A. Fries Papers, UO; letter from Marie J. Andrus, WP, 27 Nov. 1935, 8; “The Revision of Histories Began Twenty Years Ago,” FPSB 2 (March 1940): 3; Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919–1939 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 287; Rugg, That Men May Understand, 252. 3. See, e.g., Harold Rugg, “The American Way of Progress,” Scholastic, 13 April 1935, item 124; “Teaching Americanism,” St. Louis Dispatch, n.d. [Feb. 1940], item 147, both in vol. 2154, reel 179, American Civil Liberties Union Papers (Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1996). 4. See Alan Brinkley, The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (New York: Knopf, 1995). 5. Bergen [N.J.] Evening Record, 26 Aug. 1940, 22, quoted in Marian C. Schipper, “The Rugg Textbooks Controversy: A Study in the Relationship between Popular Political Thinking and Educational Materials” (Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1979), 159; George E. Sokolsky, “Our Children’s Guardians,” Liberty 17 (April 1940): 36. 6. See Warren Susman, “The Culture of the Thirties,” in idem., Culture as History: The Transformation of American Society in the Twentieth Century (New York: Pantheon, 1984), 150–183, esp. 153–154; Robert M. Collins, The Business Response to Keynes, 1929–1964 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981), 45–46. 7. Christopher J. Kauffman, Faith and Fraternalism: A History of the Knights of Columbus, 1882–1982 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), 261–286; William Pencak, For God and Country: The American Legion, 1919–1941 (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1989), 275–277; Hamilton Hicks, “Ours to Reason Why,” American Legion Magazine 50 (May 1941): 54.

276 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r T h r e e 8. Gary Gerstle, “The Protean Character of American Liberalism,” AHR 99 (Oct. 1994): 1063; Brinkley, End of Reform, 165–166. 9. In Introduction to the Problems of American Culture (Boston: Ginn, 1931), e.g., Harold Rugg included lengthy chapters entitled “The Immigrant in Community and Neighborhood Life” and “Assimilation of Different Nationalities and Races.” 10. Catholics, especially, praised the textbooks’ denunciation of laissez-faire economics; see, e.g., Joseph J. Panzer, “Rugged Collectivism,” Catholic School Journal 41 (Sept. 1941): 228. 11. Howard K. Beale, Are American Teachers Free? An Analysis of Restraints upon the Freedom of Teaching (New York: Scribner’s, 1936), 304–305; “Hayes-Moon History Stigmatized as Unfit,” unidentified clipping, 17 Oct. 1927; “English Union World Menace, Says Russell,” New York Herald Tribune, 17 Nov. 1927; “Hayes History Used in Chicago, Board Is Told,” ibid., 18 Nov. 1927, all in “Clippings on World History Textbooks Controversy” folder, box 11, Carleton J. H. Hayes Papers, Manuscript Division, Columbia University Libraries. 12. J. H. Beers to Carleton J. H. Hayes, 29 April 1930; “City Bars Professor Hayes’ History,” NYT, 2 May 1930; “Memorandum of conversation” (ms, 3 May 1930), all in “Miscellaneous Correspondence, Pre-WWII” folder, box 12, Hayes Papers. 13. “Memorandum of conversation”; “Fears Red Theories in Hayes History,” NYT, 7 May 1930; “History Course Altered as Book Ban Is Defended,” New York Herald Tribune, 7 May 1930, all in “Miscellaneous Correspondence, Pre-WWII” folder, box 12, Hayes Papers. 14. See John Higham, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860–1925 (New York: Atheneum, 1965 [1955]), chs. 8–10. 15. David Tyack et al., Public Schools in Hard Times: The Great Depression and Recent Years (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984), 63; “McCarl Shuts Off Pay of All ‘Red’ Teachers ‘In or Out of Schools,’” WP, 16 Nov. 1935, 1; Carl L. Becker to W. Stull Holt, 26 Nov. 1935, in “What Is the Good of History?” Selected Letters of Carl L. Becker, 1900–1945 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1973), 232; “Board to Scan School Books for Red Views,” WP, 21 Nov. 1935, 1. 16. L. B. Shippie to Bessie Louise Pierce, 2 Dec. 1935, folder 1, box 15, BLPP; Arthur M. Schlesinger, In Retrospect: The History of a Historian (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1963), 106; Burleigh Taylor Wilkins, Carl Becker: A Biographical Study in American Intellectual History (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1961), 171–172; “Historians Hit ‘Red’ Charges against Book,” WP, 4 Nov. 1935, 1; Carl L. Becker to Editor, Washington Herald, 26 Nov. 1935, in “What Is the Good of History,” 232–234; “Board Clears Four School Books of Red Charges,” WP, 19 Dec. 1935, 1. 17. Letter from Marie Graves Bonham, WP, 27 Nov. 1935, 8; letter from Grover Ayres, WP, 1 Dec. 1935, B9; letters from Alexander Sidney Lanier, WP, 16 Nov. 1935, 6, and 26 Nov. 1935, 8. 18. George Wolfskill and John A. Hudson, All but the People: Franklin D. Roosevelt and His Critics, 1933–39 (New York: Macmillan, 1969), 193, 186– 187; Wolfskill, Happy Days Are Here Again! A Short Interpretive History of the New Deal (Hinsdale, Ill.:

No t e s t o C h a p t e r T h r e e * 27 7




22. 23. 24. 25.




Dryden, 1974), 120; Bernard Sternsher, Rexford Tugwell and the New Deal (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1964), 348–353. Beale, Are American Teachers Free, 310; “The Changing Scene,” Social Frontier 3 (Dec. 1936): 67–68; “State Board Bans Tugwell’s Book,” Wilmington Morning News, 16 Oct. 1936, 12. Ruth Wood Gavian, Society Faces the Future (Boston: D. C. Heath, 1938), 27–28, quoted in Ralph West Robey, Abstracts of Secondary School Social Science Text Books (New York: National Association of Manufacturers, 1941), item 172. And see Susman, “Culture of the Thirties,” 156. Hiram Caton, “Progressivism and Conservatism during the New Deal,” in The New Deal and Its Legacy: Critique and Reappraisal, ed. Robert Eden (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1989), 182; “Business Men Awake!” America in Danger! no. 43 (29 Nov. 1936): 2, “America in Danger” folder, box 17, Henry Bourne Joy Papers, Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor. O. K. Armstrong, Treason in the Textbooks (n.p., 1940), 3, 5, item 173, vol. 2154, reel 179, ACLU Papers. Ibid., 12, 4–5. Rugg, That Men May Understand, 74–75; Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Convention of the American Legion (1942), 18. Herbert M. Kliebard, The Struggle for the American Curriculum, 1893–1958, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 1995), 175; Elmer Arthur Winters, “Harold Rugg and Education for Social Reconstruction” (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin, 1968), 185; Edgar Bruce Wesley, Teaching the Social Studies, 2nd ed. (Boston: D. C. Heath, 1942), 56, 199; Harold Rugg to Walter Lippmann, 24 Nov. 1924, folder 1077, box 29, series I, Walter Lippmann Papers, Yale University Library; Rugg, That Men May Understand, 44. Bertie C. Forbes, “Treacherous Teachings,” Forbes 44 (15 Aug. 1939): 8; “The Battle of the Books,” American Legion Magazine 29 (Nov. 1940): 68; “Sons of the American Revolution Also Interested in Rugg Books,” FPSB 4 (Aug. 1941): 2; Alonzo F. Meyers, “The Attacks on the Rugg Books,” Frontiers of Democracy 7 (15 Oct. 1940): 19–20; “State Your Text” (ms, n.d. [1940]), “Social Science Textbook Investigation” folder, box 4, Merwin K. Hart Papers, UO; “Progress Report on Suggested Project to Stimulate Consideration of Textbooks Used in Various Public School Systems” (ms, 11 Sept. 1940), “Robey Textbook Survey” folder, box 847, NAMP. Rugg, “Study in Censorship,” 176–178. The ensuing account relies on internal correspondence reproduced in Orville Eastland Jones, “Activities of the American Legion in Textbook Analysis and Criticism, 1938–51” (Ed.D., University of Oklahoma, 1957). Since the Legion appears to have destroyed this correspondence— and since Jones copied it verbatim—I have treated his dissertation as a separate manuscript source, hereafter cited as Jones Papers. Augustin C. Rudd to Stephen Chadwick, 18 Feb. 1939, p. 12; Rudd to Chadwick, 6 March 1939, p. 13; Homer L. Chaillaux to Rudd, 9 May 1939, p. 15, all in Jones Papers. See also Pencak, For God and Country, 273.

27 8 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r T h r e e 29. Garden City Post 265 Resolution, 1940, pp. 26–27; Chaillaux to Rudd, 22 June 1940, p. 25, both in Jones Papers; “The Battle of the Books,” American Legion Magazine 29 (Nov. 1940): 2. 30. Talbot J. Taylor to Anthony S. Stumpp, 7 July 1941, p. 41; “Report of the Special Committee of Members of The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary of North Canton Post No. 419 . . . ,” 14 Oct. 1940, p. 33; Walter McDonald to Milo J. Warner, 17 June 1941, p. 39; J. W. Getsinger to Warner, 25 Nov. 1940, pp. 62–63; C. B. Smith to Elmer W. Sherwood, 26 Jan. 1941, p. 76, all in Jones Papers. 31. Editorial by Earl Elhart in Retail Executive, 28 July 1939, quoted in Helen Sorenson, The Consumer Movement: What It Is and What It Means (New York: Harper and Bros., 1941), 162–163; editorial in American Business Survey, Jan. 1940, quoted in Meyers, “Attacks on the Rugg Books,” 21–22. 32. Rugg, “Study in Censorship,” 177–178; “Confidential Analysis of the Current (1939–1940) Attacks on the Rugg Social Science Series, Prepared by Harold Rugg in May–June 1940” (ms, 1940), “Harold Rugg” folder, box 58, William F. Russell Papers, Milbank Library, Teachers College; Winters, “Rugg and Education for Social Reconstruction,” 149; Rugg, That Men May Understand, 77. 33. American Legion National Publicity Division, News Bulletin, 15 April 1941, p. 74; “What Is Taught in the Schools,” New York Sun, 19 Oct. 1940, p. 77, both in Jones Papers; “Un-American Tone Seen in Textbooks on Social Sciences,” NYT, 22 Feb. 1941, 6. 34. Schipper, “Rugg Textbook Controversy,” 130; George E. Sokolsky, “Propaganda in Our Schoolbooks,” Liberty 16 (30 Dec. 1939): 18; Fulton Oursler, “Introduction,” in George E. Sokolsky, The American Way of Life (New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1939), xiii. 35. “Professor H. O. Rugg on Carpet in Row over ‘Radical’ Texts,” Newsweek, 4 Sept. 1939, 47; “Textbooks Brought to Book,” Time, 3 March 1941, 40; “Attacks on Social Studies Textbooks,” High Points 23 ( June 1941): 6–7; “Historical News,” AHR 46 (July 1941): 1004; William G. Carr, “This Is Not Treason,” Journal of the National Education Association 29 (Nov. 1940): 237. 36. Wesley Mitchell, “General Statement on Social Science Textbooks” (ms, 1941), enclosed with M. I. Finkelstein to National Executive Committee and Committee on Textbooks, 15 March 1941, ACDIF folder 12; “Open Letter to Vierling Kersey, Superintendent of Schools, Los Angeles” (n.d. [May 1941]) enclosed with W. C. Mitchell to “Dear Colleague,” 6 May 1941, ACDIF folder 5, both in Franz Boas Papers, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. 37. “What Do We Want Taught to Our Children?” FPSB 3 (Jan. 1941): 1; Amos Fries to Lowell Mason, 29 Dec. 1942, folder 27, box 2, Fries Papers; Why Partisan Opinionated Textbooks for Vermont School Youngsters? Review of School Texts of Harold Ordway Rugg (Burlington, Vt.: Free Press Association, 1940), 4, 24. 38. George H. Sabine et al., The Text Books of Harold Rugg (New York: American Committee for the Defense of Intellectual Freedom, 1942), 26–27, “Harold Rugg” folder, box 58, Russell Papers; Rugg, That Men May Understand, 251–252; Panzer, “Rugged Collectivism,” 228.

No t e s t o C h a p t e r T h r e e * 279 39. Sokolsky, American Way of Life, vii; S. Alexander Rippa, Education in a Free Society, 3rd ed. (New York: David McKay, 1976), 291, 294; “Official Draft of a Memorandum of Industry’s Recommendations for the Improvement of American Educational Methods in the Preparing of Students for Citizenship in a Republic” (ms, 29 June 1939), 1; “N.A.M. Educational Cooperation Meeting” (ms, 22 April 1940), 10, both in “Robey Textbook Survey” folder, box 847, NAMP; “Un-American Tone Seen in Textbooks on Social Sciences,” 1. 40. Richard Feier, Elements of Economics, quoted in “Excerpts from Various Textbooks Criticized in the Survey,” NYT, 22 Feb. 1941, 6; Emory S. Bogardus and Robert H. Lewis, Social Life and Personality (New York: Silver Burdett, 1938), 239, quoted in Robey, Abstracts, item 53; James Truslow Adams and Charles Garrett Vannest, The Record of America (New York: Scribner’s, 1938), 11, quoted ibid., item 5; Merwin K. Hart, “Let’s Discuss This on the Merits,” Frontiers of Democracy 7 (15 Dec. 1940): 85; Guardians of American Education, Undermining Our Republic (New York, 1941), 13; Why Partisan Opinionated Textbooks for Vermont School Youngsters, 9. 41. “SAR Also Interested in Rugg Books,” FPSB 4 (Aug. 1941): 2; “Textbooks Brought to Book,” 39; Harold Underwood Faulkner, Economic History of the United States (New York: Macmillan, 1938), 57–58, quoted in Robey, Abstracts, item 148; Leon H. Canfield et al., The United States in the Making (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1940), 169–170, quoted ibid., item 82. 42. George E. Sokolsky, “Hard Boiled Babes,” Liberty 17 (16 March 1940): 50; idem, American Way of Life, vii; idem, “Is Your Child Being Taught to Loaf?” Liberty 17 (4 May 1940): 42. 43. Bertie C. Forbes to President, Board of Education, Englewood, N.J., 7 May 1940, “Correspondence—1940” folder, Bertie Charles Forbes Papers, George Arents Research Library, Syracuse University; Armstrong, Treason in the Textbooks, 4; Charlotte Wettrick, Stable Government Relies upon Theory of Education (Seattle: Patriotic Laymen’s Education Association, n.d. [1941]), p. 80, Jones Papers; “What Is Taught in Schools,” Lyndonville [Vt.] Union Journal, 30 Oct. 1940, rpt. from New York Sun, n.d. [Oct. 1940], “Harold Rugg” folder, Faculty Files, box 39, Public Relations Office Papers, Milbank Library. 44. Harold O. Rugg, America’s March toward Democracy (New York: Ginn, 1937), 173; Hart, “Let’s Discuss This on the Merits,” 86. 45. “Textbooks Brought to Book,” 37; W. N. Davis to Miss McCarthy, 8 Dec. 1940, enclosed with V. Sauer to Philip W. Haberman, 11 Dec. 1940, “Rapp-Coudert Committee: Correspondence, Dec. 1940” folder, box 14, Frederic Coudert Jr. Papers, Manuscript Collections, Columbia University Libraries; Sokolsky, “Propaganda in Our Schoolbooks,” 18. 46. Rugg, That Men May Understand, 268; “Extract from Remarks of Roger N. Baldwin before the PEA Conference” (ms, 29 Nov. 1940), item 87, vol. 2306, reel 197, ACLU Papers; “Roger Baldwin Replies,” Frontiers of Democracy 7 (15 Dec. 1940): 88; “Educators in Row over Rugg Books,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 23 Feb. 1941, 1; Harold Rugg, Now Is the Moment (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1943), 20.

2 8 0 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r F ou r 47. Brinkley, End of Reform, 7; E. T. Meredith Jr. to Nicholas Murray Butler, 9 June 1939, “Harold Rugg” folder, box 58, Russell Papers. 48. Rugg to William F. Russell, 11 July 1939, “Harold Rugg” folder, box 58, Russell Papers; “Book Burnings,” Time 36 (9 Sept. 1940): 64; Schipper, “Rugg Textbook Controversy,” 221; R. Worth Shumaker to John E. Thomas, 4 Aug. 1943, p. 82, Jones Papers; Richard Seelye Jones, A History of the American Legion (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1946), 277; Jack Nelson and Gene Roberts Jr., The Censors and the Schools (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1963), 39; interview with R. Bruce Raup (1963), pp. 192–196, Oral History Research Office, Columbia University Libraries. 49. Max Lerner, Ideas for the Ice Age: Studies in a Revolutionary Era (New York: Viking, 1941), 360; “In This Issue,” American Legion Magazine 29 (Nov. 1940): 2; John C. Gebhard to W. B. Weisenburger, 11 July 1940; C. E. Harrison Jr. to Weisenburger, 25 June 1940; W. D. Fuller to Edmund deS. Brunner, 5 March 1941; “The N.A.M. Textbook Survey” (ms, n.d. [1941]), all in “Robey Textbook Survey” folder, box 847, NAMP. 50. “Indoctrinating Ideas,” Burlington Free Press, n.d. [1950], “Harold Rugg” folder, Faculty Files, box 39, Public Relations Office Papers.

Chapter Four 1. Lucille Cardin Crain [hereafter LCC] to William F. Buckley Jr., 14 Aug. 1952, folder 25, box 26, LCCP; “A Declaration,” Educational Reviewer 1 (15 July 1949): 1; William F. Buckley Jr., God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of “Academic Freedom” (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1951). 2. Buckley Jr. to Frank Adams, 28 Aug. 1952; LCC to William F. Buckley Sr., 27 Sept. 1951; Buckley Sr. to Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, and Beane, 18 Oct. 1951; Robert L. Donner to Edward Allan Pierce, 5 Jan. 1952, all in folder 25, box 26, LCCP. 3. James Truett Selcraig, The Red Scare in the Midwest, 1945–1955: A State and Local Study (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1982), 79. 4. See, e.g., Ellen Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (Boston: Little, Brown, 1998). 5. See Jerome L. Himmelstein, To the Right: The Transformation of American Conservatism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 13–62; William B. Hixon Jr., Search for the American Right Wing: An Analysis of the Social Science Record, 1955–1987 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 3–48. 6. Glen Warren Adams, “The UNESCO Controversy in Los Angeles, 1951– 53: A Case Study of the Influence of Right-Wing Groups on Urban Affairs” (Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 1970), 47. 7. See Robert Griffith, “Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Corporate Commonwealth,” AHR 87 (Feb. 1982): esp. 91–92; Himmelstein, To the Right, 24–25. Ralph W. Gwinn to LCC, 12 Oct. 1948, folder 4, box 37, LCCP. 8. “Houston Parents Read Students’ Textbooks,” FPSB 12 (Dec. 1949): 7; Amos A. Fries to J. Howard Rhoades, 7 June 1949, folder 44, box 2, Amos A. Fries Papers, UO. 9. James Alan Lufkin, “A History of the California State Textbook Adoption Pro-

No t e s t o C h a p t e r F ou r * 2 81







gram” (Ed.D., University of California at Berkeley, 1968), 143–144; Trustees of Americanism Fund, California Society, Sons of the American Revolution, The Betrayal of America: Complaint to California Legislature (San Francisco, n.d. [1947]), 2–3; G. E. Oaks to Roy E. Simpson, 7 Aug. 1947, folder 686; Frances M. Foster to Whom It May Concern, 26 Feb. 1947, enclosed with Gordon N. Mackenzie to the Members of the Committee on Education of the California State Senate (n.d. [1947]), folder 689; Mrs.W. J. Ravenscroft to Roy E. Simpson, 25 Feb. 1948, folder 683, all in DIS F3752, CDER. Aaron M. Sargent, “Complaint,” 21 Feb. 1947, 3, folder 676, DIS F3752, CDER; Roy E. Simpson to Earl Warren, 20 Jan. 1947, folder 1166, Earl Warren Papers, California State Archives, Sacramento; “Jack B. Tenney, California Legislator” (Oral History Program interview, University of California at Los Angeles, 1969), 1327, Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley; The Facts 6 (May 1951): 3, folder 16, box 61, LCCP; “Reports of the Senate Committee on Education,” 20 June 1947, 14, folder 680, DIS F3752, CDER. Roy E. Simpson to Emmett R. Berry, 11 March 1948, folder 686, DIS F3752; Edna Lonigan, “Broadcasting Collectivist Propaganda,” Educational Reviewer 1 (15 July 1949): 3. May Erwin Talmadge [hereafter MET], “Macgruder’s Ghost walks again” (ms, n.d. [1951]), folder 12, box 30; idem, “If This Be Treason,” Atlanta Constitution, 11 July 1951, folder 7, box 50; State Board of Education Minutes, 27 June 1951, folder 3, box 32, all in May Erwin Talmadge Papers, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia, Athens; Jack Nelson and Gene Roberts Jr., The Censors and the Schools (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1963), 42. John T. Wood, “The Greatest Subversive Plot in History—Report to the American People on UNESCO,” Congressional Record, 18 Oct. 1951, 82nd Cong., lst sess., folder 22, box 50, LCCP; Don Carleton, Red Scare! Right-wing Hysteria, Fifties Fanaticism and Their Legacy in Texas (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1985), 167; Adams, “UNESCO Controversy in Los Angeles,” 50, 59; “Ford Foundation Plan Thrown Out by School Board,” Brooklyn Tablet, 18 July 1953; “Los Angeles: Pink Ford?” Time, 27 July 1953, both in folder 12, box 17, Paul Blanshard Papers, Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor. Adams, “UNESCO Controversy in Los Angeles,” 56; Senate Committee on Education, State of California, “In the Matter of the Investigation in re Textbooks and Educational Practices in Public Schools” (ms, 8 April 1947), folder 698, DIS F3752; “Books Burned in Oklahoma Town,” NYT, 12 Feb. 1952, folder 11, box 17, Blanshard Papers; Gordon D. Hall, The Hate Campaign against the United Nations: One World under Attack (Boston: Beacon, 1952), 27. Sons of the American Revolution, Betrayal of America, 16–17; “Examination of Lucille Cardin Crain,” Educational Reviewer, Inc. and Lucille Cardin Crain, Plaintiffs, against McCall Corporation . . . (Supreme Court of the State of New York, 6 April 1955), 66; J. H. von Sprecken to Herman Talmadge, 7 Aug. 1950, enclosed with Charles P. Whitman to MET, 25 Sept. 1950, folder 12, box 30; Gordon Persons

2 82 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r F ou r




19. 20.




to Herman Talmadge, n.d., enclosed with Herman Talmadge to MET, 5 June 1952, folder 5, box 8, both in MET Papers; Alabama Act. no. 888. H. 644 (ms, 19 Sept. 1953), folder 10, box 17, Blanshard Papers. Ruby Hurley to Gordon Persons, 27 May 1952, enclosed with Herman Talmadge to MET, 5 June 1952, folder 5, box 8, MET Papers; “How Pure Is Pure?” Business Week, no. 1288 (8 May 1954): 178–179; “Update,” ibid., no. 1290 (22 May 1954): 132. “The Crisis in American Education,” in Freedom and Public Education, ed. Ernest O. Melby and Morton Puner (New York: Praeger, 1953), 184–185, 192; Stuart John Foster, “Red Alert! The NEA’s National Commission for the Defense of Democracy through Education Confronts the ‘Red Scare’ in American Schools, 1945–1955” (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas–Austin, 1996), ch. 4; Robert A. Skaife, “Groups Affecting Education,” in Forces Affecting American Education (Washington: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1953), 53. “Crisis in American Education,” 185, 184, 197; “The Pasadena Case,” News and Views, March 1951, 4, folder 16, box 36; “McCall’s Lays Three Eggs,” Firing Line, 1 Dec. 1952, 1, folder 15, box 61, both in LCCP; “Teaching Politics ‘In Accordance with High Professional Standards,’” FPSB 13 ( June 1951): 7. Ethel M. Morrow to Greta Deffenbaugh, 14 Dec. 1944, folder 38; Deffenbaugh to Fries, 29 July 1943, folder 37, both in box 1, Fries Papers. Deffenbaugh to Fries, 13 Jan. 1943; Fries to Deffenbaugh, 18 Jan. 1943, both in folder 37, box 1; Chance B. Humphrey to Fries, 14 Oct. 1952, folder 15, box 2; Amelia Murray to Fries, 9 Sept. 1949, folder 32, box 2; Grace I. Schneider to Fries, 13 May 1950, folder 49, box 2; J. Howard Rhoades to Fries, 31 Aug. 1949, folder 44, box 2, all in Fries Papers. LCC to John Flynn, 1 Sept. 1950, “Communism in Schools and Textbooks” folder, box 26, John T. Flynn Papers, UO; Lewis Haney to LCC, 4 Nov. 1949; LCC to “Dr. Haney, Prof. Meyers, Prof. Saxton,” 11 Nov. 1949, both in folder 17, box 53, LCCP; LCC to Rose Wilder Lane, 25 April 1951, folder 2, box 43, LCCP. Rose Wilder Lane to LCC, 4 Nov. 1949, folder 2, box 43, LCCP; John E. Miller, Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Woman behind the Legend (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1998), 254; Roger Baldwin, “Gilt-Edged Patriots: Presenting the New York State Economic Council and Its Presiding Genius, Merwin K. Hart,” Frontiers of Democracy 7 (15 Nov. 1940): 45–47; Mary Ann Raywid, The AxGrinders: Critics of Our Public Schools (New York: Macmillan, 1962), 115–116. Allen Zoll, Organized Attack on Schools Is Seen (New York: National Council of American Education, 1951), “National Council of American Education: Miscellaneous, 1950–54” folder, box 38, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota Papers, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul; Arthur D. Morse, “Who’s Trying to Ruin Our Schools,” in Melby and Puner, eds., Freedom and Public Education, 170–171; Frederick Woltman, “Wainwright Quits Educational Council with Fascist Taint,” New York World-Telegram, 7 Oct. 1948, “National Council of American Education: Miscellaneous, 1947–49” folder, box 38, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota Papers; William F. Buckley Jr. to C. H. Huvelle, 13 Dec. 1951, folder 2, box 27, LCCP.

No t e s t o C h a p t e r F ou r * 2 83 24. “Examination of LCC,” 8, 55; Verne Kaub, “A Critic,” Saturday Review of Literature 35 (Dec. 1952): 16. 25. Selcraig, Red Scare in the Midwest, 77; Frank Hughes to Fries, 14 April 1948, folder 25, box 1, Fries Papers; LCC to Hughes, 5 Jan. 1950; Hughes to LCC, 7 Jan. 1950; Hughes to LCC, 4 May 1951, all in folder 14, box 39, LCCP. 26. “Excerpt from Broadcast of Fulton Lewis, Jr.,” 27 Nov. 1950, folder 14, box 43, LCCP; Michael Kazin, The Populist Persuasion: An American History (New York: Basic, 1995), 173; Foster, “Red Alert,” 109–110; John T. Flynn to LCC, 28 April 1950, “Communism in Schools and Texts” folder, box 26, Flynn Papers; Carleton, Red Scare, 165; Selcraig, Red Scare in the Midwest, 79–80; MET to Edgar C. Pulliam, 17 Jan. 1952, folder 5, box 8, MET Papers. 27. Foster, Red Alert, 109; Flynn to LCC, 26 March 1951, folder 21, box 34, LCCP; J. B. Withee to LCC, 3 April 1951, enclosed with LCC to Flynn, 11 April 1951, “Communism in Schools” folder, box 25, Flynn Papers; Emily P. Morse to Friends of the Public Schools, 14 Dec. 1950, folder 27, box 2, Fries Papers; W. A. McClenaghan, “An Author,” Saturday Review of Literature 35 (Dec. 1952): 17. 28. Kazin, Populist Persuasion, 178–183, 332n; Robert W. Iversen, The Communists and the Schools (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1959), 241–242; Flynn to LCC, 26 March 1951; LCC to Flynn, 31 March 1951, both in folder 21, box 34, LCCP. 29. Roy E. Simpson to Harry L. Foster, 20 Feb. 1947; William J. Bauer to Richard Chamberlain, 3 March 1947; Foster to Simpson, 16 April 1947, all in folder 683, DIS F3752, CDER; C. H. Munson to Julian A. Todd, 4 April 1949, folder 20, box 1, Fries Papers; “Evaluation of Instructional Materials” (ms, 1948), folder 13, box 17, Blanshard Papers; “Transcript of the Proceedings and Transactions of the 31st Annual Convention of the American Legion . . .” (ms, July 1949), 115–117, box 2, American Legion—Michigan Papers, Bentley Historical Library. 30. Irene Corbally Kuhn, “Your Child Is Their Target,” American Legion Magazine 52 (June 1952): 18–19, 54–60; “Transcript of the Proceedings and Transactions of the 34th Annual Convention” (ms, Aug. 1952), 140–141, box 2, American Legion— Michigan Papers; letter from C. Conrad Schneider, American Legion Magazine 52 (June 1952): 4–5. 31. “Transcript of the Proceedings and Transactions of the 34th Annual Convention,” 142; Harold Benjamin, “Communication Affecting Education,” in Forces Affecting American Education, 111–113; “UNESCO Absolved in Legion Inquiry,” NYT, 11 Sept. 1955, folder 14, box 17, Blanshard Papers; Philip John Zorich, “Lawrence Timbers and the American Legion: The Crusade against UNESCO and UNICEF” (M.A. thesis, University of Oregon, 1978), 19–43; “The Road to Reason,” Reporter, 2 June 1955, folder 12, box 17, Blanshard Papers. 32. Third Report of Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities (Sacramento: California Senate, 1947), 322. 33. “Is the Head of the Carnegie Foundation Communistic?” FPSB 11 (Sept. 1948): 3–4; Skaife, “Groups Affecting Education,” 63–64; Dorothy Dunbar Bromley, “The Battle for the Schools,” in Melby and Puner, eds., Freedom and Public Education, 208–209; “Who’s Trying to Control Our Schools?” FPSB 15 (Oct. 1952): 7; Augustin

2 8 4 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r F ou r


35. 36.







G. Rudd to Fries, 18 Jan. 1950, folder 47, box 2, Fries Papers; W. T. Couch to LCC, n.d. [1953], folder 12, box 29, LCCP. Elizabeth Fones-Wolf, Selling Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism, 1945–1960 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 190, 200; “Minutes of the Joint Session of the NAM Educational Advisory Committee and NAM Educational Advisory Council,” 12 April 1951, 6, “Educational Advisory Council 1956–1951, Minutes” folder, box 65; NAM Educational Advisory Committee and NAM Educational Advisory Council, “This We Believe about Education” (ms, 1953), 39, “Education Dept., General, Oct–Dec. 1953” folder, box 62; “Education Appraises the NAM,” Times-Advocate [Norfolk, Va.], 5 March 1953, “Education Dept., General, Jan–Sept. 1953” folder, box 62; F. Kenneth Brasted to Coordinating Committee, 8 April 1954, 7, “Education—Memorandum, General, 1954” folder, box 62, all in NAMP; Raywid, Ax-Grinders, 237n36, 117. LCC to Lane, 13 Sept. 1950; Lane to LCC, 30 Sept. 1950; Lane to LCC, 22 March 1950, all in folder 2, box 43, LCCP. “Examination of LCC,” 70; James Cope to LCC, 19 July 1950, folder 2, box 29, LCCP; Wilbur Helm to “Dear Friends,” 8 Dec. 1953, folder 17, box 2, Fries Papers; William Buckley Sr. to LCC, 27 April 1951, folder 24, box 26, LCCP. Mrs. G. V. McCombs to Fries, 17 Dec. 1948, folder 27, box 2, Fries Papers; Adelbert W. Lee to MET, 19 March 1951, folder 4, box 8, MET Papers; James A. Gannon, n.t. (ms, 5 April 1951), folder 9, box 43, LCCP. Charles Albert Adams and Melbert B. Adams, “Confidential, before the State Board of Education, Answer to the Protest of California Sons of the American Revolution” (ms., n.d. [1946]), enclosed with Roy E. Simpson to Earl Warren, 20 Jan. 1947, folder 1166, Warren Papers. Intellectual Freedom 1 (May 1953): 4, folder 11, box 17, Blanshard Papers; Georgia State Board of Education minutes, 12–13 Aug. 1952, 7, folder 4, box 32, MET Papers; “Houston Again,” New Republic, 7 Dec. 1953, folder 12, box 17, Blanshard Papers. “Statement by Senator Jack B. Tenney” [April 1947?], 4, folder 1166, Warren Papers; Ingrid Winther Scobie, “Jack B. Tenney and the ‘Parasitic Menace’: AntiCommunist Legislation in California, 1940–1949,” Pacific Historical Review 43 (1974): 202, 204–205; American Book Publishers’ Council Bulletin press release, 3 Jan. 1954, 3–5, folder 2; ACLU, “Report on Censorship, Sept. 1952–June 1953,” 12, folder 3, both in box 3, Blanshard Papers. Walter Gellhorn, “A General View,” 375; William B. Prendergast, “Maryland: The Ober Anti-Communist Law,” 169, 180; Vern Countryman, “Washington: The Canwell Committee,” 285, 326–327; E. Houston Harsha, “Illinois: The Broyles Commission,” 80–84, all in The States and Subversion, ed. Walter Gellhorn (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1952); M. J. Heale, American Anti-Communism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), 184. Walter Goodman, The Committee: The Extraordinary Career of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1964), 274n; Aaron M. Sargent, “Overthrowing the Constitution with Propaganda,” Americans, Speak Up, [1949?]; idem., A Socialistic Public School System (n.p., May 1950), both

No t e s t o C h a p t e r F ou r * 2 8 5


44. 45.

46. 47.



in folder 8, box 55, LCCP; “Congressional Investigation of Textbooks,” FPSB 14 (Aug. 1951): 2; Fries to Grace H. De Fremery, 26 Sept. 1951, folder 61, box 2, Fries Papers. “Conversation with Leo Blaisdell, Nov. 1954,” folder 10, box 17; Harold Rugg to Paul Blanshard, 13 Sept. 1955, folder 60, box 2, both in Blanshard Papers; Virgil M. Rogers, “Textbooks under Fire,” Atlantic 195 (Feb. 1955): 47. My argument here echoes M. J. Heale, McCarthy’s Americans: Red Scare Politics in State and Nation, 1935–1965 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998), esp. pt. 4. E. Merrill Root, Brainwashing in the High Schools: An Examination of American History Textbooks (New York: Devin-Adair, 1958), 3, 11; Ginn and Co., “A Candid Evaluation of E. Merrill Root’s Brainwashing in the High Schools” (n.d. [1959]), 1–3, enclosed with Jerry Cordrey to Human Events, 11 April 1960, folder 5, box 1, E. Merrill Root Papers, UO; Nelson and Roberts, Censors and the Schools, 69, 75–76. Nelson and Roberts, Censors and the Schools, 91–95; “Mississippi Mud,” Time 75 (16 May 1960): 65. Nelson and Roberts, Censors and the Schools, 78–90, 15–16; Gertrude Stephens to MET, 7 May 1959, folder 2, box 10, MET Papers; “A D.A.R. Textbook Study,” Weekly Crusader 5 (22 Oct. 1965): 3, Collection HH36, folder 7, box 1, Hall-Hoag Collection, John Hay Library, Brown University. M. F. Peterson to Alexander C. Burr, 1 June 1962, folder 21, box 11, Alexander C. Burr Papers, State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck; Fred M. Hechinger, “On Teaching about Communism,” NYT, 19 Dec. 1962, 6; “Florida Statute, Chapter 61–77, House Bill no. 26 (Approved by Governor, 27 May 1961),” folder 1, box 12, Burr Papers; Shelby M. Jackson, “Studying Communism in Louisiana Schools,” American Legion Magazine 72 (April 1962): 45. Betty E. Chmaj, “Paranoid Patriotism: The Radical Right and the South,” Atlantic 210 (Nov. 1962): 93; L. Edward Hicks, “Sometimes in the Wrong, but Never in Doubt”: George S. Benson and the Education of the New Religious Right (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1994), 77; “Mississippi Mud,” 65.

Chapter Five 1. James Alan Lufkin, “A History of the California State Textbook Adoption Program” (Ed.D. diss., University of California at Berkeley, 1968), 253–254; Harry N. Scheiber, “The California Textbook Fight,” Atlantic Monthly 220 (Nov. 1967): 38–39; John W. Caughey, John Hope Franklin, and Ernest R. May, Land of the Free: A History of the United States (New York: Benziger, 1966), 3. 2. Lufkin, “California State Textbook Adoption Program,” 273; letter from Mr. and Mrs. Serge R. Ballif, “Criticism of Land of the Free” (ms, 25 July 1966), 142, folder 842, CDER; Ford Sammis, The Story behind “Land of the Free,” A Controversial History Textbook (n.p., 1967), 38–39; letter from Elsie P. Lodge, “Criticism of Land of the Free,” 158. 3. “Police Rout 3500 Unruly Pupils at Black Power School Protest,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 18 Nov. 1967, 1; John T. Gillespie, “Negro Students Explain Objections to

2 8 6 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r F i v e

4. 5. 6.

7. 8.



Schools,” Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 21 Nov. 1967, “Schools—Philadelphia— African-American Studies” folder; “Pupils High: Officials,” ibid., 15 Oct. 1968; “Ten Days of Disorders: Pupils, Neighbors and Faculty Describe Crisis,” ibid., 20 Oct. 1968, both in “Schools, Philadelphia, Blacks, Disorder, 1968” folder, all in box 204, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Collection, Urban Archives, Temple University. See esp. Gary B. Nash, Charlotte Crabtree, and Ross E. Dunn, History on Trial: Culture Wars and the Teaching of the Past (New York: Knopf, 1997). Sammis, Story behind “Land of the Free,” 39. Office of Research and Evaluation, School District of Philadelphia, The Teaching of African and Afro-American Studies in the Philadelphia Public Schools, 1968/69 Academic Year (Philadelphia, 1969), 6–8, “Black History” folder, box 4, Citizens Committee on Public Education Papers, Urban Archives; Letitia W. Brown, “Why and How the Negro in History,” Journal of Negro Education 38 (Autumn 1969): 448; William Loren Katz, “Black History in Secondary Schools,” ibid., 431, 433. Shirlee Smith, “Black History Months Have Not Sufficiently Inspired Our Youth,” Newsday, 24 Feb. 1983, fiche 480, SCF. Langston Hughes, “Simple on Negro History Week,” Chicago Defender, 13 Feb. 1960, 10; Thirty-Third Annual Celebration of Negro History Week (Washington: Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, 1958), 3, folder 9, box 179–35, H. Council Trenholm Papers, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University. Mrs. E. K., “A Textbook in Race Hate,” Daily Worker, 17 Feb. 1950, fiche 004.909–1, SCF; untitled manuscript, [1948?], folder 39, box 2, Faith Rich Papers, Special Collections, Harold Washington Library, Chicago Public Libraries; Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager, The Growth of the American Republic, 4th ed., vol. 1 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1950), 537; Neil Jumonville, Henry Steele Commager: Midcentury Liberalism and the History of the Present (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 146–147. Most accounts of intergroup education trace its origins to Rachel Davis DuBois, who designed school assemblies and curricula in the 1920s and 1930s to underscore the cultures and achievements of different racial and ethnic groups. The movement boomed during World War II, when Nazi propaganda abroad and racial violence at home dramatized the need to teach “tolerance” in the schools. DuBois corresponded frequently with George Washington Carver and with NAACP officials, who appointed a field secretary to traverse the country on behalf of intergroup education in the 1940s. Within this biracial coalition, however, only Blacks placed a primary emphasis on revising history textbooks. George Washington Carver to Rachel Davis DuBois, 31 July 1927, folder 3; Rachel Davis DuBois, Some Racial Contributions to America: A Study Outline for Secondary Schools (Philadelphia: Committee on Interests of the Colored Race, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends, [1927?]), folder 5, both in box 2, Rachel Davis DuBois Papers, Immigration History Research Center, St. Paul, Minn.; Noma Jensen, “Annual Report,

No t e s t o C h a p t e r F i v e * 2 87

11. 12. 13.





Jan. 1, 1945—Jan. 1, 1946” (ms, 1946), frame 796, reel 6, pt. 17, NAACP Papers; Earl Conrad, “Official Defends Distorted Texts,” Chicago Defender, 4 May 1946, 13. “Little Black Sambo,” WP, 30 Sept. 1947, folder 871, box 78–44, Papers of the NAACP—Washington D.C. Branch, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager, The Growth of the American Republic, 5th ed., vol. 1 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1962), 527–529. Mervyn M. Dymally, “The Struggle for the Inclusion of Negro History in Our Textbooks—A California Experience,” NHB 33 (Dec. 1970): 190; Jack Nelson and Gene Roberts Jr., The Censors and the Schools (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1963), 169; “UL Warns of ‘Squandering’ Child Potentials” (press release, 3 April 1963), fiche 004.909–3; “The CORE Southern Education Project Proposals for a Core Negro Culture Program” (ms, n.d. [1965]), fiche 003–560–8; National Urban League, Textbooks, Civil Rights, and the Education of the American Negro (New York, 1965), 2, fiche 004.909–4, all in SCF. Nelson and Roberts, Censors and the Schools, 168–169; Albert E. Stone, The Return of Nat Turner: History, Literature, and Cultural Politics in Sixties America (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992), 299; African-American Heritage Association, “Operation: End Racist Poison in School Books” (ms, 11 Feb. 1962), frame 386, reel 4, series I, pt. III, Claude A. Barnett Papers (Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America, 1986); Hillel Black, The American Schoolbook (New York: William Morrow, 1967), 109– 113; “Negro Culture Given Short Shrift in Many Histories in School Today,” Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 22 Oct. 1963, “Schools— Philadelphia—Text Books—1961 to” folder, box 209, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Collection; Minutes of the Detroit School Board, 18 Dec. 1962, 317– 320, “Task Force—Readings” folder, box 2, Racism and Bias Task Force File, NCTE. Minutes of the Detroit School Board, 22 Jan. 1963, 388–392; ibid., 26 May 1964, 570, both in “Task Force—Readings” folder, box 2, Racism and Bias Task Force File, NCTE; “‘Huck Finn’ Barred as Textbook by City,” NYT, 12 Sept. 1957; Nelson and Roberts, Censors and the Schools, 167–168; Everett T. Moore, “Censorship in the Name of Better Relations,” A.L.A. Bulletin, July–Aug. 1961; “Still Missing,” New York Teacher News, 10 Feb. 1962, both in fiche 004.909–3, SCF. Raymond Pace Alexander to Philadelphia Inquirer, 17 Aug. 1964, folder 54, box 98, Raymond Pace Alexander Papers, University of Pennsylvania Archives; Nassau County NAACP to J. E. Allen, 31 Oct. 1965, “Intercultural Relations—General, July 1965–June 1966” folder, box 31, Collection 15080–69/77, Commissioner’s Files, New York State Dept. of Education Records, State Library, Albany; Report of the Special Committee on Nondiscrimination of the Board of Public Education of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (n.p., 1964), 107, folder 18, box 19, Floyd Logan Papers, Urban Archives; “Negro Editor Scores ‘Segregated’ Texts,” NYT, 1 Sept. 1966, fiche 004.909–4, SCF. Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (Boston: Beacon, 1968), 41–44. For others who emphasized textbooks’ “damage” to whites as well as to Blacks, see, e.g., Floyd Logan to Helen C. Bailey, 8 July

2 8 8 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r F i v e



20. 21.





26. 27.

1960, folder 16, box 12, Logan Papers; Gerald Grant, “Seven Texts Criticized for Negro Omissions,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 Aug. 1964, folder 29, box 13, Alexander Papers; Hoyt Gimlin, “American History: Reappraisal and Revision,” Editorial Research Reports 2 (5 Nov. 1969): 818, fiche 003–560–8, SCF. “Vice President Humphrey Advocates the Study of Negro History by All Americans,” Congressional Record 113, pt. 3 (15 Feb. 1967): 3487–88; Lerone Bennett Jr., “Reading, ’Riting and Racism,” Ebony 22 (March 1967): 135; Dorothy Sterling address, n.t. (ms, 26 July 1967), 16, fiche 003.560–5; “House Committee Studies Treatment of Minorities in Text and Library Books,” Publishers Weekly, 19 Sept. 1966, fiche 004.909–4, both in SCF. “Negro Image Seen Blurred in Textbooks,” New York Post, 24 Aug. 1966, fiche 004.909–4, SCF; Bennett, “Reading, ’Riting and Racism,” 135; “House Committee Studies Treatment of Minorities.” National Urban League, Textbooks, Civil Rights, 5; Henry Wilkinson Bragdon, “Dilemmas of a Textbook Writer,” Social Education 33 (March 1969): 297–298. Bennett, “Reading, ’Riting, and Racism,” 136; letter from Andrew Blunt, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 26 Feb. 1970, “Virginia: The New Dominion” folder, accession 7690-ac, Virginius Dabney Papers, Alderman Library, University of Virginia; H. J. Lipham to Raymond Pace Alexander, 24 Aug. 1964, folder 1, box 88, Alexander Papers. Here I rely heavily on Ronald P. Formisano, Boston against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991). Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (New York: Dutton, 1968), 434; Richard E. Schermerhorn to Edwald B. Nyquist, 1 Feb. 1971, “Intercultural Relations—General. 11/69” folder, box 11, collection 15080–80, Commissioner’s Files, New York State Dept. of Education Records; Gary B. Nash, “Multiculturalism and History: Historical Perspectives and Present Prospects,” in Public Education in a Multicultural Society: Policy, Theory, Critique, ed. Robert K. Fullinwider (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 193. Letter from Leslie S. Robison, “Criticism of Land of the Free,” 161; Sammis, Story behind “Land of the Free,” 27; letter from Viola McLain, “Criticism of Land of the Free,” 149; letter from Mrs. G. Hinton, ibid., 155. Lufkin, “California State Textbook Adoption Program,” 296, 307, 268–270; Sammis, Story behind “Land of the Free,” 9–12; Juel Janis, “Textbook Revisions in the Sixties,” Teachers College Record 72 (Dec. 1970): 293; “New U.S. History Textbooks Putting Stress on Minorities’ Contribution to Building Nation,” NYT, 28 April 1974, fiche 004.909–4, SCF. “New U.S. History Textbooks Putting Stress on Minorities’ Contribution.” “Integrating the Texts,” Newsweek 67 (7 March 1966): 94; American Indian Historical Society Executive Council, “Corrections Required in Textbooks Proposed for Adoption by the State of California” (ms, May 1966), folder 841, CDER; letter from Manuel H. Guerra, “Criticism of Land of the Free,” 176; Nanci L. Gonza-

No t e s t o C h a p t e r F i v e * 2 8 9

28. 29.





34. 35.

lez, “Positive and Negative Effects of Chicano Militancy on the Education of the Mexican-American,” in Student Dissent in the Schools, ed. Irving G. Hendrick and Reginald L. Jones (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970), 266; Robert K. Fullinwider, “Multicultural Education: Concepts, Policies, and Controversies,” in Fullinwider, ed., Public Education, 7. “Negro History Courses Set,” Associated Press, 30 Jan. 1968, fiche 003.560–6, SCF. “Boycott in Plainfield,” NYT, 17 Feb. 1968, 30; Susan Snow, “My Teacher Is a Racist,” in The High School Revolutionaries, ed. Marc Libarle and Tom Seligson (New York: Vintage, 1970), 94; “What’s Wrong with the High Schools?” Newsweek 75 (16 Feb. 1970): 66; Mark Shedd, “The Curriculum of Reality,” Integrated Education 6 (May–June 1968): 9; “Black Culture Courses, More Negro Officials Asked for City Schools,” Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 26 Dec. 1968, “Schools— Philadelphia—African-American Studies” folder, box 204, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Collection. Raymond H. Giles, Black Studies Programs in Public Schools (New York: Praeger, 1974), 110; “Black Peacestone Rangers Rap to MSA,” Open Door [Milwaukee], quoted in Our Time Is Now: Notes from the High School Underground, ed. John Birmingham (New York: Praeger, 1970), 161; How Old Will You Be in 1984? Expressions of Student Outrage from the High School Free Press, ed. Diane Divoky (New York: Avon, 1969), 75. James Brown, “The Black Athlete,” in Libarle and Seligson, eds., High School Revolutionaries, 50; Brumsic Brandon Jr., “Readin’ ’Ritin’ ’Rithmetic Racism,” in Harlem: A Community in Transition, ed. John Henrik Clarke (New York: Citadel, 1969), 224. Malcolm X on Afro-American History (New York: Pathfinder, 1970), 68–69; Daniel U. Levine, “Differences between Segregated and Desegregated Settings,” Journal of Negro Education 39 (Fall 1970): 143. “The Program of the Black Youth Alliance,” in Divoky, ed., How Old Will You Be in 1984, 172, 174; Giles, Black Studies Programs, 112; Jean Dresden Grambs, Larry Cuban, and James A. Banks, “Black versus Negro History: What Are the Issues?” in Black Image: Education Copes with Color: Essays on the Black Experience, ed. Jean Dresden Grambs et al. (Dubuque, Ia.: William C. Brown, 1972), 28–29. Kenneth L. Fish, Conflict and Dissent in the High Schools (New York: Bruce, 1970), 115. See, e.g., letter from James Clayton to Champaign-Urbana Courier, 31 March 1969, “Censorship May 1969” folder, box 1, Censorship File, NCTE; Giles, Black Studies Programs, 123–128. For white attacks on Baldwin, see, e.g., “New Jersey, Nebraska, and Detroit Feature Negro History Projects,” Library Journal 90 (15 March 1965): 2345; on Brown, Elizabeth G. Whaley to Peter Marsh, 6 Nov. 1972, “Censorship 1970–1974” folder, box 1, Censorship File, NCTE; on Cleaver, Mel Ash to Max Rafferty, 8 Sept. 1969, folder 743, CDER; and on Hughes, “City School Board Rejects WCTU Offer to Screen Books,” Columbus [Oh.] Citizen Journal, 16 Oct. 1963, “Censorship Materials 1960–1963” folder, box 1, Censorship File, NCTE.

29 0 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r F i v e 36. Robert Bone, “Negro Literature in the Secondary Schools: Problems and Perspectives,” English Journal, n.d. [1968], “Censorship 1967–68” folder, box 1, Censorship File, NCTE. 37. Rose Marie Walker Levey, Black Studies in Schools (Washington: National School Public Relations Association, 1970), 20, 17; Karen Branan and Mary Kay Murphy, “Answering the Black’s ‘WHO AM I?’” Scholastic Teacher, 5 Jan. 1970, fiche 003– 560–8, SCF; Giles, Black Studies Programs, 98, 101. 38. William L. Van Deburg, New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement and American Culture, 1965–1975 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 17; John Brown Society, An Introduction to the Black Panther Party (n.p., 1969), 2, “Black Power” General File, Vertical Files, Tamiment Library, New York University; Levey, Black Studies, 3–4. 39. “Nichols Says Gratz Plan Is like South African,” 12 Dec. 1967, “Schools— Philadelphia—African-American Studies” folder, box 204, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Collection; “NAACP Unit Issues New Multi-Racial History Syllabus,” NHB 33 (Nov. 1970): 167; Mark M. Krug, “Freedom and Racial Equality: A Study of ‘Revised’ High School History Texts,” School Review 78 (May 1970): 303; Julius Hobson, “A Search for Identity,” Integrated Education 7 (March–April 1969): 25; Van Deburg, New Day in Babylon, 27; Giles, Black Studies Programs, 9. 40. Katz, “Black History in Secondary Schools,” 433; David Kirp, Just Schools: The Idea of Racial Equality in American Education (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), 182. 41. Benjamin L. Hooks, “A New Day Begun,” Journal and Guide [Norfolk, Va.], 15 Dec. 1978, A9; Jim Cleaver, “How Easily We Forget What We Should Remember,” Los Angeles Sentinel, 28 June 1979, A7; idem., “Remember When It Was Negro History?” ibid., 4 Feb. 1982, A7. 42. Levey, Black Studies, 5; George C. Wallace, “State of Alabama Proclamation by the Governor” (ms, 27 Nov. 1972), enclosed with J. Rupert Picott to “Executive Council Members,” 2 Jan. 1973, folder 11, box 88, Alexander Papers; “Black History’s History,” WP, 28 Jan. 1987, fiche 484, SCF, pt. II. 43. James T. Patterson, Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 176; Jeffrey Mirel, The Rise and Fall of an Urban School System: Detroit, 1907–1981, 2nd ed. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999), 297. 44. Black, American Schoolbook, 114; Minutes of the Detroit School Board, 23 June 1964, 685–686, “Task Force—Readings” folder, box 2, Racism and Bias Task Force File, NCTE; Mirel, Rise and Fall, 307; “Recommended Guidelines for Multi-Ethnic Publishing in McGraw-Hill Book Co.” (ms, n.d. [1969]), fiche 004.909–5, SCF. 45. Black, American Schoolbook, 119; R.H.S., “Implications of the Powell Hearings,” clipping, n.t., n.d. [1966]), fiche 004.909–5, SCF; Gary Orfield, “Turning Back to Segregation,” 7; idem, “The Growth of Segregation,” 58, both in Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education, ed. Gary Orfield and Susan Eaton (New York: New Press, 1996); Marvin W. Schlegel, “What’s Wrong with Virginia History Textbooks,” Virginia Journal of Education, Sept. 1970;

No t e s t o C h a p t e r Si x * 291 “Virginia Will Update History Courses,” WP, 23 Jan. 1972; “New Texts Use More Negroes,” Richmond News-Leader, 13 Jan. 1971, all in “Virginia: The New Dominion” folder, accession 7690-ac, Dabney Papers. 46. Frances Fitzgerald, America Revised (New York: Vintage, 1979), 94, 100. 47. James Baldwin, “The Nigger We Invent,” Integrated Education 7 (March–April 1969): 18–20.

Part Two 1. Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate over Science and Religion (New York: Basic, 1997), 198, 193, 201. 2. Ibid., 230–234. 3. Jonathan Zimmerman, “Relatively Speaking,” New Republic, 6 Sept. 1999, 13–14.

Chapter Six 1. Erwin L. Shaver [hereafter ELS], “Weekday Religious Education in Champaign Declared Legal,” ICRE press release, 28 Jan. 1946, folder 14, box 28, RG 19, NCC; Walter M. Howlett to Richard Welling, 18 Nov. 1943, “Released Time for Religious Education” folder, box 69, National Self-Government Committee Papers, New York Public Library. 2. ELS, “Movement toward Cooperation among Conservative Christian Groups” (ms, n.d. [1946]), 4–5; ELS to “Dr. Ross and Dr. Sweet,” 17 May 1945, both in folder 24, box 28, RG 19, NCC. 3. McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948); Released Time Weekly Herald [Pasadena, Calif.] 1 (Sept. 1949), 2; Felix Manley, “Weekday Christian Education in Pasadena” (ms, 26 Oct. 1949), enclosed with Manley to ELS, 18 Nov. 1949, both in folder 2, box 29, RG 19, NCC. 4. C. W. Schowengerdt, Guideposts to Church-Public School Cooperation (Missouri Council of Churches, n.d. [1948–49]), folder 17; ELS, “Interim Plans for Weekday Religious Education,” 10 Jan. 1949, folder 2, both in box 29, RG 19, NCC; Frank E. Gaebelein, Christian Education in a Democracy (New York: Scribner’s, 1951), 81, quoted in John Q. Schisler, “Religion and the Public Schools,” Religion in Life 21 (Winter 1951–52): 6, folder 37, box 32, RG 9, NCC. Since combatants in the struggle over religious education used the labels “fundamentalist” and “evangelical” interchangeably, I do the same here. To quote a self-avowed fundamentalist (and evangelical), the terms connoted Christians who “hold that the essence of the gospel consists mainly in its doctrines of man’s sinful condition and need of salvation, the revelation of God’s grace in Christ, the necessity of spiritual renovation, and participation of the experience of redemption through faith.” Paul J. Andreasen, “An Appeal for Evangelical Released-Time Education,” United Evangelical Action 5 (1 April 1946): 4. 5. See, e.g., Donald E. Boles, The Bible, Religion, and the Public Schools (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1961); Robert Michaelsen, Piety in the Public School (New York: Macmillan, 1970); Robert Wuthnow, “Quid Obscurum: The Changing Terrain

29 2 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r Si x

6. 7.

8. 9.





of Church-State Relations,” in Religion and American Politics: From the Colonial Period to the 1980s, ed. Mark A. Noll (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 337–354. Minor C. Miller, Teaching the Multitudes: A Guidance Manual in Weekday Religious Education (Bridgewater, Va.: Beacon Publishers, 1944), 132–133. See Naomi Cohen, Jews in Christian America: The Pursuit of Religious Equality (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992); Stephen M. Feldman, Please Don’t Wish Me a Merry Christmas: A Critical History of the Separation of Church and State (New York: New York University Press, 1997); and esp. Gregg Ivers, To Build a Wall: American Jews and the Separation of Church and State (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995). J. Ronald Oakley, God’s Country: America in the Fifties (New York: Dembner, 1986), 319–321; Will Herberg, Protestant-Catholic-Jew (New York: Doubleday, 1955), 84. Mary Dabney Davis, Weekday Classes in Religious Education (Washington: Govt. Printing Office, 1941), 1; Frank E. Karlesen, “The Coudert-McLaughlin Bill” (radio transcript, Station WQXR, 14 Jan. 1941), “Released Time for Religious Education” folder, box 69, National Self-Government Committee Papers; “Teaching Bible in the Public Schools of North Carolina,” North Carolina Christian Advocate, 15 March 1941, 10, “WRE Clippings (Misc.)” folder, box 1, WRE-NC. “Released Time Has Vast Gain,” NYT, 16 Jan. 1942, “Released Time for Religious Education” folder, box 69, National Self-Government Committee Papers; Ruth G. LeValley, “A Study of Weekday Religious Education in North Carolina Public Schools” (M.A. thesis, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, 1946), 23, 42, 47; Walter M. Howlett, “Released Time for Religious Education in New York City,” Religious Education 37 (1942): 106; A Report to You on the Teaching of the Bible to the Boys and Girls in Our Mount Pleasant High School (n.p., [1946?]), “Publicity” folder, box 2, WRE-NC. Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom (Boston: Beacon, 1953), 315–316; Davis, Weekday Classes, 27; Barbara Kae Bellefeuille, “The History of the Bluefield Bible Program, 1939–1989” (Ed.D., Virginia Tech University, 1989), 84–85; J. P. McCallie, “Teaching the Bible in Chattanooga’s Schools,” United Evangelical Action 10 (1 March 1946): 7; Alice Treuschel, “Report of the Weekday Church School Directed by the Community Council of Christian Education, Fremont, Ohio, 1944– 45” (ms, 1945), folder 5, box 1, Fremont Council of Christian Education Papers, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library, Fremont, Oh.; Z. B. Edworthy to ELS, 19 March 1948, folder 19, box 28, RG 19, NCC; ELS, “Weekday Religious Education in Champaign Declared Legal.” Frances C. Query, “Bulletin to Chairmen of Local Committees Responsible for Bible in North Carolina Public Schools,” 15 March 1947, “Memorandums to Bible Teachers, 1946–47” folder, box 1, WRE-NC; Interfaith Council of Weekday Religious Education of Allegheny County, The Kind of Life You Want Depends on How You Prepare for It (n.p., [1948?]), folder 14, box 29, RG 19, NCC; “Did you Say ‘Take Bible’?” (ms, [1946?]), “Publicity” folder, box 2, WRE-NC. “Annual Meeting, North Dakota Council of Christian Education” (ms, 9 Jan. 1941),

No t e s t o C h a p t e r Si x * 293








12, folder 6, box 2, North Dakota Conference of Churches Papers, State Historical Society, Bismarck; LeValley, “Study of Weekday Religious Education,” 58–71; Sharing [Bible Teachers of North Carolina], Nov.–Dec. 1943, 3; ibid., May 1943, 2, both in “NCEA Publications” folder, box 1, WRE-NC. Sharing, March 1943, 3, “NCEA Publications” folder; John A. MacLean, “The Prayer of a Modern Pharisee, By One of Them” (n.p., [1948?], enclosed with Memorandum no. 17, 15 Jan. 1949, “Memorandums to Bible Teachers, 1948–1949” folder, both in box 1, WRE-NC. Week Day Church School Section, ICRE, “Interpreting and Publicizing the Week Day Church Schools” (ms, Feb. 1941), 16, folder 15, box 29; Frank Jennings to Minor C. Miller, 19 March 1948, in Virginia Council of Churches, Weekday Religious Education in Virginia: Opinion of the Attorney General of Virginia (n.p., 1948), appendix 6, folder 8, box 28; Weekday Professional Advisory Section Newsletter [ICRE], Nov. 1946, 4–5, folder 5, box 30, all in RG 19, NCC; Alice Treuschel, “Report of the Weekday Church School” (ms, Feb. 1944), folder 5, box 1, Fremont Council of Christian Education Papers. Week Day Church School Section, “Interpreting and Publicizing,” 5–6; James Banford McKendry, “Religious Education in Oak Park,” Religious Education 37 (1942): 26–27. Robert E. Segal, notes of meeting, 11 Dec. 1945; Segal to Herman H. Rubenovitz, 26 Nov. 1945; Henry Levy to Eugene Block, 8 Dec. 1942; Benjamin J. Shevach, “Comments on Released-Time in Boston” (ms, Dec. 1947), all in “Religion in the Schools—Released Time—1941–48” folder, box 177, BJCC. Angus C. Hull, “The Supreme Court and Religion in the Schools,” First Baptist News [Peoria] 7 (11 March 1948), enclosed with Idalee L. Woodson to ELS, 18 March 1948, folder 12; “Northern Baptists Have Not Acted in Champaign Case,” Taylorville [Ill.] Daily Breeze Courier, 22 Nov. 1947, enclosed with ELS to John L. Franklin and Owen Rall, n.d. [1947], folder 15; ICRE, Children’s Work Professional Advisory Section, “Report of Committee on Child Evangelism” (ms, Feb. 1942), folder 24, all in box 28, RG 19, NCC. Lucille B. Milner, “Church, State, and Schools,” New Republic, 13 Aug. 1945, folder 14, box 28, RG 19, NCC; Public Education Association, “Released Time for Religious Education in New York City’s Schools” (ms, 30 June 1943), 3, “Released Time for Religious Education” folder, box 69, National Self-Government Committee Papers; “Sue to Ban City Schools’ ‘Bible Hour,’” Chicago Sun Times, 26 Oct. 1945, folder 20, box 28, RG 19, NCC; J. Lynwood Smith to Stanley B. Hyde, n.d. [1944]; Roger W. Fitzgerald to Hyde, n.d. [1944]; Jennie K. Sherman to Hyde, n.d. [1944], all in folder 17, box 7, Vermont Council of Churches Papers, Bailey-Howe Library, University of Vermont. Cohen, Jews in Christian America, 131–143; Ivers, To Build a Wall, 63, 73–77; Synagogue Council of America, “Conference on Religious Education and Public School . . .” (ms, 29 March 1944), 12, “Church/State/ School, 1944–1956” folder, box 6, Jewish Community Relations Council of Pittsburgh Papers, Hillman Library, University of Pittsburgh.

29 4 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r Si x 21. Synagogue Council, “Conference on Religious Education and Public School,” 2, 15; Shevach, “Comments on Released-Time”; American Association for Jewish Education, Religious Education and the Public Schools (n.p., n.d. [1942]), 32, folder 17, box 29, RG 19, NCC. 22. Synagogue Council, “Conference on Religious Education and Public School,” 15, 17; “Excerpts from Published Statements for Use of Champaign Case Lawyers in Preparing Brief ” (ms, 1947), 1, folder 15, box 28, RG 19, NCC; “Summary of Statement Made by Rabbi Herman H. Rubenovitz, President of Rabbinical Association of Greater Boston” (ms, 4 March 1941), “Religion in the Schools—Released Time— 1941–48” folder, box 177, BJCC. 23. Synagogue Council, “Conference on Religious Education and Public School,” 24, 26; Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Boston, “Released Time Fact Sheet” (ms, 9 June 1948), 3, “Religion in the Schools— Released Time—1941–48” folder, box 177, BJCC; Shevach, “Comments on Released-Time.” 24. Shevach, “Comments on Released-Time”; Walter A. Lurie to Mortimer Brenner, 11 April 1949, “Joint Advisory Committee on Religion and the Public Schools, 1947–49” folder, box 7, Synagogue Council of America Papers, American Jewish Historical Society; Synagogue Council, “Conference on Religious Education and Public School,” 25; American Association for Jewish Education, Religious Education and the Public Schools, 23. 25. “Week-Day Religious Education,” United Evangelical Action 3 (Nov. 1943): 3. 26. ICRE, “Report of Committee on Child Evangelism,” 6–14. 27. “Buffalo Fundamentalists Organize for Week-Day Christian Education,” United Evangelical Action 5 (1 Nov. 1944): 12; Archer E. Anderson, “Week-Day Christian Education in Duluth,” ibid. 5 (15 March 1946): 9; “A Report from Gerald Knoff to the other Members of the Staff . . .” (ms, 4 May 1945), 2, folder 24, box 28, RG 19, NCC; Andreasen, “Appeal for Evangelical Released-Time Education,” 4. 28. ICRE, “Report of Committee on Child Evangelism,” 1–5, 13–16. 29. Ibid., 2–3; Stanley Borden to ELS, 20 Feb. 1946, folder 12, box 29; Carroll H. Lemon to ELS, 19 March 1948, folder 12, box 28, RG 19, NCC. 30. W. T. Smith, “What’s Happening,” Herald [First Methodist Church, Peoria, Ill.] 8 (12 March 1948), enclosed with Idalee L. Woodson to ELS, 18 March 1948, folder 12, box 28, RG 19, NCC. 31. James O’Neil, “Church-State Relationships” (ms, 27 July 1948), folder 1, box 29; “Is This a Distortion?” Daily Oklahoman, 16 March 1948, enclosed with E. R. Reno to ELS, 16 March 1948, folder 12, box 28, both in RG 19, NCC; James R. Walter, “The U.S. Supreme Court and Religion in Public Schools,” First [Presbyterian] Church Messenger [Fremont, Oh.] 22 (11 July 1948), folder 11, box 1, Fremont Council of Christian Education Papers; “The Supreme Court Decision,” Progress [International Reform Federation] 48 (April 1948): 2, folder 12; Frank S. Mead, “Go Chase Yourself, Youngster,” Christian Herald, June 1949, folder 14, both in box 29, RG 19, NCC. 32. See, e.g., Millie F. Stanley to ELS, 18 March 1948; Harriet Blanding to ELS, 18 March 1948, both in folder 12, box 28, RG 19, NCC; “A Brief Summary of Legal Opinions and Decisions of State Departments of Education Regarding Weekday

No t e s t o C h a p t e r Si x * 2 9 5

33. 34.





Religious Education,” in Virginia Council of Churches, Weekday Religious Education, app. 2. Lois McClure to Rice Lardner, 28 July 1948, folder 16; O. Bronsletter to ELS, 19 March 1948, folder 12, both in box 28, RG 19, NCC. Lillian White Shepard to E. E. Zimmerman, 8 Dec. 1950, folder 3, box 1, Fremont Council of Christian Education Papers; Frank J. Sorauf, “Zorach v. Clauson: The Impact of a Supreme Court Decision,” American Political Science Review 53 (1959): 782, 780; “Survey of Weekday Religious Education Situation” (ms, 1 Feb. 1949), folder 19, box 28, RG 19, NCC; ELS, “A Statement Regarding the Decision of the United States Supreme Court in the Brooklyn Weekday Religious Education Case” (ms, n.d. [1952]), 2; ELS to Morton Kurtz, 19 Nov. 1952, both in “Weekday Religious Education” folder, box 4, WRE-NC. National Council of Churches of Christ, “Study Document on Weekday Religious Education” (ms, 1959), 2, “Weekday Religious Education” folder, box 4, WRE-NC; John S. Groenfeldt, “The Weekday Movement Moves Ahead,” International Journal of Religious Education 32 (May 1956): 17; Friends of Bible Teaching in the Public Schools, The Fifty-Nine Year Miracle: The History of Bible Teaching in the Public Schools of Charlotte (1925–1984) (n.p., [1984?]), 23, North Caroliniana Collection, University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill; ELS, “A Look at Weekday Church Schools,” Religious Education 51 ( Jan.–Feb. 1956): 20; “Editor’s Notes,” Catholic Standard and Times [Philadelphia], 10 Sept. 1954, p. 229, vol. 71, Archdiocesan Scrapbooks, Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center; Seymour Gorchoff to Arthur Gilbert, 18 Feb. 1957, enclosed with Gilbert to ELS, 5 March 1957, folder 8, box 32, RG 9, NCC; Everett E. Levi to Albert Chernin, 14 Oct. 1955, folder 6, box 188, JWFI. Catherine H. Smith, untitled report on Lyndonville Area Rural Project (n.d. [1954]), folder 1, box 33, RG 9, NCC; Milner, “Church, State, and Schools”; Ernst Christian Helmreich, Religion and the Maine Schools: An Historical Approach (Brunswick, Me.: Bureau for Research in Municipal Government, 1960), 59; Carl R. Key to Alice L. Goddard, n.d. [1960]; Goddard to Paul King, 7 Sept. 1960, both in folder 22, box 31, RG 9, NCC; “St. Louis Area: Religion in the Schools,” Christian Century 76 (26 Aug. 1959): 980. “That Supreme Court Decision,” Progress [International Reform Federation] 48 (April 1948): 4, folder 12, box 29, RG 19, NCC; Richard B. Dierenfield, Religion in American Public Schools (Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1962), 34. Michaelsen, Piety in the Public School, 168–169; “Annual Meeting, North Dakota Interchurch Council” (ms, 1949), folder 8; “Biennial Meeting, North Dakota Interchurch Council” (ms, 22 Jan. 1957), folder 11; North Dakota Interchurch Council, Bible Reading in the Public Schools of North Dakota (n.p., n.d. [1956]), folder 11, all in box 2, North Dakota Conference of Churches Papers; Elizabeth W. Wesson to Robert Segal, 5 Feb. 1953; Segal to Benjamin J. Shevach, 23 Oct. 1952; “Cambridge Housewife’s Book Guides Teachers in Bible Readings,” Boston Daily Globe, 22 Feb. 1957, all in “Religious Observances in Schools—Wesson, Elizabeth M.” folder, box 180, BJCC.

29 6 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r Si x 39. Boles, Bible, Religion, and Public Schools, 86–87; Cohen, Jews in Christian America, 189–190; “Analysis of Religious Practices in the Indianapolis Public Schools” (ms, 1959), folder 13, box 203, JWFI; The Regents Statement on Moral and Spiritual Training in the Schools (n.p., 30 Nov. 1951), “Dr. Allen—Moral and Spiritual Values 1951– 53” folder, box 2, Commissioner’s File BO459–69, New York State Dept. of Education Records, State Library, Albany; Bruce J. Dierenfield, “Secular Schools? Religious Practices in New York and Virginia Public Schools since World War II,” Journal of Policy History 4 (1992): 366; “Prayer in School Still State Issue,” NYT, 3 March 1954, folder 3, box 23, Paul Blanshard Papers, Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor. 40. “San Diego, California: A Guide to Moral and Spiritual Education in Elementary Schools” (ms, n.d. [1953]), 2–3, enclosed with R. L. Hunt to “Dear Friends,” 1 March 1955, folder 4, box 1, Presbyterian Board of Christian Education Papers, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia; Dierenfield, Religion in American Public Schools, 43–44; “Weymouth Teachers Prepare Fifth Student ‘Trust in God’ Contest,” Patriot [Quincy, Mass.], 18 Jan. 1958; Weymouth Moral and Spiritual Values Committee to “Dear Friends,” 3 Jan. 1958; “The Workshop of Freedom” (ms, n.d. [1958]), all in “Religious Observances in Schools (General Files) 1956–1960” folder, box 179, BJCC. 41. Dierenfield, “Secular Schools?” 365; Ruth Fairbanks, “Chaff and Chatter,” Fargo Forum, 24 Sept. 1950, 28, scrapbook 6, Bertha R. Palmer Papers, State Historical Society of North Dakota; John A. LaCoste, “Discussion on Problem of Religion and Public Education” (ms, n.d. [1955]), folder 3, box 1, Presbyterian Board of Christian Education Papers. 42. LaCoste, “Discussion on Problem of Religion”; “Religion in Schools—NCC’s Plan,” Christian Beacon 22 (11 April 1957): 1. 43. Louis Cassels, “Place of Religion in Public School Likely to Boil into Public Debate,” unidentified clipping, n.d. [1956], folder 4, box 23; “‘Hybrid Religion’ Laid to Schools,” NYT, 8 May 1957, folder 4, box 23; Mr. and Mrs. James E. Ghio to Paul Blanshard, 3 Oct. 1957, folder 22, box 3, all in Blanshard Papers; Robert Segal to Jason R. Silverman, 24 Dec. 1958, “Religious Observances in Schools (General Files) 1956–1960” folder, box 179, BJCC; “Broad Ripple High School Good Friday Program” (ms, 1961), folder 4, box 188, JWFI; Deborah Dash Moore, To the Golden Cities: Pursuing the American Jewish Dream in Miami and L.A. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994), 182; Joseph W. Feldman to Earl Dimrick, n.d. [1956], folder 18, box 36, National Council of Jewish Women—Pittsburgh Section Papers, Hillman Library, University of Pittsburgh. 44. Robert Segal to Jason R. Silverman, 2 Dec.1958; Louise M. Rodenhiser to Segal, 5 May 1960, both in “Religious Observances in Schools (General Files) 1956–1960” folder, box 179, BJCC. 45. “Memorandum Regarding Chelsea Christmas Carol Problem” (ms, 8 Dec. 1949); copies of letters of Abraham Wolper family, Dec. 1949, both in “Religious Observances in Schools, Chelsea Christmas Carol Problem, 1948–1950” folder, box 180, BJCC. 46. Isadore Zack to Robert Segal, 13 Feb. 1957; Jules Cohen to Louis Ruchames, 15 Jan.

No t e s t o C h a p t e r Se v e n * 297 1958, both in “Religious Observances in Schools (General Files) 1956–60” folder, box 179, BJCC; Marshall Cohen to Jules Cohen, 14 April 1958, folder 6, box 188, JWFI; Sidney Z. Vincent to G. Goodwin, 16 Nov. 1949, folder 93, box 6, Jewish Welfare Federation of Cleveland Papers, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland; Jewish Community Council of Cleveland and Bureau of Jewish Education, The Hanukkah Manual for Public School Teachers (ms, [1948?]), 1, General Collection, Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, Philadelphia. 47. “Working Draft, Christmas-Hanukkah Celebrations” (ms, 1950); Raymond L. Spoerri to Sidney Z. Vincent, 20 Dec. 1948, both in folder 93, box 6, Jewish Welfare Federation of Cleveland Papers.

Chapter Seven 1. Leo Pfeffer, “Who’s Who in the Prayer Controversy,” CLSA Reports No. 6 (15 Aug. 1962), “Prayer in Schools—1961” folder, box 23, Leo Pfeffer Papers, George Arents Research Library, Syracuse University. See David J. Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (New York: Vintage, 1986), 211. 2. Garrow, Bearing the Cross, 269; William M. Beaney and Edward N. Beiser, “Prayer and Politics: The Impact of Engel and Schempp on the Political Process,” Journal of Public Law 13 (1964): 486; The Dialogue [National Conference of Christians and Jews] no. 29 (May 1964), folder 8, box 1, RG 9, NCC. 3. Samuel L. Scheiner to JCRM et al., 23 July 1962, “Prayer in Schools—1961” folder, box 23, Pfeffer Papers. 4. Dan T. Carter, The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), 207; Arnold R. Hirsch, “Massive Resistance in the Urban North: Trumbull Park, Chicago, 1953–1966,” Journal of American History 82 (Sept. 1995): 522–550; Thomas J. Sugrue, “Crabgrass-Roots Politics: Race, Rights, and the Reaction against Liberalism in the Urban North, 1940–1964,” ibid., 551–578. 5. Conference of the Joint Advisory Committee of the Synagogue Council of America and the National Community Relations Advisory Council, “Reactions to Supreme Court Decision in Regents Prayer” (ms, 16 July 1962), 1, box 130, accession 184, JCRCGP; James P. Mullane, “J. P. Mullane Terms Court Contemptible,” Indianapolis News, 1 July 1963, folder 6, box 187, JWFI; Emery S. Quimby to Everett Dirksen [hereafter ED], 28 April 1969, WPF 2127, EDP. 6. See Rebecca E. Klatch, A Generation Divided: The New Left, the New Right, and the 1960s (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 2; James T. Patterson, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), ch. 21; and esp. Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). 7. See Doug Rossinow, The Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity, and the New Left in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998); Isserman and Kazin, America Divided, ch. 13.

29 8 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r Se v e n 8. See Patterson, Grand Expectations, esp. chs. 19 and 21; Matthew C. Moen, The Transformation of the Christian Right (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama, 1992); Justin Watson, The Christian Coalition: Dreams of Restoration, Demands for Recognition (New York: St. Martin’s, 1997). 9. Leo Pfeffer, The Supreme Court’s Bible-Prayer Decision . . . (New York: Joint Advisory Committee of the Synagogue Council of America and the National Community Relations Advisory Council, 18 June 1963), 7–8, folder 7, box 203, JWFI. 10. “Uproar over School Prayer—and the Aftermath,” U.S. News and World Report 53 (9 July 1962): 44. 11. See Bruce J. Dierenfield, “‘Somebody Is Tampering with America’s Soul’: Congress and the School Prayer Debate,” Congress and the Presidency 24 (Autumn 1997): 188; David E. Kyvig, Explicit and Authentic Acts: Amending the United States Constitution, 1776–1995 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1996), ch. 16. 12. Dierenfield, “Somebody Is Tampering,” 179, 176; “Does Schoolroom Prayer Require a New Amendment?” Time 83 (8 May 1964): 62; “The Court Decision—And the School Prayer Furor,” Newsweek, 9 July 1962, 44, folder 1, box 188, JWFI; The Dialogue, no. 29 (May 1964), 2, folder 8, box 1, RG 9, NCC; Kenneth M. Dolbeare and Phillip E. Hammond, The School Prayer Decisions: From Court Policy to Local Practice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), 32. 13. Dolbeare and Hammond, School Prayer Decisions, 32; Edward V. Brooke, “Findings, Rulings, and Order” (ms, 17 Dec. 1963); Morris Michelson to Brooke, 6 Sept. 1963, both in “Religious Observances in Schools (General Files), 1963–64” folder, box 179; “Sudbury Schools to Mark Christian, Jewish Holidays,” Boston Globe, 27 Aug. 1964, “Religious Observances—Sudbury, Mass.” folder, box 180, all in BJCC. 14. “Bah, Humbug, Virginia—We Don’t Know: Christmas Poses Dilemma for the Schools,” American Education 3 (Dec. 1966–Jan. 1967): 14–17; Isaiah Terman, “Christmas in the Public Schools, 1963” (ms, 8 Nov. 1963), folder 5, box 188; “Christmas Practices by Residence” (ms, 1966), enclosed with Philip D. Pecar to “Dear Friend,” 20 Jan. 1966, folder 3, box 177, both in JWFI; “Jewel” to “Dearest darling Beenie hillers” [Paul Blanshard], 9 Jan. 1963, folder 10, box 4, Paul Blanshard Papers, Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor. 15. Charles W. Winegarner to James G. O’Hara, 5 Jan. 1966, “Prayer in Schools” folder, box 12, James G. O’Hara Papers, Bentley Historical Library; “Some Second Thoughts on Moments of Silence,” NYT, 4 March 1984, “School Prayer Legislation 1984” folder, box 7, accession 1991, JCRCGP; Clarence W. Hall, “Is Religion Banned from Our Schools?” Reader’s Digest 86 (Feb. 1965): 50; Bruce J. Dierenfield, “Secular Schools? Religious Practices in New York and Virginia Public Schools since World War II,” Journal of Policy History 4 (1992): 371; Mel Carbonell to ED, 29 June 1966; National Champions, Miami High “Stingarees,” America’s Outstanding Athletes Speak Up! (Miami: Christian Youth Ranch, n.d. [1966]), both in WPF 2075, EDP. 16. Naomi Cohen, Jews in Christian America: The Pursuit of Religious Equality (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 212; James W. Fraser, Between Church and State: Religion and Public Education in a Multicultural America (New York:

No t e s t o C h a p t e r Se v e n * 29 9


18. 19.

20. 21.



24. 25.

St. Martin’s, 1999), 149; Samuel S. Wiley to Carlton Joiner, 29 June 1967; Wiley to “Dear Friend,” 7 June 1967, both in “Week-Day Religious Educational Committee” folder, box 3, WRE-NC; Friends of Bible Teaching in the Public Schools, The FiftyNine Year Miracle: The History of Bible Teaching in the Public Schools of Charlotte (1925–1984) (n.p., [1984?]), 28, North Caroliniana Collection, University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill. Samuel S. Wiley to Donald A. Lau, 18 May 1967, “Weekday Religious Educational Committee” folder, box 3, WRE-NC; How We Teach the Bible in Public Schools (Wheaton, Ill.: Religious Instruction Association, 1967), folder 19, box 3, North Dakota Conference of Churches Papers, State Historical Society, Bismarck; Samuel S. Wiley to “Mrs. Gwynn,” 17 March 1967, “Weekday Religious Educational Committee” folder, box 3, WRE-NC. James L. Hicks, “A Personal Thing,” Amsterdam News, 7 July 1962, 10; Melvin Tapley, “Standing in the Way” [cartoon], ibid. Fannie Ledbetter, “School Prayer,” Amsterdam News, 4 Aug. 1962, 10; Mrs. Wellington Drexler to James G. O’Hara, 8 March 1963, “Prayer in Schools” folder, box 12, O’Hara Papers; “Sorry, This School’s Segregated” [cartoon], Indianapolis News, 19 June 1963, folder 6, box 187, JWFI. “Six Local Pastors View School Prayer Ruling,” Philadelphia Tribune, 30 June 1962, 1; “Baptist Ministers Hit Court Prayer Edict,” ibid., 7 July 1962, 11. “Extracts from Statements of Denominational Bodies . . .” (ms, July 1962), 9, folder 32, box 32, RG 9, NCC; James C. O’Connor, “On the Issue of School Prayers,” Journal and Guide [Norfolk, Va.], 14 July 1962, 7. “Extracts from Statements of Denominational Bodies,” 9; Vanessa Siddle Walker, Their Highest Potential: An African American School Community in the Segregated South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), 109; Mrs. Paul F. Whitaker to L. H. Fountain, 24 Feb. 1967, enclosed with Whitaker to ED, 24 Feb. 1967, WPF 2104, EDP; “Gary Ministers’ Opinions Vary on Prayer Ban,” Gary PostTribune, 18 June 1963, folder 6, box 187, JWFI; Dierenfield, “Secular Schools?” 375. “Bishop Scully’s Statement,” Evangelist [Albany], 29 June 1962, “Prayer in the Schools—News Clippings” folder, box 20, New York State Council of Churches Papers, Arents Research Library, Syracuse University; “After the Decision,” Criterion [Indiana], 6 July 1962, folder 1, box 188, JWFI; Congressional Record, 9 June 1964, 12579–580, “Prayer (1)” folder, box 63, Alvin M. Bentley Papers, Bentley Historical Library; “Message by the Committee on Religion and Public Education” (ms, 24–27 June 1962), folder 28, box 28; “Pronouncement on the Churches and the Public Schools” (ms, 7 June 1963), folder 10, box 31, both in RG 4, NCC; Arlene and Howard Eisenberg, “Why Clergymen Are against School Prayer,” Redbook, Jan. 1965, 97, Chicago Office File 5359, EDP. “The Greater Evil,” WP, 21 Jan. 1966, WPF 2067, EDP; “Nearer, My God, to Thee . . .” [cartoon], St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Sept. 1966, WPF 2068, EDP. Allen J. Matusow, The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s (New York: Harper and Row, 1984), 95, 184, 207; Patterson, Grand Expectations, 543–544; Garrow, Bearing the Cross, 531; “The Greater Evil.”

30 0 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r Se v e n 26. Eugene L. Heath to ED, 23 Sept. 1966; Berenice M. Storey to ED, 23 Sept. 1966, both in WPF 2083, EDP; Kenneth McFarland to ED, 7 Sept. 1966, WPF 2082, EDP; “Text of Address given by the Reverend George T. Cook . . .” (ms, 22 Sept. 1963), “Rev. George T. Cook” folder, box 2, Series IV, Frank J. Becker Papers, Arents Research Library; Norman Vincent Peale, “Superduper Liberals See Prayers as Corny—Is It ‘Goodbye, Chaplains’?” Congressional Record, 4 June 1964, 12272, “Prayer (1)” folder, box 63, Bentley Papers. 27. Dierenfield, “Somebody Is Tampering,” 198n10; Dean M. Kelley, “Analysis of Hearings on Constitutional Amendments to Permit Prayer and Bible-Readings in Public Schools” (ms., April 1964), “Prayer in the Schools—Miscellaneous” folder, box 20, New York State Council of Churches Papers; J. Goodloe Jackson, “Bible Reading and Prayer in Public Schools” (ms, 1964), enclosed with Jackson to Frank Becker, 1 Aug. 1964, “J. Goodloe Jackson” folder, box 6, Series IV, Becker Papers. 28. “Halt Prayers, Town Warned,” Herald-Traveler, n.d. [1969], enclosed with William X. Wall to ED, 6 June 1969, WPF 2128, EDP. 29. See Michael Kazin, “The Grass-Roots Right: New Histories of U.S. Conservatism in the Twentieth Century,” AHR 97 (1992): 136–155; Leonard J. Moore, “Good Old-Fashioned New Social History and the Twentieth-Century American Right,” Reviews in American History 24 (1996): 555–573. 30. “A Prayer Amendment?” America 107 (8 Sept. 1962): 685–686; “Congress Considers Prayer Decision,” Congressional Record, 15 June 1964, 13271, “Prayer (1)” folder, box 63, Bentley Papers; “Return of Bible to Schools Aim of Youth Group,” Christian Beacon 28 (24 Oct. 1963): 5; “Carl Thomas McIntire, Larry Miller Testify on Behalf of Becker Amendment,” ibid. 29 (14 May 1964): 1; “Film Stars Fight Court Ban on Prayer,” Shreveport Journal, 6 July 1964, rpt. in Congressional Record, 27 July 1964, A3902, “Prayer (3)” folder, box 63, Bentley Papers; Drew Pearson column, Newport News Daily Press, 14 May 1964, rpt. in Christian Beacon 29 (21 May 1964): 1. 31. “Prayer-In-School Petitions Submitted,” Flint Journal, 20 Oct. 1965, “Prayer (2)” folder, box 63, Bentley Papers; “RSVP, Goals and Guidelines” (ms, n.d. [1966]), enclosed with Ralph B. Vandenberg to “Honorable Sir,” 29 March 1966, “Federal Miscellaneous, 1966, Prayer in Schools” folder, box 165, George Romney Papers, Bentley Historical Library; Rita Warren with Dick Schneider, Mom, They Won’t Let Us Pray (Old Tappan, N.J.: Chosen Books, 1975), 14–16, 156; Rita Warren to Hugh L. Carey, 10 Dec. 1975, reel 41, Hugh L. Carey Office Records, Microfilm Copy, New York State Library, Albany; Dierenfield, “Somebody Is Tampering,” 180–183; “Attacks on Integrity,” Augusta [Ga.] Herald, 16 Nov. 1971, folder 11, box 122, William Jennings Bryan Dorn Papers, Modern Political Collections, University of South Carolina, Columbia. 32. Pfeffer, “Who’s Who in the Prayer Controversy”; Conference of Joint Advisory Committee, “Reactions to Supreme Court Decision in Regents Prayer”; “Religious Reactions to the Regents’ Prayer Decision,” Interreligious Newsletter 7 (Feb. 1963), 2–4, folder 12, box 203, JWFI; Edwin J. Lukas to Paul Blanshard, 12 Sept. 1962, folder 7, box 4, Blanshard Papers. To be sure, some Catholics—most notably the United States Catholic Conference—supported the Supreme Court’s prayer deci-

No t e s t o C h a p t e r Se v e n * 301










sions. But the USCC also became a favorite target for Catholic prayer advocates, who—like Protestant critics of the National Council of Churches—insisted that it did not speak for the majority of believers. William F. Buckley Jr., “The Prayer Amendment,” National Review 23 (3 Dec. 1971): 1375. “Bishop Kenrick and the Public Schools,” Philadelphia Catholic Standard and Times, 7 Sept. 1962, “Discussion Papers, Policy Statements, Fact Sheets, Books I, II, II, IV 1962–1963” bound vol., box 122, accession 184, JCRCGP; “Who Made the Secularist School?” New Mexico Register, 28 Sept. 1962, “Prayer in Schools— Miami” folder, box 22, Pfeffer Papers; “Prelate Warns of Anti-Church Forces; Deplores High Court’s Prayer Decision,” Catholic Standard and Times, 20 July 1962, 5, vol. 85, Archdiocesan Scrapbooks, Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center; William Ball to Clarence Manion, 1 Aug. 1973, folder 7, box 77, Clarence Manion Papers, Chicago Historical Society. Jerry Falwell, Strength for the Journey: An Autobiography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987), 290; Joann Davis, “The Cross at Evans Jr. High,” Ottumwa Courier, n.d. [1968], enclosed with Davis to ED, 17 May 1968, WPF 2115, EDP. Jerome L. Himmelstein, To the Right: The Transformation of American Conservatism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 113–114; Robert Wuthnow, The Restructuring of American Religion: Society and Faith since World War II (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), 189–190. Louis Cassels, “Churches Join in Efforts to Halt Racial Injustices in Religion,” Chicago Defender, 30 June–6 July 1962, 8; James E. Adams, “Let’s Keep the Bible in Our Schools,” United Evangelical Action 21 (July 1962): 6; “The Supreme Court Breaks with History,” ibid. (Aug. 1962): 18; “What Did the Supreme Court Really Say?” ibid. (Sept. 1962): 20. “The Supreme Court,” Christian Beacon 27 (5 July 1962): 1, 8; American Jewish Congress, “Public Reaction to the Engel v. Vitale Decision on the New York Regents’ Prayer” (ms, 11 Sept. 1962), 13, folder 5, box 23, Blanshard Papers; “Statement by the Editor,” Christian Beacon 28 (20 June 1963): 1; “The Supreme Court Decision,” ibid. (27 June 1963): 1. Margaret Ryersau to William Ford, 25 June 1968, “School Prayer” folder, box 4, William Ford Papers, Bentley Historical Library; Howard W. Kacy, Wake Up, America (n.p., [1966?]), WPF 2077, EDP; Jean A. Polus to James G. O’Hara, n.d. [Nov. 1971], “School Prayer Amendment” folder, box 20, O’Hara Papers. See, e.g., Joann Davis to ED, 17 May 1968, WPF 2115, EDP; Mildred Baker to James G. O’Hara, Nov. ? 1971, “School Prayer Amendment” folder, box 20, O’Hara Papers; Clara Comer to Paul Douglas, 10 June 1966, “Religion (2)” folder, box 482, pt. I, Paul Douglas Papers, Chicago Historical Society. David G. Joyner to ED, 4 Oct. 1968, WPF 2120, EDP; Helen Bohn to James J. Kilpatrick, 8 Dec. 1972, “Religion” folder, box 7, accession 6626-e, James J. Kilpatrick Papers, Alderman Library, University of Virginia; Billy James Hargis, “The Need for a Constitutional Amendment Now!” (ms, Nov. 1963), Collection HH36, folder 2, box 1, Hoag-Hall Collection, John Hay Library, Brown University. Charles Lamb to Lyman Taylor, 27 May 1963; Lamb to Theodore L. Conklin, 16 Jan.

302 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r Se v e n


43. 44.

45. 46.




1964, both in “Prayer in the Schools—Correspondence” folder, box 20, New York State Council of Churches Papers; “Bible Protests Growing; More Schools Defy Ban; Student Cards, Prayers Protest Ky. Bible Ban,” Cincinnati Post Times and Star, 11 Sept. 1963, 1, rpt. in Christian Beacon, 31 Oct. 1963, 5; “Students Revolt against Prayer Ban,” Register [Newport, Ky.?], 22 Sept. 1963, “Prayer—Newport, KY HS” folder, box 2; “Student ‘Prayer Rebellion’ Sweeps through High Schools,” Long Island Press, 16 May 1964, “Prayer—Hicksville, L.I. Schools” folder, box 5; “Students Bow to School Authority, Refrain from Prayer Recitation,” ibid., 19 May 1964, “Prayer—Hicksville, L.I. Schools” folder, box 5, all in Series IV, Becker Papers. Chester and Millie Castle to ED, 28 Dec. 1966, WPF 2093, EDP; Twentieth Century Reformation Hour, The Crusade to Put Prayer and Bible Reading Back in Schools (n.p., [1966?]), WPF 2071, EDP. Peale, “Superduper Liberals”; Mrs. Paul Wheeler to ED, 2 Feb. 1967, WPF 2102, EDP. Eleanore Bowman to George Romney, 11 Nov. 1965, “Federal Miscellaneous, 1965, Prayer in Schools” folder, box 129, Romney Papers; Gladys Scesney to ED, 10 June 1969, WPF 2128, EDP; “Proud Christian,” “Minority Reminded That Majority Has Rights,” Indianapolis News, 22 Dec. 1962, folder 5, box 188, JWFI. “Swapping Strategies at Forum on Family,” NYT, 2 Aug. 1982, A13. Falwell, Strength for the Journey, 298, 337–338, David Edwin Harrell Jr., Pat Robertson: A Personal, Religious, and Political Portrait (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1987), 206–207; Dierenfield, “Somebody Is Tampering,” 184; Kenneth J. Heineman, God Is a Conservative: Religion, Politics, and Morality in Contemporary America (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 81–82; Jerry Falwell, Listen, America! (New York: Doubleday, 1980), 223. Ronald Reagan to Kenneth J. Bialkin, 2 Sept. 1984, “School Prayer Legislation 1984” folder, box 7; “Reagan Draws Deeply on Religion in Speech,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 31 Jan. 1984, “Reagan on Religion” folder, box 9; “President Reasserts His Faith,” ibid., 7 March 1984, “Reagan on Religion” folder, box 9, all in accession 1991, JCRCGP. William T. Martin, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America (New York: Broadway Books, 1996), 204–205, 233; Ben Brodinsky, “The New Right: The Movement and Its Impact,” Phi Delta Kappan 64 (Oct. 1982): 87– 88; Matthew C. Moen, The Christian Right and Congress (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1989), 133. “Public School Prayer in Spotlight Again,” Catholic Standard and Times, 5 June 1980, “Helms Bill” folder, box 5, accession 923, JCRCGP; “Amendment Drive on School Prayer Loses Senate Vote,” NYT, 21 March 1984; Arlen Specter to I. David Pincus, 29 March 1984; “One Leader Calls for Retribution, Others for Accord on Prayer Issue,” unidentified clipping, n.d. [March 1984], all in “School Prayer Legislation 1984” folder, box 7, accession 1991, JCRCGP; Dierenfield, “Somebody Is Tampering,” 188; “But Parental Objections Remain,” Suburban and Wayne [Pa.] Times, 21 Dec. 1978, “Religion and the Public Schools 1978–79” folder, box 9, accession 1991, JCRCGP; Albert J. Menendez, The December Wars: Religious Symbols

No t e s t o C h a p t e r Se v e n * 303 and Ceremonies in the Public Square (Buffalo: Prometheus, 1993), 98; Rita Warren to Wilma Belcourt, 4 March 1980, Book III, Wilma Belcourt Papers, Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. 50. “Louisiana Schools Challenge Supreme Court on Voluntary Prayer,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 22 Feb. 1982, “School Prayer—Local” folder; “Prayer in Many Schoolrooms Continues Despite 1962 Ruling,” NYT, 11 March 1984, “School Prayer Legislation 1984” folder, both in box 7, accession 1991, JCRCGP; “Reading Daily Devotions Common in Area Schools,” News and Record [Greensboro, N.C.], 25 March 1984, p. 501, vol. 62, North Caroliniana Collection Clipping File, University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill. 51. “Ministers Split in Support, Opposition of Prayer Plan,” News and Observer [Raleigh, N.C.], 24 May 1982, p. 553, vol. 62, North Caroliniana Collection Clipping File; “Prayer in Many Schoolrooms Continues Despite 1962 Ruling”; Willie L. Maye to Hugh L. Carey, 7 Sept. 1978, reel 41, Carey Office Records; “Reading Daily Devotions Common in Area Schools.” 52. North Carolina Project of People for the American Way, Religion in North Carolina’s Schools: The Hidden Reality (Winston-Salem, 1983), 6; Dierenfield, “Secular Schools?” 380; “Suit Tests N.D. ‘Commandments’ Law,” Minneapolis Tribune, 30 Dec. 1979, Book II; Edith Jones to Wilma Belcourt, 15 Jan. 1979, Book II; “Petitions Oppose Posting Tablets,” Grand Forks Herald, n.d. [March 1979], Book I, all in Belcourt Papers.

Chapter Eight 1. “Area Drive Opens to Fight Sex Education in Schools,” Kalamazoo Gazette, 5 March 1969, “Sex Education—Correspondence—From 1963” folder, box 111, PPFA; Gordon V. Drake, Is the Schoolhouse the Proper Place to Teach Raw Sex? [1968], in Sex, Schools, and Society, ed. Stewart E. Fraser (Nashville: Aurora, 1972), 184. 2. “Attack on Sex Education ‘Distorted,’ Margolis Says,” Kalamazoo Gazette, 16 Feb. 1969; “An Expert Speaks Out on Sex Education,” ibid., 19 Feb. 1969, both in “Sex Ed—Corresp—From 1963” folder, PPFA. 3. Letter from George H. Huesman, Kalamazoo Gazette, 14 March 1969; letter from Shannon McManus, ibid., 10 March 1969; letter from Joan Long, ibid., 13 March 1969, all in “Sex Ed—Corresp—From 1963” folder, PPFA. 4. Testimony of Mary Baird, Minutes of State Board of Education Hearing on Family Life Education Programs, 4 April 1980, III: 10, accession 1997.025, NJSBE. 5. Envelopes to Mary Calderone [hereafter MC], both postmarked 1 Aug. 1969, New Orleans, “Crank Correspondence, 1968” folder, accession 73.150, MCP. 6. Douglas R. Mackintosh et al., “Sex Education in New Orleans: The Birchers Win a Victory,” New South 25 (Summer 1970): 46, 55; Mary Breasted, Oh! Sex Education! (New York: Praeger, 1970), 269; ___ to MC, 12 Sept. 1969, “Crank Corresp, 1968” folder, MCP; Tom Anderson, “Straight Talk,” Southern Farm Publications, June 1969, “Sex Education” folder, box 7, William Ford Papers, Bentley Historical

304 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r E igh t

7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

12. 13.



16. 17.


Library, Ann Arbor; Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Gettman to Constance E. Cook [hereafter CEC], 25 March 1969, “Sex Education” folder, box 1, NYSASCE; ___ to SIECUS, 22 June 1969, “Crank Correspondence, 1969–1975” folder, accession 73.150, MCP. Under the terms of Calderone’s bequest, the Schlesinger Library bars researchers from identifying most of the correspondents in her papers. In such cases I have substituted a blank for the name of the correspondent. Jeffrey P. Moran, Teaching Sex: The Shaping of Adolescence in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000), chs. 1–5. See ibid., ch. 6; Breasted, Oh! Sex Education! Beth Bailey, Sex in the Heartland (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), 137. See, e.g., David Allyn, Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History (Boston: Little, Brown, 2000), esp. 272–273. Moran, Teaching Sex, 166, 163; Breasted, Oh! Sex Education, 208, 233; “Playboy Interview: Dr. Mary Calderone,” Playboy, April 1970, reel 9, Women and Health Collection, microfilm ed. (Berkeley: Women’s History Research Center, 1975); John D. Rockefeller III to MC, 9 June 1969, folder 230, box 14, collection 179, MCP. Moran, Teaching Sex, 162; MC to ___ , 9 Aug. 1968, “Crank Corresp, 1968” folder, MCP; Allyn, Make Love, Not War, 179, 154, 170, 173. John Kobler, “Sex Invades the Schoolhouse” [1968], in Sex, Schools, and Society, 133, 137; Breasted, Oh! Sex Education, 233; Marjorie F. Iseman, “Sex Education” [1968], in Sex, Schools, and Society, 159. Iseman, “Sex Education,” 143; Robert Eberwein, Sex Ed: Film, Video, and the Framework of Desire (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1999), 118– 119; Breasted, Oh! Sex Education, 63; Kobler, “Sex Invades the Schoolhouse,” 129– 131; Victoria Brittain, “Unpermissive America,” New Statesman, 10 Oct. 1969, reel 9, Women and Health Collection. Jeffrey P. Moran, “‘Modernism Gone Mad’: Sex Education Comes to Chicago, 1913,” Journal of American History 83 (Sept. 1996): 502–506; Eberwein, Sex Ed, 116; “Sex in the Schoolroom,” Time 51 (22 March 1948): 71–72; “Sex Education,” Life 24 (24 May 1948): 56; “Sex Education,” FPSB 12 (May 1950): 8; Third Report of Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities (Sacramento: California State Senate, 1947), 353. Gene Birkeland, “Deliver Us from Evil,” American Mercury 88 (March 1959): 93–96. Richard Gid Powers, Not without Honor: The History of American Anticommunism (New York: Free Press, 1995), 290; Ernest Dunbar, “The Plot to Take Over the PTA,” Look, 7 Sept. 1965; “The Movement to Restore Decency,” John Birch Society Bulletin, Jan. 1969, both in folder 46, accession 73–150–81, MCP; Movement to Restore Decency, “Special Bulletin—Feb. 1969,” Motorede folder, box 3, John Birch Society Papers, John Hay Library, Brown University. “How to Start a Motorede Committee,” “MOTOREDE BASIC ACTIVITIES,” “Possible Questions,” all enclosed with Movement to Restore Decency, “Special Bulletin—Feb. 1969”; Motorede Newsletter no. 1 (May 1969), “Motorede” folder, box 3, Birch Society Papers; “Sex-Ed Flare-ups Would Ban Courses, Materi-

No t e s t o C h a p t e r E igh t * 30 5






24. 25.



als,” Library Journal 94 (15 Nov. 1969): 4188; Drake, Is the Schoolhouse the Proper Place, 173; “Radio Tape of a Personal Attack against Reverend William Genne and Dr. Isadore Rubin” (Terre Haute, Ind.: WWVR Radio, 18 March 1969), folder 46, accession 73–150–81, MCP; “Suggested News Release,” enclosed with Motorede Newsletter no. 1. See, e.g., “Congress Ducks Sex Education Hassle,” Berkeley Daily Gazette, 17 July 1969, reel 9, Women and Health Collection; Mackintosh et al., “Sex Education in New Orleans,” esp. 48; MC to “Dear Friend,” 6 March 1969, enclosed with Motorede Newsletter, no. 1. Powers, Not without Honor, 312, 356; Mike Royko, “The New Peril: A Red in Bed,” Chicago Daily News, 24 Feb. 1969, folder 46, accession 73–150–81, MCP; “Sex Education in the Schools,” JAMA 203 (12 May 1969), “PPFA Subject—Sex Ed GeneralLit” folder, box 111, PPFA. “Sex Education in the Schools”; “Why the Furor over Sex Education,” U.S. News and World Report 67 (4 Aug. 1969): 45; “Radio Tape of Personal Attack against SIECUS” (Inglewood, Cal.: KTYM Radio, 20 March 1968), folder 47, accession 73– 150–81, MCP. “Radio Tape of Personal Attack against SIECUS”; “Playboy Interview: Dr. Mary Calderone,” 63; Mrs. R. E. Morgan to Paul Todd, 17 April 1969; Miriam Garwood, “Attacks against Sex Education—Southwest Region/ PPWP” (ms, April 1969), both in “Sex Ed—Corresp—From 1963” folder, PPFA; “Public Schools: Sex in the Classroom,” Time 94 (25 July 1969): 50; Carl T. Rowan and David M. Mazie, “Sex Education: Powder Keg in Our Schools,” Reader’s Digest 95 (Oct. 1969): 73; “Sex Education in School Upheld in Stormy Session,” Phoenix Gazette, 30 Oct. 1968, folder 47, accession 73–150–81, MCP. See, e.g., William and Victoria Schoenster to CEC, 29 March 1969, “Sex Ed” folder, box 1, NYSASCE; Mrs. Wellington Drexler to James G. O’Hara, 24 May 1969, “Sex Education” folder, box 13, James G. O’Hara Papers, Bentley Historical Library; Mrs. Edward C. Thedens to Office of the General Assembly, 31 Oct. 1970, “Responses to Sex Report” folder, package 1, UPCC. ___to MC, n.d. (rec. 25 Nov. 1974), “Correspondence, 1974” folder, accession 73.150, MCP. Breasted, Oh! Sex Education, 119–120; Allyn, Make Love, Not War, 138–140; S. S. Retzer to United Presbyterian Church of the USA, 8 Sept. 1970, “Responses to Sex Report,” package 1, UPCC. Willard B. Thomas to Council on Church and Society, n.d. [1970], “Responses to Sex Report,” package 1, UPCC; ___ to James Lincoln Collier and Lester A. Kirkendall, 20 June 1968, “Crank Corresp, 1968” folder, MCP; Max Rafferty, “The Dropout Parents: How Americans Got on a Sex Binge” [1969], in Sex, Schools, and Society, 225–226; idem., Max Rafferty on Education (New York: Devin-Adair, 1968), 149. Planned Parenthood—World Population, “Sample Release” (ms, 12 May 1969), “PPFA Subject—Sex Ed, General-Lit” folder, PPFA; “Parents Not Teaching Sex to Children,” Berkeley Daily Gazette, 29 Aug. 1969, reel 9, Women and Health Collection; Jacqueline Bezselich to William Ford, 28 June 1969, “Sex Ed” folder, box 7,

30 6 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r E igh t









Ford Papers; “Statement of Benjamin F. Lewis, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Association Chicago Area . . .” (ms, 26–27 July 1971), “Sex Ed—1970” folder; Merle W. Zirkle, “A Rationale for a Program in Sex Education” (ms, Sept. 1969), “PPFA Subject—Sex Ed, General-Lit” folder, both in box 111, PPFA. Letter by Mrs. Stephen Jordan, Schenectady [N.Y.] Gazette, n.d. [April 1969], enclosed with R. E. Morgan to Paul Todd, 17 April 1969, “Sex Ed—Corresp—From 1963” folder, PPFA; Moran, Teaching Sex, 161; Breasted, Oh! Sex Education, 227– 232; Committee on Family Life, “Fellowship Dinner” (ms, 4 Oct. 1963), folder 15, box 27, RG 9, NCC. Shirley Turpin to William P. Thompson, 22 June 1970; “Presbyterians Accept Liberal Sex Report, But . . .” National Catholic Reporter, n.d. [1970]; R. Norman Herbert, “Something Sacred Was Missing at General Assembly,” Presbyterian Layman, Sept. 1970; “Evaluation Study of the Committees of the Pioneer and Pleasant Grove United Presbyterian Churches, Ligonier, Pennsylvania” (ms, n.d. [1970]); Elaine Tourier to Department of Church and Society, 31 May 1970, all in “Responses to Sex Report” folder, package 1, UPCC. Testimony of Marjorie G. Lemlow, House Assembly Interim Committee on Education, Sensitivity Training Hearings (transcript, 5 Dec. 1968), 228, LP 48:12, Legislative Papers, California State Archives; Nola Meredith to Howard Day, 3 Jan. 1970, folder 441, CDER. Testimony of Nola Meredith, Sensitivity Training Hearings, 107–108; “Supplementary Evaluation of Curriculum Guides on Family Life and Sex Education and an Overview of the Guides” (ms, 6 March 1969), enclosed with Marilyn A. Angle, “Open Letter to California Parents and Taxpayers,” 10 March 1969, folder 11, box 91, LCCP. H. Edward Rowe, “Statement Concerning ‘Moral Guidelines’ Rough Draft” (ms, 24 July 1972), folder 442, CDER; Ellen Herman, The Romance of American Psychology: Political Culture in the Age of Experts (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 284–285; Guidelines for Moral Instruction in California Schools (Sacramento: State Dept. of Education, 1969), 55, folder 438, CDER. Sex/Family Life Education and Sensitivity Training: Indoctrination or Education? (San Mateo, Cal.: C.I.E. Information Center, 1969), 42–43, 52–53; American Education Lobby, Sex Education: Assault on American Youth (n.p., n.d. [1969]), 3–4, folder 11, box 91, LCCP; Breasted, Oh! Sex Education, 243–244; ___ to MC, 29 Sept. 1971, “Crank Corresp, 1968” folder, MCP. Angle, “Open Letter to California Parents and Taxpayers”; form letter by David L. Bartlett, n.d., enclosed with Bartlett to Max Rafferty, 2 Sept. 1969, folder 747, CDER; American Education Lobby, Sex Education, 1; “Parents Thrash Out Sex Ed Dilemma,” Star Free Press, n.d. [Sept. 1969], enclosed with Bartlett to Rafferty, 4 Nov. 1969, folder 747, CDER; ___ to MC, 20 April 1969, “Crank Corresp, 1969– 75” folder, MCP. Mrs. Mitchell J. Hochberg to CEC, 19 March 1969, “Sex Ed” folder, box 1, NYSASCE; ___ to MC, n.d. (rec. 25 March 1969), “Crank Corresp, 1968” folder; “Parents’ School League Fights ‘Permissiveness,’” Oregon Journal, 9 Sept. 1971, “By

No t e s t o C h a p t e r E igh t * 307




39. 40.





or about Dr. Calderone” folder; “Newsletter of Parents of New York United,” no. 2 (Jan. 1970): 6, enclosed with ___ to MC, 11 Feb. 1970, “Letters” folder, all in accession 73.150, MCP; letter from Rudolph Morin, Albany Knickerbocker News, n.d. [April 1969], enclosed with Mrs. K. Fitzpatrick to Mrs. Allen D. Foster, “Sex Ed— Corresp—From 1963” folder, PPFA; ___ to SIECUS, 22 June 1969, “Crank Corresp, 1969–75” folder, MCP. Breasted, Oh! Sex Education, 64; Antonio J. Lafata to James G. O’Hara, 19 July 1969, “Sex Ed” folder, box 13, O’Hara Papers; Shirley A. Giorgio to CEC, 25 March 1969, “Sex Ed” folder, box 1, NYSASCE. Lydia Gleason to CEC, n.d. [March 1969], “Sex Ed” folder, box 1, NYSASCE; Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Gardzella to William Ford, 13 Feb. 1974, “Sex Ed” folder, box 16, Ford Papers. Testimony of W. B. Woodard, 16 April 1969, LP 175:231, Legislative Papers, California State Archives, Sacramento; Mrs. Carl Paratore to James G. O’Hara, n.d. [June 1969], “Sex Ed” folder, box 13, O’Hara Papers; “Sex Education in School Upheld in Stormy Session,” Phoenix Gazette, 30 Oct. 1968, folder 47, accession 73–150–81, MCP; “Parents Thrash Out Sex Ed Dilemma.” Sandra Gardner, “New Jersey Journal,” NYT, 21 Feb. 1982, 3. Constance Horner, “Is the New Sex Education Going Too Far?” NYT Magazine, 7 Dec. 1980, 138, 142, 144; “Sex Ed 101 for Kids—and Parents,” Newsweek, 1 Sept. 1980, 50–51; Dale Vree, “Public School Blues,” National Review, 22 June 1979, 811; Ernest van den Haag, “Birds, Bees, and Bathroom Tours: Sex Education Revisited,” ibid., 7 Dec. 1979, 1555–57; testimony of Thomas Walsh, “Transcript of Public Testimony on Family Life Education, State Board of Education,” Session A (20 Feb. 1985), 44–45, folder 5a, accession 1997.025, NJSBE; Atta T. Blackwell, “School Sex Films ‘Corrupting,’” Ambler [Pa.] Gazette, n.d. [March 1977], “Newsclippings— Sex Education” folder, box 8, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania Records, Urban Archives, Temple University; Sandra Gardner, “Sex Education: A National Controversy,” Senior Scholastic 113 (6 March 1981): 14–15. Moran, Teaching Sex, 200–201; Horner, “Is the New Sex Education Going Too Far?” 148; “New Jersey Board Mandates Sex Education,” Phi Delta Kappan 61 (June 1980): 723; testimony of James Leck, Minutes of State Board of Education Hearing, 8 April 1980, II: 45; ___ to 60 Minutes, n.d. (rec. 5 Nov. 1981), folder 1, box 1, accession 82-m129, MCP. “Film Borrowers’ Names Sought by Moral Majority,” NYT, 8 Feb. 1981, 24; “Moral Majority Halts Lawsuit on Sex Education Film,” ibid., 24 Feb. 1981, 14; “Dirty Old Woman,” 60 Minutes, 25 Oct. 1981 (produced by Elliot Bernstein), film 7, MCP. Testimony of Catherine Denk, Minutes of State Board of Education, 6 Aug. 1980, I: 98; II: 15; testimony of Helen Foley, Minutes of State Board of Education Hearing, 8 April 1980, III: 45, both in accession 1997.025, NJSBE. Testimony of Mary Flunn, Minutes of State Board of Education Hearing, 8 April 1980, II: 146; ___ to 60 Minutes, n.d. (postmarked 31 Oct. 1981), folder 3, box 1, accession 82-m129, MCP; testimony of Rita Mahon, Minutes of State Board of

30 8 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r E igh t





49. 50.

Education Hearing, 8 April 1980, II: 78. On Our Bodies, Ourselves, see Allyn, Make Love, Not War, 183. See, e.g., “‘Sensualists’ Said behind Sex Education Movement,” Stockton [Cal.] Record, 10 Dec. 1968, folder 47, accession 73–150–81, MCP; Guidelines for Moral Instruction in California Schools, 37, 43–50; Marilyn Angle to Howard Day, 2 April 1969, folder 11, box 91, LCCP. Testimony of Jean Belsante, Minutes of State Board of Education Hearing, 8 April 1980, II: 61; testimony of Preston Smith, ibid., III: 29. For similar charges, see Vree, “Public School Blues”; Blackwell, “School Sex Films ‘Corrupting’”; Michael Lienesch, Redeeming America: Piety and Politics in the New Christian Right (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993), 82–83. Testimony of Mary DeCillis, Transcript of Public Testimony on Family Life Education, session B, 20 Feb. 1985, 38, folder 5b, accession 1997.025, NJSBE; testimony of Mary Baird, Minutes of State Board of Education Hearing, 8 April 1980, III: 7. Moran, Teaching Sex, 213–215, 204; William T. Martin, With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America (New York: Broadway Books, 1996), 249–252; C. Everett Koop, Koop: The Memoirs of America’s Family Doctor (New York: Random House, 1991), 213–214. Bonnie Nelson Trudell, Doing Sex Education: Gender Politics and Schooling (New York: Routledge, 1993), 18, 3; Moran, Teaching Sex, 214. “Sex Education: Three Choices,” NYT, 25 Aug. 1985, Long Island Weekly Section, 1, 14; “Battle Lines Being Drawn over Sex Education,” Los Angeles Times, 23 Dec. 1968, folder 47, accession 73–150–81, MCP.

Part Three 1. Jason Willick, “The Man Who Discovered ‘Culture Wars,’” Wall Street Journal, 25 May 2018; James Davison Hunter, “How America’s Culture Wars Have Evolved into a Class War,” WP, 12 Sept. 2017. See also Andrew Hartman, A War for the Soul of America, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019 [2015]), 258. 2. Hunter, “How America’s Culture Wars Have Evolved into a Class War.” 3. James Baldwin, “A Talk to Teachers,” Saturday Review, 21 Dec. 1963.

Chapter Nine 1. “School Curriculum Fights Increasingly Put Children in Culture War Crossfire,” Associated Press, 31 Jan. 2005; “Bible Study Course Becomes Lightning Rod in Church-State Debate,” Times-Leader [Wilkes-Barre, Penn.], 20 May 2005, 9; “Religious Battles Bubble Over in 2005,” Ithaca [N.Y.] Journal, 6 Jan. 2005, 10A; Jacques Gibble, “Seeking Consensus on Religion, Schools,” Sunday News [Lancaster, Penn.], 18 Dec. 2005, 1. 2. Adam B. Lerner, “History Class Becomes a Debate on America,” Politico, 21 Feb. 2015. 3. Peniel E. Joseph, “America Is on a Brink like None Other since the Civil War,”

No t e s t o C h a p t e r N i n e * 30 9







10. 11.




CNN, 30 July 2020; Daniel Henninger, “The Culture Wars Are Back,” Wall Street Journal, 2 Sept. 2020. “Wave of Patriotism Stirs Controversy,” Telegraph-Herald [Dubuque, Ia.], 18 Oct. 2001. Before arriving at the school in Florida, Bush had already learned that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers. Initially, he believed that crash was an accident. But once he got to the school, aides told him that the second tower had been struck and the nation was under attack. Andrew Glass, “Bush Reads ‘The Pet Goat’ to Schoolchildren, Sept. 11, 2001,” Politico, 11 Sept. 2015. “Board Votes to Require Recitation of Pledge at Public Schools,” NYT, 18 Oct. 2001; “Judges Ban Pledge of Allegiance from Schools, Citing ‘under God,’” NYT, 26 June 2002; “Lawmakers Blast Pledge Ruling,” CNN, 27 June 2002. “Lesson Plans for Sept. 11 Offer a Study in Discord,” NYT, 31 Aug. 2002, 1; William J. Bennett, “Faced with Evil on a Grand Scale, Nothing Is Relative,” Los Angeles Times, 1 Oct. 2001. Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017), 475; Steven D. Waldman, Sacred Liberty: America’s Long, Bloody, and Ongoing Struggle for Religious Freedom (New York: HarperOne, 2019), 273; Linda K. Wertheimer, Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance (Boston: Beacon, 2015), 159–160, 167. Stephen Prothero, Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections) (New York: Harper, 2016), 231; Mark A. Chancey, “Sectarian Elements in Public School Bible Courses: Lessons from the Lone Star State,” Journal of Church and State 49 (Autumn 2007): 719; idem., “The Bible, the First Amendment, and the Public Schools in Odessa, Texas,” Religion and American Culture 19 (Summer 2009): 169. “Bible Textbook Could Circumvent Culture War,” Knight-Ridder, 22 Sept. 2005; “Bible Course Becomes Test for Public Schools in Texas,” NYT, 1 Aug. 2005, A9; Chancey, “Sectarian Elements in Public School Bible Courses,” 722, 726. “Bible Study Course Becomes Lightning Rod in Church-State Debate”; Chancey, “The Bible, the First Amendment, and the Public Schools in Odessa, Texas,” 182. “Atheists Struggle in Rural Oklahoma,” News9 [Oklahoma City], 4 Dec. 2007; “The Black Sheep of Hardesty,” ABC News, 14 May 2007; “Families Challenging Religious Influence in Delaware Schools,” NYT, 29 July 2006; “School Board to Pay in Jesus Prayer Suit,” NYT, 28 Feb. 2008; Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals, 567. Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals, 527, 569; “Darwin Not Alone in Kansas Anymore,” Chicago Tribune, 9 Nov. 2005; “Christian Law Center Seeks to Change American Culture,” Associated Press, 10 Feb. 2006; “Challengers of Evolution Lose,” Chicago Tribune, 15 Feb. 2006. Martin Fletcher, “Yanqui Doodle Dandy,” Times of London, 9 March 2007, 4; Waldman, Sacred Liberty, 241; Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 7. Skocpol and Williamson, The Tea Party, 7; Jill Lepore, The Whites of Their Eyes:

3 10 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r N i n e










24. 25.

The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2011), 11, 156. Russell Shorto, “Founding Father?” NYT, 14 Feb. 2010, SM32; Susan Jacoby, “One Classroom, from Sea to Shining Sea,” NYT, 18 March 2010; Mark A. Chancey, “Rewriting History for a Christian America: Religion and the Texas Social Studies Controversy of 2009–2010,” Journal of Religion 94 (July 2014): 353. Jon Marcus, “Erasing History’s Lessons,” Times Educational Supplement, 17 Aug. 2012; Keith A. Ereckson, “Culture War Circus: How Politics and the Media Left History Education Behind,” in Ereckson, ed., Politics and the History Curriculum: The Struggle over Standards in Texas and the Nation (New York: Palgrave, 2012), 3–4, 8; “Education Plan Reopens Divide on U.S. History,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 22 Jan. 2013; “The Conservative Ideas the Koch Brothers Want to Sneak into Schools,” Talking Points Memo, 10 Dec. 2014; Katherine Stewart, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children (New York: Public Affairs, 2012), 163. Stewart, Good News Club, 165; Ereckson, “Culture War Circus,” 12; Edward H. Sebesta, “Neo-Confederate Ideology in the Texas History Standards,” in Ereckson, ed., Politics and the History Curriculum, 149–150. Liz Jackson, Muslims and Islam in U.S. Education: Rethinking Multiculturalism (New York: Routledge, 2014), 85; Jeff Solocheck, “Is There a Bias in Florida’s Social Studies Textbooks?” The Gradebook [St. Petersburg, Fla.], 24 Jan. 2011; “Texas: Attempts to Block CSCOPE Hit Rock,” US Official News, 29 July 2013. John Dombrink, The Twilight of Social Conservatism: American Culture Wars in the Obama Era (New York: New York University Press, 2015), 19; Waldman, Sacred Liberty, 276; Wertheimer, Faith Ed, 116, 121. “Former Marine Gets Banned from Daughter’s School over Islam-Lesson Dispute,” Yahoo News, 30 Oct. 2014; Wertheimer, Faith Ed, 2, 18; Waldman, Sacred Liberty, 275. Lepore, Whites of Their Eyes, 157; Stephanie Simon, “Historian Remains Key Ally of Right,” Politico, 8 Sept. 2013; Stewart, Good News Club, 153; Gene B. Pruess, “‘As Texas Goes, So Goes the Nation’: Conservatism and Culture Wars in the Lone Star State,” in Ereckson, ed., Politics and the History Curriculum, 35; Stephanie Simon, “Texas Textbooks Tout Christian Heritage,” Politico, 10 Sept. 2014. Stewart, Good News Club, 167–169; Lepore, Whites of Their Eyes, 159; Emilio Zamora, “Moving the Liberal-Minority Coalition up the Education Pipeline,” in Ereckson, ed., Politics and the History Curriculum, 95. Sam Wineburg, Why Learn History (When It’s Already On Your Phone) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 1–2; “Virginia Textbook Claims Blacks Fought for South in Civil War. Source? The Internet,” National Public Radio, 20 Oct. 2010; Zamora, “Moving the Liberal-Minority Coalition,” 90–94; Lepore, Whites of Their Eyes, 158. Shorto, “Founding Father?”; Simon, “Historian Remains Key Ally of Right.” Simon, “Historian Remains Key Ally of Right”; Mickey McLean, “David Bar-

No t e s t o C h a p t e r N i n e * 3 1 1











ton’s Book on Jefferson Republished,” World, 23 Dec. 2015; Stewart, Good News Club, 157. Jonathan Zimmerman, “Ethnic Studies Can’t Make up for Whitewashed History in Classrooms,” WP, 11 Oct. 2020; Tracy Lachica Buenavista, “Making of a Movement: Ethnic Studies in a K-12 Context,” in “White” Washing American Education: The New Culture Wars in Ethnic Studies, ed. Denise M. Sandoval et al. (New York: Praeger, 2016), xiv. J. Weston Phippen, “How One Law Banning Ethnic Studies Led to Its Rise,” Atlantic, 19 July 2015; “Arizona Bill Targeting Ethnic Studies Signed into Law,” Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2010; “Rift in Arizona as Latino Class Is Found Illegal,” NYT, 7 Jan. 2011. “Rift in Arizona as Latino Class Is Found Illegal”; “The War over Arizona’s Laws on Immigration and Ethnic Studies Continues,” Fox News, 17 May 2010; Phippen, “How One Law Banning Ethnic Studies Led to Its Rise.” Phippen, “How One Law Banning Ethnic Studies Led to Its Rise”; Roque Planas, “Why Mexican-American Studies is ‘Going to Spread like Wildfire’ in Texas,” Huffington Post, 11 April 2014. Planas, “Why Mexican-American Studies is ‘Going to Spread like Wildfire’ in Texas”; “Ethnic Studies: A Movement Born of a Ban,” National Public Radio, 13 Aug. 2017; “Ex-Schools Chief Huppenthal Unapologetic over Criticism of TUSD’s Ethnic Studies,” Tuscon.com, 27 Dec. 2017; “What You Need to Know about the Arizona Mexican-American Studies Trial,” National Coalition Against Censorship, 23 Aug. 2017. Lawrence Charap, “Teaching and Thinking about the Gilded Age and Progressive Era in the Redesigned AP U.S. History Course,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 14 (July 2015): 389–391; Rebecca Klein, “This Is How Denver Area High School Students Are Protesting Proposed Curriculum Changes,” Huffington Post, 24 Sept. 2014. Klein, “This Is How Denver Area High School Students Are Protesting”; “Teachers Shut Down Two Suburban Denver High Schools,” Associated Press, 29 Sept. 2014; Lerner, “History Class Becomes a Debate on America”; “History Requires All Sides of Story,” Santa Fe New Mexican, 6 Oct. 2014; “Jindal Tells CPAC He’s ‘Tired of Hyphenated Americans,’” Talking Points Memo, 27 Feb. 2015. Jonathan Zimmerman, “Exceptionalism and the Left,” Los Angeles Times, 13 Dec. 2010; “Jindal Tells CPAC He’s ‘Tired of Hyphenated Americans’”; Lendol Calder, “The Kids Are (Going to Be) Alright,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 14 (July 2015): 443; Cory Turner, “The Great U.S. History Battle,” National Public Radio, 24 Feb. 2015; Lerner, “History Class Becomes a Debate on America.” “History Requires All Sides of Story”; Colleen Flaherty, “Revisiting History,” Inside Higher Ed, 31 July 2015; Anna Kamanetz, “The New, New Framework for AP U.S. History,” National Public Radio, 5 Aug. 2015; Eric Liu, “What Every American Should Know,” Atlantic, 3 July 2015. Charles Haynes, “Religious Liberty in the Public Schools: Toward a Common

3 1 2 * No t e s t o C h a p t e r N i n e

36. 37.


39. 40.

41. 42.






Vision for the Common Good,” in Religious Freedom in America: Constitutional Roots and Contemporary Challenges, ed. Allen D. Hertzke (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015), 119, 126–127, 131; Waldman, Sacred Liberty, 252. “School Prayer: 50 Years after Ban, God and Faith More Present Than Ever,” Christian Science Monitor, 16 June 2013; Stewart, Good News Club, 21–29. “In One Washington School, Religious Freedom Hits the 50-Yard Line,” Christian Science Monitor, 30 Oct. 2015; “Kountze Cheerleaders Win Religious Banners Case,” KFDM [Beaumont, Tex.], 31 Aug. 2018; Emma Green, “Cheerleaders for Christ,” Atlantic, 4 April 2016. Haynes, “Religious Liberty in the Public Schools,” 126; Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden, Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2018), 100–105, 118. Stewart, Good News Club, 250–251. Katherine Stewart, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism (New York: Bloomsbury, 2019), 203–205; Neal McCluskey, “Bathroom Battles: Why We Need School Choice,” Cato@Liberty, 9 May 2016. Katherine Stewart, “Betsy DeVos and God’s Plan for Schools,” NYT, 13 Dec. 2016. “Trump Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students,” NYT, 22 Feb. 2017; Patrick Buchanan, “Is Secession a Solution to Cultural War?” Creators Syndicate, 24 Feb. 2017; Alexander K. Davis, Bathroom Battlegrounds: How Public Restrooms Shape the Gender Order (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2020), 190; “Bathroom Law Repeal Leaves Few Pleased in North Carolina,” NYT, 31 March 2017, A1; “Texas Governor Says ‘Bathroom Bill’ No Longer on His Agenda,” Reuters, 28 Sept. 2018. Kristy Slominski, Teaching Moral Sex: A History of Religion and Sex Education in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), 247–248; “California Parents Keep Kids Out of School to Protest New Sex Ed Curriculum,” U.S. News and World Report, 17 May 2019; Anna North, “The Future of Sex Ed Has Arrived. Is America Ready?” Vox, 3 Dec. 2019; “The Power of Inclusive Sex Education,” Atlantic, 17 July 2017; “Arizona Just Repealed a Law That Banned Schools from Promoting a ‘Homosexual Lifestyle,’” CNN, 11 April 2019. “As Colorado Moves to Bar Abstinence-Only Sex Education, Teenagers Take the Lead,” NYT, 21 Feb. 2019; “Amid #MeToo, States Debating Teaching Consent to Kids,” Associated Press, 20 May 2019; “Sex Mandate Sparks Bitter Washington State Ballot Fight,” Associated Press, 28 Sept. 2020; “Sex Education Referendum 90 Passes in Washington State Election Results,” Seattle Times, 3 Nov. 2020. “Pssst. Have You Heard What They’re Teaching Kids about Sex in Omaha Public Schools?” Omaha World-Herald, 12 Feb. 2017; North, “The Future of Sex Ed Has Arrived”; “Parents Outraged over ‘Graphic’ Sex Ed Plan ‘Sit Out,’” Christian Post, 2 April 2018; Ezra Klein, “The Post-Christian Culture Wars,” Vox, 26 Nov. 2019. “Trump: ‘Make America Great Again’ Slogan Was Made up by Me,” The Hill, 2 April 2019; Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals, 629; Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Donald Trump Is the First White President,” Atlantic, Oct. 2017. “Unite the Right, the Violent White Supremacist Rally in Charlottesville, Ex-

No t e s t o C h a p t e r N i n e * 3 13




51. 52.





plained,” Vox, 14 Aug. 2017; “Fact Check: Meme on Trump’s ‘Very Fine People’ Quote Contains Inaccuracies,” USA Today, 17 Oct. 2020; “White Nationalists Praise Trump as ‘Most Honest President’ since Washington,” NBC News, 16 Aug. 2017. “After Charlottesville, Schools Take Center Stage in Confederacy Debate,” U.S. News and World Report, 21 Aug. 2017; “More Than 240 Schools in US Are Named after a Confederate Leader,” CNN, 16 Sept. 2020; “Students Lead Protest over Confederate Flag, Dress Code,” Associated Press, 27 Dec. 2019. “Ethnic Studies: A Movement Born of a Ban”; David Davenport and Gordon Lloyd, “How Not to Teach American History,” States News Service, 17 Sept. 2019; Zimmerman, “Ethnic Studies Can’t Make up for Whitewashed History.” “Black History Instruction Gets New Emphasis in Many States,” Pew Stateline [Pew Charitable Trusts], 20 Aug. 2020; “Black History Is American History Says Rep. Marcia Fudge with New Bill,” Forbes, 24 June 2020. Kevin Mahnken, “Race, Trump and History,” The 74, 5 Oct. 2020; “Black History Is American History Says Rep. Marcia Fudge.” “The 1619 Project,” NYT, 18 Aug. 2019; Nikita Stewart, “‘We Are Committing Educational Malpractice’: Why Slavery Is Mistaught—and Worse—in American Schools,” NYT, 19 Aug. 2019; “The 1619 Project Sparks Dialogue and Reflection in Schools Nationwide,” Pulitzer Center Update, 20 Dec. 2019; Mahnken, “Race, Trump and History.” Michael J. Petrilli, “Pity the History Teachers,” Fordham Institute, 8 July 2020; “Trump Uses Mount Rushmore Address to Rail against Removal of Monuments,” CNN, 4 July 2020. “Bill by Sen. Tom Cotton Targets Curriculum on Slavery,” Arkansas DemocratGazette, 26 July 2020; “Trump Targets History Class as Well as School Choice in Bid for Second Term,” Education Week, 2 Sept. 2020; “Biden and Trump Take Aim at Each Other as Labor Day Election Sprint Begins,” CNN, 8 Sept. 2020; “U.S. Schools Have Openly Taught the 1619 Project for Months,” Newsweek, 7 Sept. 2020; “Trump Alleges Left-Wing ‘Indoctrination’ in Schools,” WP, 17 Sept. 2020. “Republican State Lawmakers Want to Punish Schools That Teach the 1619 Project,” USA Today, 10 Feb. 2021; “New Bills Target the Teaching of History,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 24 Jan. 2021; “Mississippi Governor Calls for Spending $3 Million on ‘Patriotic Education Fund,’” The Hill, 17 Nov. 2020. “Legislators Weigh in on Reeves’ Proposed Patriotic Education Fund,” Y’All Politics [Jackson, Miss.], 19 Nov. 2020; Mahnken, “Race, Trump and History”; “Indispensable No More? How the American Public Sees U.S. Foreign Policy,” Eurasia Group Foundation, Nov. 2019, at http://egfound.org/wp-content/uploads/// Indispensable-no-more-.pdf.

Conclusion 1. Daniel K. Williams, “Could Trump End the Culture Wars?” NYT, 9 Nov. 2016. See also Stephen Prothero, Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections) (New York: Harper, 2016).

3 1 4 * No t e s t o C onc lu sion 2. See, e.g., Arlie Russell Hochschild, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (New York: New Press, 2018 [2016]); Joan C. Williams, White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Business Review Press, 2017); Stephanie Muravchik and Jon A. Shields, Trump’s Democrats (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2020). 3. Adam Serwer, “The Fight over the 1619 Project Is Not about the Facts,” Atlantic, 23 Dec. 2019; Sarah Ellison, “How the 1619 Project Took over 2020,” WP, 13 Oct. 2020. 4. “Joe Biden Will Be a Figurehead President,” The Ingraham Angle, Fox News Network, 17 June 2020; “Map: Where Critical Race Theory Is Under Attack,” Education Week, 11 June 2021. 5. “‘We’ve Got to Tell the Unvarnished Truth,’” NYT, 18 Aug. 2019; “Schools Chief Rejects GOP Request to Defund School District for ‘1619 Project’ Lessons,” Arizona Mirror, 3 March 2021. 6. For recent explorations of these questions, see Gary Gerstle, Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2017); Jane Dailey, White Fright: The Sexual Panic at the Heart of America’s Racist History (New York: Basic, 2020); Walter Johnson, The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States (New York: Basic, 2020); Tyler Stovall, White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2021). 7. Richard Rorty, “Second Thoughts on Teaching Communism,” Teachers College Record 63 (April 1962): 563. 8. “Bill Advances to Ban Use of 1619 Project in Iowa Schools to Teach about Slavery,” Des Moines Register, 9 Feb. 2021. 9. Shadi Hamid, “America without God,” Atlantic, April 2021. 10. Max Eden, “A Divisive, Historically Dubious Curriculum: Teachers Should Reject the 1619 Project,” City Journal, 3 Dec. 2019; John Murawski, “Disputed New York Times ‘1619 Project’ Already Shaping Schoolkids’ Minds on Race,” Real Clear Investigations, 31 Jan. 2020; “Lawmakers Push to Ban 1619 Project from Schools,” Education Week, 3 Feb. 2021; Jack D. Warren, Jr., “The Fatal Flaw of the 1619 Project Curriculum,” The American Revolution Institute, 14 Aug. 2020. 11. “An Interview with Historian James Oakes on the New York Times’ 1619 Project,” World Socialist Web Site, 18 Nov. 2019; Daryl Michael Scott, “Bad History and Worse Social Science Have Replaced Truth,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 10 March 2021. 12. Robert Cohen, “Was the Constitution Pro-Slavery? The Changing View of Frederick Douglass,” Social Education 72 (Sept. 2008): 248; “We Respond to the Historians Who Critiqued the 1619 Project,” NYT, 20 Dec. 2019. 13. Murawski, “Disputed New York Times ‘1619 Project’ Already Shaping Schoolkids’ Minds on Race”; Jacqueline Adams, “Slavery’s ‘Lingering’ Effects, Reparations, and a Hope of Reconciliation,” Christian Science Monitor, 14 April 2021; Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations,” Atlantic, June 2014; Scott, “Bad History and Worse Social Science Have Replaced Truth.”

No t e s t o C onc lu sion * 3 15 14. “Map: Where Critical Race Theory Is Under Attack”; “Eight States Debate Bills to Restrict How Teachers Discuss Racism, Sexism,” Education Week, 15 April 2021; Emma Pettit, “The Academic Concept Conservative Lawmakers Love to Hate,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 May 2021. 15. Adam Harris, “The GOP’s ‘Critical Race Theory’ Obsession,” Atlantic, 7 May 2021; Pettit, “The Academic Concept Conservative Lawmakers Love to Hate”; “Is Critical Race Theory at a School near You?” Campus Reform, 19 Feb. 2021. 16. “Texas House Passes Bill Targeting ‘Critical Race Theory’ over Objections from Education, Civics, and Business Groups,” Dallas Morning News, 11 May 2021; “School Board Races Heated,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 May 2021; Michelle Goldberg, “Why the Right Loves Public School Culture Wars,” NYT, 4 May 2020. 17. “Republican Rebuttal to Biden’s Speech: Tim Scott’s Full Transcript,” NYT, 29 April 2021; George Packer, “Can Civics Save America?” Atlantic, 15 May 2021; “‘Divisive’ or ‘Necessary’? Comments on Grant Priorities Show Divide on Teaching about Race,” Education Week, 19 May 2021; “McConnell Attacks Biden Rule’s AntiRacism Focus, Calling It ‘Divisive,’” NYT, 30 April 2021. 18. “Eight States Debate Bills to Restrict How Teachers Discuss Racism, Sexism”; “McGeachin’s Indoctrination Task Force Takes Shape,” Idaho Press, 23 April 2021. 19. Goldberg, “Why the Right Loves Public School Culture Wars”; Harris, “The GOP’s ‘Critical Race Theory’ Obsession”; Charlie Ruger, “State Legislators Who Think They’re Defending Free Speech Are Actually Hurting It,” Real Clear Education, 14 May 2021. 20. “Four States Have Placed Legal Limits on How Teachers Can Discuss Race. More May Follow,” Education Week, 17 May 2021. 21. “Efforts to Root Out Racism in Schools Would Unravel under ‘Critical Race Theory’ Bills,” Education Week, 26 May 2021; “Controversial Utah School Board Member Draws Fire for Posts Accusing Teacher of Promoting Communism,” Salt Lake City Tribune, 18 Feb. 2021. 22. “Debating our Nation’s Origins: The 1619 Project vs. 1776 Unites,” New American History, 2021, at https://resources.newamericanhistory.org/-vs-; Wilfred Reilly, “Sorry, New York Times, but America Began in 1776,” Quillette, 17 Feb. 2020; “A Roundtable Discussion on the Times’ 1619 Project,” MSNBC, 14 May 2020. 23. Olivia B. Waxman, “A ‘History of Exclusion, of Invisibility’: Why the AsianAmerican Story Is Missing from Many U.S. Classrooms,” Time, 30 March 2021. 24. Waxman, “A ‘History of Exclusion, of Invisibility’”; Tim Keirn and Eileen Luhr, “Subject Matter Concerns: The Pre-Service Teaching and Learning of Historical Thinking,” History Teacher 45 (Aug. 2012): 496; “History Teaching Requirements in Many States Fall Short, Report Says,” Education Week, 2 May 2013; Richard Hughes, “Preparing History Teachers and Scholars? Content Exams and Teacher Certification from the Progressive Era to the Age of Accountability,” The Councilor: A Journal of the Social Studies 72, no. 2 (2011): 11–13; Sam Wineburg, Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 138. 25. Larry Cuban, Teaching History Then and Now: A Story of Stability and Change in

3 16 * No t e s t o C onc lu sion




29. 30.

31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

Schools (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Education Press, 2016), 180–181; Ryan Knowles and Rebecca Theobold, “Moving toward More Dynamic Instruction,” in The Status of Social Studies: Views from the Field, ed. Jeff Passe and Paul G. Fitchett (Charlotte, N.C.: Information Age Publishing, 2013), 103; Wineburg, Why Learn History, 26; Keith C. Barton, “Wars and Rumors of War: The Rhetoric and Reality of History Education in the United States,” in History Wars and the Classroom: Global Perspectives, ed. Tony Taylor and Robert Guyver (Charlotte, N.C.: Information Age Publishing, 2012), 198; Jennifer H. James, “Teachers as Protectors: Making Sense of Preservice Teachers’ Resistance to Interpretation in Elementary History Teaching,” Theory and Research in Social Education 36 (Summer 2008): 185–188; “Lower Percentage of Eighth-Grade Students at or above NAEP Proficient Compared to 2014,” NAEP Report Card: U.S. History, 2018, at https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/ ushistory/results/achievement/; Teaching Hard History: American Slavery (Birmingham, Ala.: Southern Poverty Law Center, 2018), 9, 13–14, 20. Michael Hansen et al., 2018 Brown Center Report on American Education (Washington, D.C.: Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, June 2018), 32, 34; Anne-Lise Halvorsen, “K-12 History Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development,” in Passe and Fitchett, eds., The Status of Social Studies, 170. Robert Cohen and Sonia E. Murrow, Rethinking America’s Past: Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States in the Classroom and Beyond (Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 2021), 77, 82, 87. Ian Feld, “University City Students Were Captivated, Not Indoctrinated, by 1619 Project,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 26 April 2021; Kam Walters, “I Trust My Students Can Weigh the Arguments That Abound in Our Society,” Idaho Education News, 20 April 2021. Walters, “I Trust My Students”; Cohen and Murrow, Rethinking America’s Past, 63, 73–74; Kevin Mahnken, “Race, Trump and History,” The 74, 5 Oct. 2020. American Council of Trustees and Alumni, ACTA Report, 11 March 2021; Samuel Abrams, “The Political Indoctrination at NYC’s Dalton School Is Not What American K-12 Education Should Be About,” Real Clear Education, 9 April 2021; Damon Linker, “Comment on FR DOC # 2021-08068,” U.S. Department of Education, 27 April 2021, at https://www.regulations.gov/comment/ED--OESE--. Ben Carson and Kristi Noem, “Biggest Cultural Challenge of Our Lifetime: Defeating Anti-American Indoctrination,” Fox News, 3 May 2021. Robert Holyer, “Parental Choice and the Culture Wars,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12 April 2016, 9A. Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 204–213. Campbell F. Scribner, The Fight for Local Control: Schools, Suburbs, and American Democracy (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2016), 8. Nikky Finney, “A New Day Dawns,” in Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry: Poems and Artifacts (Evanston, Ill.: TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2020), 160–161. Copyright © 2020 by Nikky Finney. Published 2020 by TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved.


Abbott, Greg, 227 Abington v. Schempp: Bible reading, 149–52, 162, 204; First Amendment, 149; school prayer, 149–56, 160–63, 204 abolition, 38, 243–44 abortion: Carter on, 166; culture wars and, xii, 199, 208, 225, 237; Falwell on, 166; Planned Parenthood Federation of America and, 175, 182; religion and, 166–67, 199, 225, 237; Roe v. Wade, 166, 188; sex education and, 176, 183, 188–89, 193 Adams, Sam, 208 Adolescent Health, Services, and Pregnancy Prevention and Care Act, 189 Advanced Placement (AP) courses, 7, 200, 219–22, 251 Advertising Age (magazine), 85 Advertising Federation of America, 61, 63, 71 African American History Education Commission, 232 African American History Week, 115 African Americans: Black activism and, 99 (see also Black activism); Civil War and, 39, 210, 214–15, 240; culture wars and, 3–7, 10, 207–8, 214, 218, 230–33, 237–46, 249–50; education

and, 3, 20, 30–31, 38, 40, 42, 45, 49, 99–100, 103, 109, 113, 115–16, 154–55, 160, 168, 200, 240–43, 249; Floyd killing, 7, 200, 232, 235; Fudge, 233; heroes and, 13, 20–21, 30, 210; Land of the Free and, 98–100, 108–9, 111, 240; NAACP and, 29, 43–45, 49, 52, 80, 102–4, 109, 114, 232; Obama, 6, 207–13, 216, 221–22, 225, 227, 230, 238; psychiatric illnesses of, 185; religious education and, 124, 129; school prayer and, 146–47, 152–57, 160, 168; sectionalism and, 29–49; segregation and, 39, 104, 154, 240; slavery and, 29 (see also slavery); Texas and, 210, 214; textbooks and, 13, 20–21, 30, 38–39, 42, 45, 47, 49, 99, 103–4, 109, 111, 117, 240; Thompson and, 20–22 African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 154, 168 Afrocentrism, 46–48, 274n42 AIDS, 192 Alabama: Black activism and, 106, 115; Cold War and, 80–81, 93, 96; deepred, 8; pure-text laws and, 93; school prayer and, 146–47, 150, 168; sectionalism and, 35, 41–42; social studies wars and, 62; Wallace and, 4, 6, 115 American Business Survey, 63

3 18 * I n de x American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 202, 224–25 American Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom (ACDIF), 65–66 American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC), 161 American Enterprise Institute, 222 American exceptionalism, 210, 221, 234, 236, 242 American Federation of Teachers, 205 American Government (Magruder), 76, 78, 80, 85, 91 American Historical Association, 65 American History, An (Muzzey), 14, 17, 29, 35, 50 American Humanist Association, 191 American Inquisitors (Lippmann), 1 American Jewish Congress, 149 American Legion: Cold War and, 86– 88, 96; Counter-Subversive Manual, 87; ethnicity and, 12, 23, 25; patriotism and, 12, 23, 25, 52, 58–64, 71–72, 86–88, 96; Rugg and, 59–62, 64, 71–72, 86–87; social studies wars and, 52, 58–59, 61–62, 64, 71–72 American Legion Magazine, 62, 88 American Medical Association, 179 American Revolution: Battle of Bunker Hill, 14–15; Beck and, 211; British and, 9, 12–23, 29–30, 37, 47, 51–52, 54, 77, 211; Cold War and, 77, 87, 92, 94, 96; Daughters of the American Revolution, 23, 96; ethnicity and, 14, 22–24, 29; George III and, 16–17; Hessians and, 16; social studies wars and, 51; Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), 22–24, 87, 92, 94; textbooks and, 9, 13–14, 22, 24, 29, 52, 60, 68, 77, 87, 94 American Way of Life, The (Sokolsky), 67 America’s March toward Democracy (Rugg), 68

Amsterdam News (newspaper), 46, 153 Anglo-Saxons, 12–13, 15, 17, 23–25 Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 131 Anti-Negro Propaganda in School Textbooks (NAACP), 43 anti-Semitism, 55, 82–84, 132, 144, 232 Aquinas, Thomas, 209 Arabs, 46, 166 Arizona, 217–19, 228, 236, 240 Arkansas, 86, 97, 120, 221, 235–36 Armstrong, Louis, 108 Armstrong, O. K., 58–62, 64, 69 Asians, 115, 218, 221 Associated Press (newspaper), 199 Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), 38–43, 47, 101 atheism, 5, 147, 162, 187, 191, 206, 225 Atlantic (magazine), 224 Attucks, Crispus, 12, 30, 46, 111, 114 Avery, Tex, 214 Baldwin, James, 112, 118, 197 Baldwin, Roger, 70–71 Baptists, xiii, 6, 126, 130, 154 Bare Naked Islam, 212 Barnett, Ross, 97 Barraza, Santa, 214 Barton, David, 215–16 Bashford, Louise, 128 bathrooms, 226–28 “Battle Hymn of the Republic, The,” 34 Battle of Bunker Hill, 14–15 Beard, Charles: Du Bois on, 38; An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, 16, 37; ethnicity and, 11, 16–17; History of the United States, 17; New History and, 16–17; New Jersey legislature and, 11; Rise of American Civilization, 37–38; social studies wars and, 50, 55–56, 59, 68, 72; socioeconomic analysis of, 11; textbooks and, 1, 11, 16–17, 37–38, 50, 55–56, 59, 68, 72 Beard, Mary, 37–38

I n de x * 3 19 Beck, Glenn, 6, 208, 211, 213, 216 Becker, Carl L., 50–51, 55–57, 59, 72, 77 Bell, T. H., 165 Benjamin Franklin High School, 99 Bennett, William, xi, 203 Bernal, Martin, 46 Bible, ix, 2; Abington v. Schempp and, 149–52, 162, 204; Bible Literacy Project (BLP) and, 204–5; cheerleaders and, 224; culture wars and, 199–200, 204–6, 209, 215, 224–25; Hobby Lobby and, 224–25; King James, 160; McCollum and, 124, 137; National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBPS) and, 204–5; New Testament, 128, 140; Old Testament, 140; reading of in schools, 2, 56, 120, 124–29, 134–43, 146–54, 160–63, 168, 188, 196, 199–200, 204–6, 209, 224, 256; school prayer and, 146–55, 160– 63, 168, 196, 256; sex education and, 173, 188, 199; Ten Commandments, 140, 144, 169 Bible Literacy Project (BLP), 204–5 Biden, Joseph, 245–46 “Big Fellow in the Sky” (song), 125 birth control, 79, 175, 189 Black Action Movement, 109 Black activism: Alabama and, 106, 115; American conscience and, 101–9; Black nationalism and, 99, 109; Black Panthers, 113; California and, 98–99, 108–9, 114; Chicago and, 101, 103, 108–9, 113; civil rights and, 98, 102–5, 114, 117, 156; Civil War and, 103, 106; Congress of Racial Equality, 102–3; conservatives and, 99, 102, 107, 110– 11, 114; Elementary and Secondary Education Act and, 105; heroes and, 99–101, 106, 108–9, 111–12; Illinois and, 110–11; King and, 3, 104, 111, 116, 146, 156; liberals and, 99, 101–2, 105, 107; multiculturalism and, 100, 114– 18; NAACP and, 29, 43–45, 49, 52, 80,

102–4, 109, 114, 232; New Jersey and, 110; North and, 107, 116–17; North Carolina and, 106; patriotism and, 99, 107–8; resistance to integrated history, 109–14; sectionalism and, 31, 46; segregation and, 98, 100, 102, 104–5, 112–16; sex education and, 185; slavery and, 98–103, 107, 117; South and, 101, 106, 114–16; textbooks and, 3, 10, 22, 98–111, 114–18, 218; Thompson and, 21; Urban League and, 102–3; U.S. Supreme Court and, 101; Virginia and, 101, 106, 117; white resistance to, 106–9 Black History Month, 115 Black History Week, 115 Black Lives Matter movement, 241 Black Panthers, 113 Black Peacestone Rangers, 110 Black Reconstruction (Du Bois), 38 Booker T. Washington High School, 42 Boston Massacre, 17 Bourne, Randolph, 27 Brainwashing in the High Schools (Root), 95–96 Brooke, Edward, 150 Brown, Claude, 112 Brown v. Board of Education, 101, 104, 147 Broyles Commission, 93 Bryan, William Jennings, 119 Buchanan, Pat, x, 227 Buckley, William F., Jr., 74–75, 84 Buckley, William F., Sr., 83, 91 Building America (NEA series), 77–79, 87, 89, 92–94 Bunche, Ralph, 106 Burkagate, 213 Burlington Free Press (newspaper), 72–73 Bush, George H. W., x Bush, George W.: culture wars and, 199, 201, 203–7, 211, 221–22; intelligent design (ID) and, 207; No Child Left

3 2 0 * I n de x Bush, George W. (continued) Behind and, 201; religion and, 204–7; terrorism and, 201–4 Calderone, Mary Steichen: background of, 175; on casual sex, 176; Genne and, 183; Humanist of the Year, 191; opposition to, 173–74, 181, 186, 190; Planned Parenthood Federation of America and, 175; SIECUS and, 173– 83, 186, 190–91 California, 26; Black activism and, 98–99, 108–9, 114; Cold War and, 87, 89, 92–94; culture wars and, 202, 204, 219, 228–29, 232–33; school prayer and, 157, 163; sex education and, 177, 180–81, 184–88, 193; social studies wars and, 62, 75, 77–79; Weekday Religious Education (WRE) and, 124 Calvin, John, 53, 209 Campbell, Harold G., 53–54 cancel culture, 247–50 Cardona, Miguel, 246 Carnegie Foundation, 17, 77, 89, 91 Carson, Ben, 200, 246, 255 Carter, Jimmy, 166 Carter, Mary, 33 Carver, George Washington, 100, 114, 128, 286n10 Castro, Fidel, 179 Caswell County Training School, 155 Catholics: Beast of Rome and, 162; Bible Riots and, 160; Cold War and, 79, 83; ethnicity and, 12, 18, 22, 26; Haughwout and, 53; Jews and, 160; Knights of Columbus and, 12, 17–18, 24, 52, 241; religious education and, 124, 126–27, 131, 134, 143, 147, 155, 158–62; school prayer and, 147, 155, 158–62; sectionalism and, 37; sex education and, 177, 190, 229; social studies wars and, 53–54 Chaillaux, Homer L., 62

Chancey, Mark, 205–6 Charlottesville, Virginia: Hunter on, 195; white supremacist rally at, 7, 195, 200, 230–31 Chattanooga Plan, 127 Chavez, Cesar, 100, 116 cheerleaders, 224 Chicago: Black activism and, 101, 103, 108–9, 113; Catholic students and, 131; Deffenbaugh and, 82; German immigrants and, 1, 20, 22, 53; Gold Coast neighborhood of, 67; Irish immigrants and, 1, 22, 53; Magruder and, 92; religious education and, 131, 133; school prayer and, 168; sex education and, 173, 179, 182; Thompson, 1, 9–10, 15, 18–22, 47, 53 Chicago Tribune (newspaper), 57, 85–86 Chief Joseph, 20 Child Evangelism Fellowship, 135 “Children in a Democracy” conference, 126 Chinese, 25, 168, 222, 230 Christian Front, 84 Christian Right, xii, 6; culture wars and, 207, 230, 237; school prayer and, 165– 69; sex education and, 172, 190–93 Christians: abortion and, 166–67, 199, 225, 237; Bible and, 2 (see also Bible); born-again, 166, 168, 204; Catholics, 124 (see also Catholics); Cold War and, 81, 84, 88; conservative, 4–6, 120, 123, 152, 172, 185, 192, 196, 199, 203–10, 216, 224–28, 237, 256; culture wars and, 199–216, 223–30; evangelicals, 1 (see also evangelicals); fundamentalist, 4, 120, 123, 125, 135, 139, 143, 147, 160–62, 166, 168, 190, 242, 291n4; liberal, 4–5, 125, 158, 162, 164, 168, 172, 205, 214, 216; religious education and, 123–25, 129, 133–35, 143–45; Republicans and, 192, 210, 224; school prayer and, 5–6, 120, 150–69, 172, 187, 199, 201, 206, 209, 224, 226, 237, 256; sex

I n de x * 3 2 1 education and, 172–73, 185, 187, 190, 192, 196 Christian Science, 124 Christmas, 125, 144–45, 150–51 Chrysler Corporation, 91 Citizens for Parental Rights (CPR), 180 civil rights: Black activism and, 98, 102– 5, 114, 117; school prayer and, 146–48, 153–64 Civil Rights Act, 104, 114, 117, 156 Civil War: African Americans and, 39, 210, 214–15, 240; Black activism and, 103, 106; Confederacy, 7, 22, 29–42, 48–49, 69, 150, 195–96, 200, 210, 214–15, 230–32, 238, 256; culture wars and, 210, 214; Golden Jubilee of, 32; Oakes on, 243; Reconstruction and, 21, 29–30, 38–39, 44, 101; sectionalism and, 29–32, 35–39, 49; 1619 Project and, 243; slavery and, 36–37, 39, 103, 210, 240, 243, 251 Clark, Kenneth B., 104 Clark, Tom, 151–52 Cleaver, Eldridge, 112 Cleaver, Jim, 115 Clemente, Roberto, 116 Clinton, Bill, x, 222 Coalition of Concerned Parents, 188 Cohen, Robert, 252 Cold War: Alabama and, 80–81, 93, 96; American Legion and, 86–88, 96; American Revolution and, 77, 87, 92, 94, 96; California and, 87, 89, 92–94; Catholics and, 76, 79, 83; collectivism and, 74–85, 88–92, 95–97; communism and, 75–80, 83–84, 87–97, 241; conservatives and, 75–76, 79, 81, 86, 88, 90; Democrats and, 94; Educational Reviewer and, 74, 78, 81, 83–86, 90–91; Fries and, 76–78, 82–87, 91; Illinois and, 93, 95; Jews and, 82, 84; Magruder and, 76–80, 85–86, 91–92; New Deal and, 75, 78; New Jersey and, 87; North and, 95–96; patriotism

and, 79, 86–88, 92, 95–96; propaganda of, 77–78, 80, 84, 86, 88, 93–94, 97; race issues and, 76, 80; Red Scares and, 54–55, 73, 75, 83; Republicans and, 94–95; Rugg and, 75, 81, 84–89, 94; segregation and, 80, 95–97; socialism and, 75–80, 84, 87, 90, 96–97; South and, 76, 80, 86, 92–97; Soviets and, 76–77, 83, 85, 88, 97; statism and, 75, 81; Texas and, 79–80, 86, 93; textbooks and, 74–97 collectivism: Cold War and, 74–76, 78, 81–83, 85, 88–92, 95–97; internationalism and, 76–81; social studies wars and, 53, 61, 66–67 College Board, 219–20 College of Ethnic Studies (San Francisco State University), 216 Colorado, 2–3, 220, 228 Columbia University, 58, 71 Columbus, Christopher, xiv, 20, 47, 114, 215, 252–53 Colvin, D. Leigh, 140 Commager, Henry Steele, 101–2 Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education, 133 Committee on Public School Textbooks, 29 Common Core, 137, 140, 142, 220 communism: Black activism and, 108; Cold War and, 75–80, 83–84, 87–97, 241; culture wars and, 202, 225; Lenin and, 56–57, 77, 90, 142; New Deal and, 57; Red Scares and, 54–55, 73, 75, 83; religion and, 137, 142, 144, 147; school prayer and, 147; sex education and, 174, 177–80; social studies wars and, 51, 54–57, 71–72; Soviets and, 241 (see also Soviets); Trotsky and, 56 Communism on the Map (film), 97 Confederacy: Black soldiers, 214–15; Civil War and, 7, 22, 29–42, 48–49, 69, 150, 195–96, 200, 210, 214–15, 230– 32, 238, 256; culture wars and, 200,

3 2 2 * I n de x Confederacy (continued) 210, 214–15, 230–32; Lee and, 230; monuments of, 7, 196, 200, 230–35; Nazis and, 230–31; school dress codes and, 231; sectionalism and, 29–42, 48–49; Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), 29–30, 38; Texas and, 34, 210; Trump and, 7, 196, 200, 230–32, 234–35; United Confederate Veterans (UCV), 31–37; United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), 22, 29–36, 40, 48; United Sons of the Confederacy, 215 Congress of Racial Equality, 102 Connecticut, 62, 96, 104 conservatives: backlash of, 244–47; Black activism and, 99, 102, 107, 110–11, 114; Christians and, 4–6, 120, 123, 152, 172, 185, 192, 196, 199, 203–10, 216, 224–28, 237, 256; Cold War and, 75–76, 79, 81, 86, 88, 90; culture wars and, 3–7, 199–229, 232; evolution and, xiii, 5, 199, 207, 209, 216, 237; Founding Fathers and, 208–9; intelligent design (ID) and, 207; pluralism and, 120, 185; religious education and, 123, 131; school prayer and, 146–69; sex education and, 171–72, 174, 179, 185, 190, 192, 202; social studies wars and, 50–59, 64, 66; textbooks and, 3, 5, 51– 58, 66, 75–76, 88, 90, 99, 107, 110–11, 209–10, 212, 218, 239–40 coronavirus, 230, 238 Cotton, Tom, 235 Council on Islamic Education, 205 Counter-Subversive Manual (American Legion), 87 Counts, George S., 59 Cox, Earnest, 48–49 Crain, Lucille Cardin, 83–87, 90–91 crime: school prayer and, 148, 155, 157, 162; sex education and, 178 Critical Race Theory (CRT), 239, 245– 48, 255

critical thinking, 7, 192, 247 Crosby, Bing, 79 Cruz, Ted, 254 Cuban, Larry, 251 Cultural Competence Action Plan, 246 culture wars, ix; abortion and, xii, 199, 208, 225, 237; African Americans and, 207–8, 214, 218, 230–33, 237–46, 249– 50; Bible and, 199–200, 204–6, 209, 215, 224–25; California and, 202, 204, 219, 228–29, 232–33; cancel culture, 247–50; Christians and, 199–216, 223– 30; Civil War and, 210, 214; communism and, 202, 225; Confederacy and, 200, 210, 214–15, 230–32; conservatives and, 3–7, 199–229, 232; Democrats and, 204, 221, 229, 236; equality and, 3, 10, 200, 233; evangelicals and, 199–209, 216, 223–27; evolution and, 1–5, 9, 15, 119–21, 199, 207–9, 216, 237; Founding Fathers and, 11, 18, 23, 200, 208–15, 220–21, 243; freedom and, 3, 7, 10, 200, 205, 224, 233; heroes and, 197, 200, 202, 210–11, 234, 238; Hunter on, x–xii, 195–96; Illinois and, 223, 254; intelligent design (ID) and, 207; Jews and, 206, 223, 230, 232; Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and, 11–12, 219, 230, 241; liberals and, 205–10, 213–22, 228; Lippmann and, 1–4, 15–16; multiculturalism and, 216–17; New York City and, 201–2, 223; Obama and, 207–13, 216, 220–27, 230; patriotism and, 2–5, 201–2, 208, 211, 235–36; Protestants and, 205, 208–9, 223, 230; race issues and, 2–4, 7–8, 10, 13, 201, 208, 214, 217–21, 230–33; religion and, 199–209, 216, 223–27; Republicans and, 201, 210–11, 217, 220–21, 224, 227–28, 234–36; secularism and, 4, 225, 242; sexual revolution and, 173–77, 188; 1619 Project, 7 (see also 1619 Project); socialism and, 214; Texas and, 205–6, 209–20, 224, 227, 246, 254; Trump

I n de x * 3 23 and, 7, 226–38, 244–46, 250, 253, 255; U.S. Constitution and, 202, 219, 222, 224–26; use of term, xi; U.S. Supreme Court and, 203, 206, 223–24; Virginia and, 7, 195, 200, 208, 214, 230–34, 256 Custer, George, 21 Daniels, Mitch, 254 Dare the Schools Build a New Social Order? (Counts), 59 Darrow, Clarence, 119 Dartmouth College, 93 Darwin, Charles, 5, 120, 177 Daughters of the American Revolution, 23, 96 Davis, Jefferson, 33–34 Dayton, Tennessee trial, 1–9, 119–20. See also Scopes Declaration of Independence, 19, 243 Deffenbaugh, Greta S., 82–83 Delaware, 41, 57, 206 DeMille, Cecil B., 79 “Democratic Living” course, 59 Democrats: Cold War and, 94; culture wars and, 204, 221, 229, 236; school prayer and, 156 DeVos, Betsy, 226–27 Dewey, John, 11, 27, 90 Dewey, Thomas E., 142 Dilling, Elizabeth, 84 Dirksen, Everett, 156–57 Dobrich, Mona, 206 Dodd, William, 31 Dodson, Elise, 36 Doremus v. Board of Education, 141 Douglas, Stephen, 243 Douglass, Frederick, 3, 45, 100–101, 106, 111, 116, 243 Drake, Gordon V., 170–71 Dred Scott decision, 137 Dreher, Rod, 229 drugs, 155, 166, 168, 171–72, 178, 225 DuBois, Rachel Davis, 286n10

Du Bois, W. E. B., 30, 38–39, 45, 116 Dutch, 20, 22–23 Eastland, James, 153 Economic Council Review of Books (Hart), 84 Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, An (Beard), 16, 37 economics: ethnicity and, 10–18, 24– 25; Great Depression, 27, 51–52, 77, 82, 126–27; Great Recession, 208; inequality, 10, 57, 68, 78, 128, 135, 195–96, 238; religion and, 128, 136; sectionalism and, 37–38; social studies wars and, 51–61, 67–71; Soviets and, 241; Tea Party and, 230 Eddy, Mary Baker, 124 education: Advanced Placement (AP) courses, 7, 200, 219–22, 251; African Americans and, 3, 20, 30–31, 38, 40, 42, 45, 49, 99–100, 103, 109, 113, 115– 16, 154–55, 160, 168, 200, 240–43, 249; bathrooms and, 226–28; Bible and, 2, 56, 120, 124–29, 134–43, 146–54, 160–63, 168, 188, 196, 199–200, 204– 6, 209, 224, 256 (see also religion); Bush and, 204–7; critical thinking and, 7, 192, 247; DeVos and, 226–27; Elementary and Secondary Education Act and, 105; Hispanics and, 109, 214, 217; Howe and, 105–6; Islam and, 211–13; No Child Left Behind, 201–2, 252; Texas and, 34, 80, 86, 93, 205–14, 218, 220, 227, 246; vouchers and, 6, 226–27, 256 Educational Reviewer (journal), 74, 76, 78, 81, 83–86, 90–91 Edwards v. Aguillard, 120 Egypt, 46–47, 167 Eisenhower, Dwight D., 76, 93 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 105 Elhart, Earl, 63

3 2 4 * I n de x Emancipation Proclamation, 34, 42, 103, 249 Engel v. Vitale, 149–56, 160–61, 163 Episcopalians, 53, 126, 131 Epperson v. Arkansas, 120 equality: Cold War and, 128; Congress of Racial Equality, 102–3; culture wars and, 3, 10, 200, 233; ethnicity and, 24; school prayer and, 154, 156; social studies wars and, 54, 67–68 Equal Rights Amendment, 167 Eriksson, Leif, 20 Ethiopia, 46–48 ethnicity: American Legion and, 12, 23, 25; American Revolution and, 14, 22–24, 29; Beard and, 11, 16–17; Black activism and, 22; Catholics and, 12, 18, 22, 26; economics and, 10–18, 24– 25; ethnic studies, 216–19; heroes and, 9–10, 12–22, 25–26, 28; Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and, 22; liberals and, 11–12, 18, 26–27; Massachusetts and, 14, 23, 26, 31; Muzzey and, 11, 13–17, 25; New Jersey and, 11–12, 17, 25; New York City and, 15; Obama and, 208, 216, 221; patriotism and, 12–26; pluralism and, 11–13, 27; race issues and, 15, 19–21, 26–28; slavery and, 19, 21; socialism and, 24; social studies wars and, 53–58; textbooks and, 3, 5, 9–30, 52–55, 98, 100, 109, 116–17, 216–19; Trump and, 232–33; white Protestants and, 22–27. See also specific groups Ettinger, Albert, 64–65 evangelicals: culture wars and, 199–209, 216, 223–27; fundamentalists and, 291n4; religious education and, 124– 25, 131, 134–36, 139; school prayer and, 158, 161–62, 166–67, 187 evolution: Bryan and, 119; conservatives and, xiii, 5, 199, 207, 209, 216, 237; Darrow and, 119; Darwin and, 5, 120, 177; Dayton trial, 1–9, 119–20; history wars and, 1–10, 15; intelligent

design (ID) and, 207; Scopes and, 1, 4, 9, 119–20, 180; Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), 209, 216; Thompson and, 1, 9–10 Exodus Mandate, 226 Facebook, 212, 229, 246 Fair Employment Practices Committee, 80 Falk, Alfred T., 63 Falwell, Jerry, 120, 161, 165–67, 190, 203, 225 Federal Writers Project, 249 Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 223 Finney, Nikky, 256 First Amendment, 124, 149, 191, 206, 248 Fitzgerald, Frances, 206, 230 Florida, 97, 106, 143, 151–52, 201, 207, 211 Florida Textbook Action Team, 211 Floyd, George, 7, 200, 232, 235 Flynn, John T., 85–86 Forbes, Bertie C., 61 Ford, Gerald R., 159 Ford, Henry, 89 Ford Foundation, 79 “Founders’ Fridays” (Beck), 208, 213 Founding Fathers: Beck and, 208, 213; conservatives and, 208–9; culture wars and, 11, 18, 23, 200, 208–15, 220– 21, 243; prayer and, 215 Fox News, 239; Beck and, 6, 208, 211, 213, 216; Critical Race Theory (CRT) and, 245–46 Frankfurter, Felix, 55 Franklin, Benjamin, 111 Franklin, John Hope; Black activism and, 98, 108, 247; Land of the Free, 98–100, 108–9, 111, 240 free enterprise, 51–53, 66–67, 74, 81–82, 90, 97, 210, 222 French, 12, 18, 20, 41, 83 Freud, Sigmund, 185 Friends of Irish Freedom, 19

I n de x * 3 25 Friends of the Public Schools, 82–83, 86, 91 Fries, Amos A.: Cold War and, 76–78, 82–87, 91; Friends of the Public Schools, 82–83, 86, 91; sex education and, 177; social studies wars and, 50–51, 55, 66 Frito Bandito, 214 Fudge, Marcia, 233 Fundamentalist Ministers Committee on Weekday Christian Education, 135 Game, The (film), 176 Gandhi, Mohandas, 129 Garvey, Marcus, 48 Gary Plan, 127 gender: bathrooms and, 226–28; identity and, 201, 220–21, 226–29, 237; transgender students, 226–28, 237 Genne, William, 183 George III, 16–17 Georgia, 33, 36, 78–80, 92, 96, 146, 150, 153, 210, 221 Germans: Chicago and, 1, 20, 22, 53; “Deutschland, Deutschland uber Alles” and, 17; ethnicity and, 12–13, 16–22, 25–26; Hessians and, 16 Gerstle, Gary, 27 Glaude, Eddie, Jr., 250 God and Man at Yale (Buckley), 74 “God Bless America,” 202 “Gold-Bug, The” (Poe), 104 Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 223 Gore, Al, 204 Graham, Billy, 187 Graham, Franklin, 203 Grand Army of the Republic, 31–32 Grand Council Fire of American Indians, 20 Grant, Ulysses S., 34 Great Britain, 176, 208; American Revolution and, 9, 12–23, 29–30, 37, 47, 51–52, 54, 77, 211; George III and,

16–17; Lippmann and, 15–16; New History and, 9, 12–23, 29–30, 37, 47, 51–52; propaganda for, 9, 16, 19, 22; “Rule, Brittania” and, 17; slavery and, 243; Stamp Act and, 17; Virginia colony of, 234 Great Depression, 27, 51–52, 77, 82, 126–27 Great Recession, 208 Green, Emma, 224 Green, Steven, 225 Greene, Lorenzo J., 41 Guevera, Che, 179 Guttmacher, Alan, 182 Hal Webb Team, 163–64 Hamid, Shadi, 242 Haney, Lewis H., 81, 83 Hannah-Jones, Nikole, 243–44, 254 Hanukkah, 125, 145 Harding College, 97 Harlem, 80, 105, 155 Hart, Albert B., 36–37, 40 Hart, Merwin K., 61, 68–70, 84 Haughwout, Lefferd, 53–54 Hayes, Carleton J. H., 26, 53–54 Haynes, Charles, 222–23 Hearst, William Randolph, 56–57, 61, 64, 67, 69, 85 Henry, Patrick, 30 Henry, Richard B., 103–4 Henry VIII, 53 heroes: Black activism and, 99–101, 106, 108–9, 111–12; Cold War and, 84; culture wars and, 197, 200, 202, 210–11, 234, 238; ethnicity and, 9–10, 12–22, 25–26, 28; sectionalism and, 30–31, 45; social studies wars and, 54 Hess, Frederick, 222 Hessians, 16 Hicks, James L., 153 Hill, Howard C., 57–58 Hindus, 215, 232 Hiroshima, 253

3 2 6 * I n de x Hirshfield, David, 15 Hispanics: Arizona and, 217–18; border wall and, 208, 230, 237; education and, 109, 214, 217; ethnic studies and, 217–19; Huerta, 214, 217; League of United Latin American Citizens, 215; Librotrificantes, 218; Mexican, 34, 160, 208, 214–19, 230, 237; multiculturalism and, 109, 115, 117; Obama and, 207–8; population growth of, 207–8, 214; Republicans and, 217; Texas SBOE and, 214–15; textbooks and, 109, 117, 217; Trump on, 230, 237; Zamora, 214–15 Hiss, Alger, 89 History of the American People (West), 25 History of the United States (Beard and Beard), 17 History of the United States for Schools (Van Tyne), 16 Hobby Lobby, 224–25 Ho Chi Minh, 179 Hollywood, 79, 126, 159 homosexuality, xiii; culture wars and, 199, 208, 225, 228, 230, 237; gay marriage, 199, 230, 237; school prayer and, 167; sex education and, 172, 174, 189–91 Hooks, Benjamin, 114–15 Horne, Tom, 217–19 House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), 94 How Babies Are Made (textbook), 176 Howe, Harold, II, 105–6 Huckabee, Mike, 221 Huckleberry Finn (Twain), 103–4 Huerta, Dolores, 214, 217 Hughes, Frank, 85–86 Hughes, Langston, 101, 112 humanism, 6, 142, 160, 172, 191–92, 225 Human Sexual Response (Masters and Johnson), 175, 184 Humphrey, Hubert, 105

Hungarians, 22 Hunter, James Davison, x–xii, 195–96 Huppenthal, John, 219 Hurley, Ruby, 80–81 Hurwitch, Louis, 130 Hutton, E. F., 91 Hyman, Julius, 15 Idaho, 24, 79, 247, 253–54 Illinois, 75; Black activism and, 110–11; Cold War and, 93, 95; culture wars and, 223, 254; religious education and, 123–24, 129–33, 136–38; school prayer and, 156; sex education and, 179, 184, 186. See also Chicago Immigration Restriction Act, 23 Indianapolis Star (newspaper), 86 “In God We Trust,” 125, 142 Innocents Defiled, The (film), 178 intelligent design (ID), 207 International Council of Religious Education, 136 internationalism, 76–91 Introduction to the Problems of American Culture (Rugg), 67–68 Irish: Catholic, 22, 37; Chicago and, 1, 22, 53; ethnicity and, 13, 18–19, 22–25, 28; sectionalism and, 37; Sinn Fein, 25; U.S. Constitution and, 19 Irish Race Convention, 19 ISIS, 200 Islam: Bennett on, 203; Burkagate and, 213; Bush defense of, 203; Carson on, 200; Council on Islamic Education and, 205; education and, 205, 211–13; extremism and, 203; Falwell on, 203; Graham on, 203; Muslim Student Association, 223; Obama and, 212, 230; Republicans and, 211–12; Robertson on, 203; Sharia law and, 212; terrorism and, xii, 203–4, 211; Texas and, 211–12; textbooks and, 211–12; Trump and, 230, 237 Italians, 18, 20, 25, 109, 160

I n de x * 3 27 Jackson, Andrew, 3 Jacob’s New Dress (textbook), 229 Japanese-Americans, 108, 220, 253 Jealous, Benjamin, 214 Jefferson, Thomas, xi-xii, 100–101, 196– 97, 209, 216 Jefferson Lies, The (Barton), 216 Jenkins, J. T., 36–37 Jenner, Caitlyn, 227 Jennings, Arthur, 37 Jewish Alliance, 12 Jewish Student Union, 223 Jews: American Jewish Congress and, 149; Anti-Defamation League, 131; anti-Semitism, 55, 82–84, 132, 144, 232; Cold War and, 82, 84; Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education, 133; culture wars and, 206, 223, 230, 232; ethnicity and, 12, 15, 18, 22; Falwell on, 167; fundamentalists and, 143; holidays of, 124, 145, 150–51; Hyman and, 15; Israel and, 128, 144, 166, 203; “Jews will not replace us” (see also Charlottesville, Virginia: white supremacist rally at), 195, 230; Lubavitcher sect, 133; rabbis, 125, 132–34, 143, 145, 223; Red Scares and, 54–55; religious education and, 120, 124–34, 143–45; school prayer and, 149–51, 160, 167, 206; Talmud Torah, 132–33; Zionism, 83 Jim Crow, 99, 104, 112, 200 Jindal, Bobby, 221 John Birch Society, 170–71, 178–80 Johnson, Hiram, 24 Johnson, Lyndon B., 105, 156, 159 Johnson, Virginia, 175, 184 Journal of Negro History (Woodson), 47 Kalamazoo Gazette (newspaper), 170–71 Kallen, Horace M., 11–13, 27 Kansas, 143, 157, 160, 212 Kansas City, Missouri, 44, 57, 182 Kaub, Verne, 85

Kelley, Dean, 157 Kendi, Ibram X., 247, 253 Kennedy, John F., 3 Kerry, John, 204 Key, Francis Scott, 201 King, Martin Luther, Jr., 3, 104, 111, 116, 146, 156 King James Bible, 160 Knights of Columbus, 12, 17–18, 24, 52, 241 Koop, C. Everett, 192 Korean War, 95 Kosciusko, Thaddeus, 12, 20, 30 Kuhn, Irene C., 87 Ku Klux Klan (KKK): culture wars and, 11–12, 219, 230, 241; ethnicity and, 18, 22, 54; textbooks and, 80, 101; UDC and, 48 Laats, Adam, xiii La Follette, Robert, 24–25 Laing, R. D., 185 Land of the Free: A History of the United States (Franklin), 98–100, 108–9, 111, 240 Lane, Rose Wilder, 83–84, 90–91 Larsen, Roy E., 89 Leadership Foundation, 167 League of Nations, 19 League of United Latin American Citizens, 215 Ledbetter, Fannie, 153 Lee, Adelbert W., 91 Lee, Richard Henry, 30 Lee, Robert E., 230 Lee, Stephen D., 31–32 Legal Insurrection Foundation, 245 legal issues: Abington v. Schempp, 149– 56, 160–63, 204; Brown v. Board of Education, 101, 104, 147; court packing, 77; Critical Race Theory (CRT) and, 239, 245–46; Dirksen Amendment, 157; Doremus v. Board of Education, 141; Dred Scott, 137; Edwards v.

3 2 8 * I n de x legal issues (continued) Aguillard, 120; Engel v. Vitale, 149–56, 160–61, 163; Epperson v. Arkansas, 120; Equal Rights Amendment, 167; First Amendment, 124, 149, 191, 206, 248; Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 223; intelligent design (ID) and, 207; Jim Crow, 99, 104, 112, 200; McCollum v. Board of Education, 124, 136–40; prayer amendment, 149–50, 155, 158–60, 166–67; Roe v. Wade, 166, 188; Scopes evolution trial, 1–9, 119–20, 180; separation of church and state, 124–28, 146, 152, 155, 160–61, 183, 209; Southern secession, 33; Weekday Religious Education (WRE), 136–43; Zorach v. Clauson, 138–39, 141 Lenin, 56–57, 77, 90, 142 Lerner, Max, 72 Let Our Children Pray (TV show), 167 “Let’s Put Prayer and Bible Reading Back in School” (song), 163 Lewis, Fulton, Jr., 85 LGBTQ issues, 228–29 liberals: Black activism and, 99, 101–2, 105, 107; Christians and, 4–5, 125, 158, 162, 164, 168, 172, 205, 214, 216; critical thinking and, 7, 192, 247; culture wars and, 205–10, 213–22, 228; ethnicity and, 11–12, 18, 26–27; religion and, 4–5, 26, 124–25, 131, 136, 147, 155, 159, 164, 168, 171–72, 205, 238, 256; school prayer and, 4–5, 147, 155–59, 162–65, 168, 171–72, 206; sectionalism and, 49; sex education and, xiii, 171–72, 188, 192–93; social studies wars and, 51–53, 66, 71–72; textbooks and, 5, 12, 26, 49, 52, 71–72, 101, 209, 218, 243 Liberty (journal), 64 Limbaugh, Rush, xi Lincoln, Abraham, 25, 29–30, 33–34, 100–101, 243

Lippmann, Walter, 1–4, 15–16 Little House in the Big Woods (Wilder), 83–84 Liu, Eric, 222 Locke, John, 53 Loesch, Dana, 246 Lorand, Rhoda L., 185 Lord’s Prayer, 141, 146, 149, 156 Louisiana, 34–35, 97, 120, 159, 168, 172, 221 L’Ouverture, Toussaint, 41 Lubavitcher sect, 133 Luther, Martin, 53 Lynd, Robert S., 66 Magruder, Frank A., 76–80, 85–86, 91–93 Maine, 139, 148 Make America Great Again, 201, 230 Malcolm X, 99, 111, 116 Man and His Changing Society (Rugg), 50, 60 Mann, Anne V., 30 “Man Upstairs, The” (song), 125 Mao Tse-tung, 179 Margolis, Frederick J., 170–71 marriage: Calderone on, 175; gay, 199, 230, 237; monogamy in, 174–76; premarital sex, 172, 176–77, 183, 185, 190, 193; racial intermarriage, 80; sex education and, 5, 172, 174–76, 182–83, 190; sex outside of, 5, 172, 174, 183, 196, 229 Marshall, Peter, 209, 215 Marshall, Verne, 64 Marx, Karl, 89–90, 95, 170, 246–47 Maryland, 30, 34, 93, 107, 157, 164, 212, 232 Massachusetts: culture wars and, 208; deep-blue, 8; ethnicity and, 14, 23, 26, 31; religion and, 129–30, 133, 140–45; school prayer and, 150, 158–59, 167; sex education and, 178 Masters, William H., 175, 184

I n de x * 3 29 McAndrew, William, 15 McCallie, J. P., 127 McCollum v. Board of Education, 124, 136–40 McConnell, Mitch, 246–47 McIntire, Carl, 161–62, 164 McLaughlin, Andrew C., 16 McLeroy, Don, 216 McSweeney, Edward F., 18–19, 24 Mead, Margaret, 79–80 Measuring Rod to Test Textbooks, A (Rutherford), 33 Meredith, E. T., 71 Merrill Lynch, 74, 91 Methodists, 126, 154, 168 Mexican American Legislative Caucus, 215 Michigan: Black activism and, 108–9, 113; Cold War and, 87–88; DeVos and, 226; Drake and, 170–71; religion and, 129, 138–39; school prayer and, 153, 159, 164; sex education and, 170, 174, 186–87 Milošević, Slobodan, xiv Minuit, Peter, 19 Minute Women, 79 Mississippi: Black activism and, 116; Cold War and, 95–97; Reeves and, 236; school prayer and, 150, 153, 168; sectionalism and, 30–31, 35, 42 Mitchell, Wesley C., 65 Modern History (Hayes and Moon), 53–54 monogamy, 174–76 Moon, Parker T., 53–54 Moore, E. Ray, 225–26 Moral-and-Spiritual (M-S) programs, 142 Moral Majority, 120, 161, 165, 189–92, 203, 210, 241 Morison, Samuel Eliot, 101 Morris, William, 22–23 Movement to Restore Decency (MOTOREDE), 178–79

multiculturalism: Black activism and, 100, 114–18; culture wars and, 216–17; Hispanics and, 109, 115, 117; religion and, 5; textbooks and, 5, 100, 218 Murrow, Sonia, 252 Muslim Student Association, 223 Muzzey, David: An American History, 14, 17, 29, 35, 50; ethnicity and, 11, 13– 17, 25; New History and, 13–17; New Jersey legislature and, 11; Robinson on, 13–14; sectionalism and, 29, 35, 37; social studies wars and, 50; socioeconomic analysis of, 11, 14, 25; textbooks and, 1, 11, 13–17, 25, 29, 35, 50 NAACP: African Americans and, 29, 43–45, 49, 52, 80, 102–4, 109, 114, 232; Black activism and, 102–4, 109, 114; Committee on Public School Textbooks, 29; DuBois and, 286n10; Hooks and, 114–15; Jealous and, 214; sectionalism and, 29, 43–45, 49; Spingarn and, 102; textbooks and, 29, 43–45, 52, 80, 102–3; Wilkins and, 114 Nagasaki, 253 NASA, 205 national anthem, 28, 34, 201–2, 237 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 251 National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), 161 National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), 61, 67, 72, 89–90 National Commission for the Defense of Democracy Though Education, 81–82 National Commission on Negro History, 118 National Council for American Education, 84 National Council of Churches (NCC), 155–57, 183 National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS), 204–5

330 * I n de x National Economic Council, 84 National Education Association (NEA), 65, 77, 81, 90, 97, 203 National Parents’ League, 186 National Review (journal), 253 National Rifle Association (NRA), 210 Native Americans, 20–21, 109, 115, 117, 210, 218, 240 Nazis, 84, 203, 230–31, 253, 286n10 Nebraska, 136, 202, 229 Negro History Bulletin (journal), 47 Negro History Week, 115 Negro in Our History, The (Woodson), 40–41 Negro Makers of History (Woodson), 41 New Christian Right, 165–69, 172, 190–93 “New Day Dawns, A” (Finney), 256–57 New Deal: Cold War and, 75, 78; free enterprise and, 51, 53; Hearst and, 56– 57; Roosevelt and, 51, 56–58, 70; Rugg and, 51, 66, 71, 75; social studies wars and, 51–53, 56–58, 66, 70–71 New History: Beard and, 16–17; British and, 9, 12–23, 29–30, 37, 47, 52, 77; critics of, 13–22; Muzzey and, 13–17; textbooks and, 1, 8, 13–22, 25, 37, 50; treasonous texts and, 11, 15, 18, 25 New Jersey: Black activism and, 110; Cold War and, 87; ethnicity and, 11– 12, 17, 25; Kallen and, 11–12; religious education and, 141; school prayer and, 164; sex education and, xi, 188– 91; social studies wars and, 51, 64, 69; teacher certification and, 250 New Mexico, 160 Newsom, Gavin, 232 New Viewpoints in American History (Schlesinger), 18 New York City: culture wars and, 201–2, 223; ethnicity and, 15; religion and, 123, 126, 132, 141; sex education and, 175, 178; social studies wars and, 53 New York State Board of Regents, 141

New York State Economic Council, 61 New York Sun (newspaper), 64, 69 New York Times (newspaper), xiii–xiv, 7, 196, 200, 234–35, 238–39, 246 Nichols, Henry N., 113–14 No Child Left Behind, 201–2, 252 Noem, Kristi, 255 North: Black activism and, 107, 116–17; Cold War and, 95–96; religion and, 127, 139, 147, 149–50; school prayer and, 147, 149–50; sectionalism and, 30–34, 37–38, 41–43; SpanishAmerican War and, 32 Northam, Ralph, 232 North Carolina: American exceptionalism and, 210; bathroom law of, 227; Black activism and, 106; dress codes and, 231–32; Greene on, 41; indoctrination and, 247; religion and, 126–28, 139, 152, 155, 168; school prayer and, 152, 155, 168; sex education and, 229; transgender students, 226–27 North Dakota, 62, 128, 140, 168 Norwegians, 20, 230 Novick, Peter, 30 Oakes, James, 243 Obama, Barack; Beck on, 6; Common Core and, 220; culture wars and, 207– 13, 216, 220–27, 230; health care plan of, 208; Huckabee on, 221; Islam and, 211–12; religion and, 207–8, 211–12, 222–26; 1619 Project and, 238; Tea Party and, 208–11, 230; Trump and, 227, 230 Occupied America (textbook), 217–18 Oden, Gloria, 44 Ohio, 62, 127, 129–30, 138–39, 142, 159, 207 Oklahoma, 41, 80, 137, 167, 206, 221, 224, 248–49 Old Time Gospel Hour (TV show), 167 O’Leary, Cecelia, 33

I n de x * 33 1 Oral Roberts University, 215 Our Bodies, Ourselves (Our Bodies Ourselves), 191 Our Economic Society and Its Problems (Tugwell), 57 Oursler, Fulton, 64 Our United States (textbook), 103, 116 Overholtzer, J. Irvin, 135 Page, Clarence, 250 Parents Against Universal Sex Education (PAUSE), 180 Parents Opposed to Sex Education (POSE), 180 Parents United for a Responsible Education (PURE), 180 Parker, George Wells, 46 Pastorius, Daniel, 19 Patrick, Dan, 246 patriotism: American exceptionalism and, 210, 221, 234, 242; American Legion and, 12, 23, 25, 52, 58–64, 71– 72, 86–88, 96; Black activism and, 99, 107–8; Cold War and, 79, 86–88, 92, 95–96; culture wars and, 2–5, 201–2, 208, 211, 235–36; ethnicity and, 12–26; Founding Fathers, 11, 18, 23, 200, 208–15, 220–21, 243; kneeling athletes and, 237–38; national anthem, 28, 34, 201, 202, 237; Pledge of Allegiance, 125, 202–3; polls of, 236; sectionalism and, 29, 34, 37, 41; 1776 Commission and, 196, 201, 235, 253; sex education and, 177; social studies wars and, 50–53, 61, 63, 69; Veterans of Foreign Wars, 12, 53 Patten, James, 47 Patterson, Bill, 252–54 Pence, Mike, 248 Pennsylvania, 19, 110, 113–14, 167, 199, 207 People for the American Way, 205 People’s History of the United States, A (Zinn), xiv, 239, 252, 255

Persons, Gordon, 80 Peters, Sharon, 212–13 Pfeffer, Leo, 149, 160 Philadelphia Inquirer (newspaper), 64 Phillips, Ulrich B., 36 Pickens, William, 15 Pilgrims, 23 Pitcher, Molly, 19–20 Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 175, 182 “Please Pray” (song), 164 Pledge of Allegiance, 125, 202–3 pluralism, 11–13, 27, 120–21, 185, 192, 196 Pocahontas, 20, 116 Poe, Edgar Allan, 104 police: Black activism and, 110; brutality of, 249; Floyd killing, 7, 200, 232, 235; questioning citizenship by, 217 Polish, 12, 18, 22, 108 pornography, 148, 157, 162, 167, 174, 178, 228 Powell, Adam Clayton, 105–6 Praxis examination, 251 “Prayer of a Modern Pharisee, The” (parody), 128–29 pregnancy, 155, 189 prejudice: Black activism and, 106, 108; Cold War and, 78, 84; ethnicity and, 13, 16; religious, 83, 129, 133, 242; sectionalism and, 43–44, 48 premarital sex, 172, 176–77, 183, 185, 190, 193 Prepare to Take America Back, 212 Presbyterians, 126, 183–84 Princeton University, 32, 250 “Problems of Democracy” course, 60 Progressives, 12–13, 16, 24–25, 175 Project America, 159 Project Prayer, 159 propaganda: Black activism and, 103; British, 9, 16, 19, 22; Cold War, 77–78, 80, 84, 86, 88, 93–94, 97; Nazi, 286n10; Republicans and, 247; Scott on, 244; sectionalism and, 43;

33 2 * I n de x propaganda (continued) social studies wars, 70; textbooks and, 9, 16, 19, 22, 43; white supremacist, 103 Protestants: Baptists, 6, 126, 130, 154; Black activism and, 120; Cold War and, 76, 83; culture wars and, 205, 208–9, 223, 230; ethnicity and, 22–27; Haughwout and, 53; Methodists, 126, 154, 168; Presbyterians, 126, 183–84; religious education and, 124–26, 129, 131, 134, 143, 155, 160–61; school prayer and, 155, 160–61; sex education and, 183, 190; social studies wars and, 54 Pulaski, 20 Pulitzer Center, 234, 242 Pulliam, Edgar C., 86 Purification Commission, 103 Quakers, 95, 127 Queen of Sheba, 39, 46, 47 “Questions and Answers in Negro History” (Parker), 46 rabbis, 125, 132–34, 143, 145, 223 race issues: Baldwin on, 197; Black activism and, 98–101, 103, 106–8, 113, 115; Cold War and, 76, 80; Critical Race Theory (CRT), 239, 245–48, 255; culture wars and, 2–4, 7–10, 13, 201, 208, 214, 217–21, 230–33; ethnicity and, 15, 19–21, 26–28; Floyd killing, 7, 200, 232, 235; Ku Klux Klan (KKK), 11–12, 18, 22, 48, 54, 80, 101, 219, 230, 241; religion and, 134, 148–49, 152–56, 168, 195; school prayer and, 153–54; sectionalism and, 29–30, 40, 43–49, 52; segregation, 39, 104 (see also segregation); 1619 Project and, 7–8, 239, 243–44, 246, 249, 253; slurs, 3, 44, 52, 101–2, 212, 218, 237; social studies wars and, 52; Trump and, 7, 52, 200, 230–32, 238, 245–46, 255; white

supremacists, 7, 103–4, 195, 200, 222, 231–32; Zinn and, xiv, 239, 252, 255 Ramsey, Marshall, 236 Reagan, Ronald, 159, 165–66, 207, 210, 221–22, 254 Reconstruction, 21, 29–30, 38–39, 44, 101 Red Scares, 54–55, 73, 75, 83 Reeves, Tate, 236 released time. See Weekday Religious Education (WRE) religion, ix; abortion and, 166–67, 199; Bible and, 2 (see also Bible); Bush and, 204–7; California and, 124; Chicago and, 131, 133; communism and, 137, 142, 144, 147; culture wars and, 199–209, 216, 223–27; evolution and, 1–5, 9, 15, 119–21, 199, 207–9, 216, 237; Illinois and, 123–24, 129–33, 136–38; intelligent design (ID) and, 207; liberals and, 4–5, 26, 124–25, 131, 136, 147, 155, 159, 164, 168, 171–72, 205, 238, 256; Massachusetts and, 129–30, 133, 140–45; Michigan and, 129, 138–39; New Jersey and, 141; New York City and, 123, 126, 132, 141; nondenominational, 131–32, 141; in North, 127, 139, 147, 149–50; Obama and, 207–8, 211–12, 222–26; prejudice and, 5, 13, 16, 43–44, 48, 78, 83–84, 106, 108, 129, 133, 242; race issues and, 134, 148–49, 152–56, 168, 195; school prayer, 146– 69 (see also school prayer); Scopes trial and, 1, 4, 9, 119–20, 180; sectarian, 83, 140–44, 205; secularism and, 4, 130, 132, 145, 148, 152, 160, 166, 172, 187, 191, 225, 242; segregation and, 133, 146–47, 149, 153–54; separation of church and state, 124–28, 146, 152, 155, 160–61, 183, 209, 216; 1619 Project and, 242–44; slavery and, 128, 137, 142; in South, 127, 129, 139, 147–52, 157, 167–68; Ten Commandments and, 140, 144, 169; Texas and, 80, 206,

I n de x * 333 209–10; Trump and, 226–29; U.S. Constitution and, 131, 138–39, 202; U.S. Supreme Court and, 124, 130–31, 136–41, 145; Virginia and, 125; Weekday Religious Education (WRE), 123– 43. See also specific denomination Republicans: Advanced Placement U.S. History and, 220; American exceptionalism and, 210, 221, 234, 242; Critical Race Theory (CRT) and, 245–48; culture wars and, 201, 210–11, 217, 220–21, 224, 227–28, 234–36; Fox News and, 6, 208, 213, 239, 245–46; Hispanics and, 217; Islam and, 211–12; patriotism and, 201; school prayer and, 159; sex education and, 192; slavery and, 210, 243; Tea Party, 208–11, 230; textbooks and, 5, 210, 254 Restore School Voluntary Prayer (RSVP), 159 Rhode Island, 69, 181 Rhodes Foundation, 77 Rhodes Scholarship Fund, 17 Rise of American Civilization (Beard and Beard), 37–38 Road Ahead, The (Flynn), 85–86 Robertson, Pat, 167 Robeson, Paul, 115 Robinson, Jackie, 100, 108, 111 Robinson, James Harvey, 13–14 Rockefeller, John D., 175 Rockefeller Foundation, 77, 89, 91 Roe v. Wade, 166, 188 Rogers, Ginger, 159 Rogers, J. A., 48 Roosevelt, Eleanor, 49, 96 Roosevelt, Franklin D.: Brain Trust of, 57; court-packing plan of, 77; free enterprise and, 51; Hearst and, 56–57; legacy of, 76; New Deal and, 51, 56– 58, 70; socialism and, 58; social studies wars and, 51–52, 56–58, 70–71 Roosevelt, Theodore, 3 Root, E. Merrill, 95–96

Rorty, Richard, 240–41 Royko, Mike, 179 Rudd, Augustin C., 61–62, 66 Rufo, Christopher, 245 Rugg, Harold: American Legion and, 59–62, 64, 71–72, 86–87; America’s March toward Democracy, 68; Armstrong and, 59–62, 64, 69; Cold War and, 75, 81, 84–89, 94; Introduction to the Problems of American Culture, 67–68; Lynd and, 66; Man and His Changing Society, 50, 60; New Deal and, 51, 66, 71, 75; social studies wars and, 10, 50–52, 55–56, 59, 59–72, 84, 238; Sokolsky and, 51–52, 67, 69–70; U.S. Constitution and, 56, 59–60, 68–69 Ruhlin, Louise, 159–60 Rural Bible Mission, 139 Russell, Charles Edward, 24, 29, 49 Russell, John Andrew, 26–27 Rutherford, Mildred Lewis, 33–34, 36 Sacajawea, 116 Salem, Peter, 46 Sambo, 101–2 Sandburg, Carl, 175 Schlesinger, Arthur M., 18, 55, 267n19 school prayer: Abington v. Schempp, 149–56, 160–63, 204; African Americans and, 146–47, 152–57, 160, 168; Alabama and, 146–47, 150, 168; atheists and, 206; Bible and, 146–55, 160– 63, 168, 196, 256; California and, 157, 163; Catholics and, 147, 155, 158–62; Chicago and, 168; Christians and, 5– 6, 120, 150–69, 172, 187, 199, 201, 206, 209, 224, 226, 237, 256; civil rights and, 146–48, 153–64; communism and, 147; conservatives and, 146–69; creating movement for, 158–65; crime and, 148, 155, 157, 162; Democrats and, 156; Engel v. Vitale, 149–56, 160–61, 163; evangelicals and, 158, 161–62,

33 4 * I n de x school prayer (continued) 166–67, 187; Hal Webb Team and, 163–64; Illinois and, 156; Jews and, 149–51, 160, 167, 206; King on, 146– 47; legal issues, 149, 152–58, 163; liberals and, 4–5, 147, 155–59, 162–65, 168, 171–72, 206; Lord’s Prayer, 141, 146, 149, 156; majority rule and, 152–58; Massachusetts and, 150, 158–59, 167; Michigan and, 153, 159, 164; Mississippi and, 150, 153, 168; New Christian Right and, 165–69; New Jersey and, 164; North and, 147, 149–50; pornography and, 148, 157, 162, 167; prayer amendment and, 149–50, 155, 158–60, 166–67; secularism and, 148, 151, 160, 166; segregation and, 146–47, 149, 153–54; sex education and, 187– 88; South and, 147–52, 157, 167–68; textbooks and, 165; U.S. Constitution and, 146, 149–61, 237; U.S. Supreme Court and, 4, 120, 146–62, 166–68; Virginia and, 154, 168; Wallace and, 146–47, 150, 153 Science and Health (Eddy), 124 Scopes, John T., 1, 4, 9, 119–20, 180 Scott, Daryl Michael, 243–44 Scott, Tim, 246 sectionalism: African Americans and, 29–49; Alabama and, 35, 41–42; Black activism and, 31, 46; Catholics and, 37; Civil War and, 29–32, 35–39, 49; Confederacy and, 29–42, 48, 49; economics and, 37–38; heroes and, 30–31, 45; Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and, 48, 54; liberals and, 49; Muzzey and, 29, 35, 37; NAACP and, 29, 43–45, 49; in North, 30–34, 37–38, 41–43; patriotism and, 29, 34, 37, 41; prejudice and, 43–44, 48; segregation and, 39, 45; slavery and, 29–30, 33–42, 48; in South, 29–36, 39–45, 48; struggle for Negro History and, 38–49; Texas and, 34, 41; textbooks and, 29–49;

U.S. Constitution and, 30, 33–34, 37; Virginia and, 29, 32–33, 35–37, 40; Woodson and, 38–48, 101 secularism: culture wars and, 4, 225, 242; humanism, 6, 142, 160, 172, 191– 92, 225; religion and, 4, 130, 132, 145, 148, 152, 160, 166, 172, 187, 191, 225, 242; school prayer and, 148, 151, 160, 166; sex education and, 172, 187, 191 segregation: African Americans and, 39, 104, 154, 240; Black activism and, 98, 100, 102, 104–5, 112–16; Brown v. Board of Education, 101, 104, 147; Cold War and, 80, 95–97; ideological, 256; Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and, 54; religion and, 133, 146–47, 149, 153–54; school prayer and, 146–47, 149, 153–54; sectionalism and, 39, 45; slavery and, 39, 98, 240; South and, 4, 39, 80, 95, 115, 147, 149; Texas and, 80; textbooks and, 39, 80, 97–98, 102, 104, 250 sensitivity training (ST), 184–85 September 11, 2001, attacks, ix, 201–3, 222 700 Club (TV show), 167 1776 Commission, 196, 201, 235–36, 253 1776 Pledge to Save Our Schools, 255 sex education: abortion and, 176, 183, 188–89, 193; Bible and, 173, 188, 199; California and, 177, 180–81, 184–88, 193; Catholics and, 177, 190, 229; Chicago and, 173, 179, 182; Christians and, 172–73, 185, 187, 190, 192, 196; communism and, 174, 177–80; conservatives and, 171–72, 174, 179, 185, 190, 192, 202; crime and, 178; Drake and, 170–71; Fries and, 177; Illinois and, 179, 184, 186; John Birch Society and, 170–71, 178–80; Koop and, 192; legal issues and, 183; liberals and, xiii, 171–72, 188, 192–93; Margolis and, 170–71; marriage and, 5, 172, 174–76, 182–83, 190; Massachusetts

I n de x * 335 and, 178; Masters and Johnson book, 175, 184; Mead on, 79–80; Michigan and, 170, 174, 186–87; New Christian Right and, 172; New Jersey and, 11–12, 188–91; New York City and, 175, 178; in 1980s, 189–93; North Carolina and, 229; parents vs. experts, 183–88; patriotism and, 177; pornography and, 174, 178, 228–29; premarital sex, 172, 176–77, 183, 185, 190, 193; promiscuity and, 170, 174, 180; Protestants and, 183, 190; Republicans and, 192; school prayer and, 187–88; secularism and, 172, 187, 191; sensitivity training (ST) and, 184–85; Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and, 170–83, 187; sexual revolution and, 173–77; Sick Sixties and, 182; Soviets and, 177–78; textbooks and, 177, 181; Trump and, 227–29; Virginia and, 189 Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS): Calderone and, 173–83, 186, 190–91; Drake and, 170–71; Margolis and, 171–72; Rockefeller and, 175; sex education and, 170–83, 187; sexual revolution and, 173–77 Sex Respect program, 193 sexual revolution, 173–77, 188 Sexxx Ed Sit Out, 228 Shanahan, Joseph, 188 Shaver, Erwin L., 123–24, 138–39 Sheriff, Carol, 214–15 Simon, Paul, 95 Simonds, Robert L., xii, 225 Sinn Fein, 25 Sitting Bull, 100, 116 1619 Project: backlash of, 244–47; battle over, 6–8, 196, 200, 234–35, 238–50, 253–55; Civil War and, 243; New York Times, xiii–xiv, 7, 196, 200, 234, 238, 246; Obama and, 238; racism and, 7– 8, 239, 243–44, 246, 249, 253; religion

and, 242–44; slavery and, 7, 200, 234, 239, 242–43, 246, 249; Texas and, 246; textbooks and, 234, 239–40, 243, 254; Trump and, 196, 200, 234–35, 246, 253, 255 slavery: abolition of, 38, 243–44; Baldwin and, 197; Black activism and, 98– 103, 107, 117; Civil War and, 36–37, 39, 103, 210, 240, 243, 251; Dred Scott, 137; Emancipation Proclamation, 34, 42, 103, 249; Federal Writers Project and, 249; Founding Fathers and, 196–97, 200, 210, 214, 220, 243; Jefferson and, 196–97; Pastorius and, 19; religion and, 128, 137, 142; Republicans and, 210, 243; Rutherford on, 33–34; Sambo and, 101–2; sectionalism and, 29–30, 33–42, 48; segregation and, 39, 98, 240; 1619 Project and, 7, 200, 234, 239, 242–43, 246, 249; textbooks and, 21, 30, 33–39, 98, 101, 103, 117, 210–11, 234, 240, 243, 251; U.S. Constitution and, 30, 33, 243, 251 Smith, Gerald L. K., 84 Smith, W., T., 136–37 socialism: Cold War and, 75–80, 84, 87, 90, 96–97; ethnicity and, 24; Huerta and, 214; Roosevelt on, 58; U.S. Constitution and, 51 social media, 212, 229, 246 social studies wars: Alabama and, 62; American Legion and, 52, 58–59, 61– 62, 64, 71–72; American Revolution and, 51; Armstrong and, 58–62, 64, 69; Beard and, 50, 55–56, 59, 68, 72; Becker and, 50–51, 55–57, 59, 72; California and, 62, 75, 77–79; Catholics and, 53–54; collectivism and, 53, 61, 66–67; communism and, 51, 54–57, 71–72; conservatives and, 50–59, 64, 66; economics and, 51–61, 67–71; equality and, 54, 67–68; ethnicity and, 53–58; Fries and, 50–51, 55, 66; Germans and, 53, 55; heroes and, 54;

336 * I n de x social studies wars (continued) Irish and, 37, 42; Jews and, 55; liberals and, 51–53, 66, 71–72; Man and His Changing Society, 50, 60; Muzzey and, 50; New Deal and, 51–53, 56–58, 66, 70–71; New Jersey and, 51, 64, 69; New York City and, 53; patriotism and, 50–53, 61, 63, 69; race issues and, 52; Rugg and, 10, 50–52, 55–56, 59–72, 84, 238; Sokolsky and, 51–52, 67–70; Soviets and, 55–57; textbooks and, 50–73; U.S. Constitution and, 51–52, 56–60, 68–70; U.S. Supreme Court and, 51–52, 57, 69–70 Socrates, 39 Sokolsky, George E., 51–52, 67–70 Solomon, Haym, 30 Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), 29–30, 38 Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), 22–24, 87, 92, 94 Sopranos, The (TV show), xiv South: Black activism and, 101, 106, 114–16; Cold War and, 76, 80, 86, 92–97; Confederacy and, 7 (see also Confederacy); Davis and, 33–34; innocence of, 21, 211; Reconstruction and, 21, 29–30, 38–39, 44, 101; religion and, 127, 129, 139, 147–52, 157, 167–68; school prayer and, 147–52, 157, 167–68; sectionalism and, 29–36, 39–45, 48; segregation and, 4, 39, 80, 95, 115, 147, 149; Spanish-American War and, 32 South Carolina, 30–31, 41, 86, 150, 152, 246, 256–57 South Dakota, 255 Southern Baptist Convention, 6 Soviets: Cold War and, 76–77, 83, 85, 88, 97; economic accomplishments of, 241; fall of, 225; nuclear weapons and, 222; Reagan and, 222; Red Scares and, 54–55, 73, 75, 83; Rorty on, 241; sex

education and, 177–78; social studies wars and, 55–57, 73; Sputnik and, 142 Spanish-American War, 32 Spingarn, Joel, 102 Stamp Act, 17 Stanford History Education Group, 251 “Star Spangled Banner,” 28, 34 Steichen, Edward, 175 Steuben Society, 12, 19–20 Stitt, Kevin, 248 St. Louis Globe-Democrat (newspaper), 156 Stockholm Peace Petition, 178 Story of the Negro Retold, The (Woodson), 41 Sullivan, James, 19 Sullivan, Neil, 158 Sununu, Chris, 248 Talmadge, Herman, 153 Talmadge, May, 78–79 Talmud Torah, 132–33 Teachers College, 58–59, 63, 130 Tea Party, 208–11, 230 Tecumseh, 20 Ten Commandments, 140, 144, 169 Ten Commandments, The (film), 126 terrorism, ix, xii, 200–204, 211, 237 Texas: Abbott and, 227; African Americans and, 210, 214; annexation of, 34; cheerleaders and, 224; Cold War and, 79–80, 86, 93; Confederacy and, 210; Critical Race Theory (CRT) and, 246; culture wars and, 205–6, 209–20, 224, 227, 246, 254; evolution and, 209, 216; Hispanics and, 214; Islam and, 211–12; pure-text laws and, 93; racial intermarriage and, 80; religion and, 80, 206, 209–10; school prayer and, 152–58; schools and, 34, 80, 86, 93, 205–14, 218, 220, 227, 246; sectionalism and, 34; 1619 Project and, 246; State Board of Education

I n de x * 337 (SBOE), 209–16; textbooks and, 34, 80, 209–10, 218; world government and, 79 Texas Freedom Network (TFN), 205–6 Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), 209–16 textbooks: African Americans and, 13, 20–21, 30, 38–39, 42, 45, 47, 49, 99, 103–4, 109, 111, 117, 240; American exceptionalism and, 210, 221, 234, 242; American Revolution and, 9, 13–14, 22, 24, 29, 52, 60, 68, 77, 87, 94; Beard and, 1, 11, 16–17, 37–38, 50, 55–56, 59, 68, 72; Black activism and, 3, 10, 22, 98–111, 114–29, 218; Black soldiers and, 214–15; Cold War and, 74–97; Committee on Public School Textbooks, 29; conservatives and, 3, 5, 51–58, 66, 75–76, 88, 90, 99, 107, 110– 11, 209–10, 212, 218, 239–40; ethnicity and, 3, 5, 9–15, 11–30, 52–55, 98, 100, 109, 116–17, 216–19; Hispanics and, 109, 117, 217; integrated, 10, 39, 45, 76, 97, 99, 102–7, 110–11, 116–17; Islam and, 211–13; liberals and, 5, 12, 26, 49, 52, 71–72, 101, 209, 218, 243; Morris and, 22–23; multiculturalism and, 5, 100, 218; Muzzey and, 1, 11, 13–17, 25, 29, 35, 50; NAACP and, 29, 43–45, 52, 80, 102–3; New History, 1, 8, 13–22, 25, 37, 50; Our United States, 103, 116; propaganda in, 9, 16, 19, 22, 43, 70, 77–78, 80, 84, 86, 88, 93–94, 97, 103, 244, 247; Republicans and, 5, 210, 254; Rugg and, 238 (see also Rugg, Harold); sectionalism and, 29–49; segregation and, 39, 80, 97–98, 102, 104, 250; sex education and, 177, 181; 1619 Project and, 234, 239–40, 243, 254; slavery and, 21, 30, 33–39, 98, 101, 103, 117, 210–11, 234, 240, 243, 251; social studies wars and, 50–73; Tea Party and, 210; terrorist attacks and,

203; Texas and, 34, 80, 209–10, 218; treasonous, 11, 15, 18, 25, 35, 56, 59, 115; Zinn and, 239, 252–55 Thompson, J. Walter, 85 Thompson, William H. “Big Bill”: African Americans and, 20–22; Native Americans and, 21; textbook campaigns of, 1, 9–10, 15, 18–22, 47, 53 Time (magazine), 70, 180 transgender students, 226–28, 237 Trotsky, Leon, 56 Trump, Donald, xiii; border wall of, 230, 237; Carson and, 200, 246, 255; Confederate monuments and, 7, 196, 200, 230–35; Critical Race Theory (CRT) and, 245; culture wars and, 230–33, 237–38; DeVos and, 226–27; Hispanics and, 230, 237; Islam and, 230, 237; LGBTQ issues and, 228–29; Make America Great Again, 201, 230; on Mexico, 230; Obama and, 227, 230; race issues and, 7, 200, 230–32, 238, 245–46, 255; religion and, 226–29; schools and, 226–35, 245–46, 250, 255; 1776 Commission and, 196, 201, 235– 36, 253; sex education and, 227–29; 1619 Project and, 196, 200, 234–35, 246, 253, 255 Truth, Sojourner, 115 Tugwell, Rexford G., 56–58 Tulsa Race Massacre, 248–49 Tunney, Gene, 84 Turner, Nat, 100, 108, 111 Twain, Mark, 103–4 Tyack, David, 12 United Confederate Veterans (UCV), 31–37 United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), 22, 29–36, 40, 48 United Evangelical Action (journal), 134 United Nations, 75, 77, 79–80, 88, 93 United Sons of the Confederacy, 215

33 8 * I n de x Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), 48 Urban League, 102–3 Uren, William, 24 U.S. Commissioner of Education, 105–6 U.S. Constitution: Beard on, 16; culture wars and, 202, 219, 222, 224–26; First Amendment, 124, 149, 191, 206, 248; Framers of, 68–70; Irish and, 19; religion and, 131, 138–39, 202; right to privacy and, 188; Rugg and, 56, 59–60, 68–69; school prayer and, 146, 149–61, 237; secession and, 33; sectionalism and, 30, 33–34, 37; slavery and, 30, 33, 243, 251; social studies wars and, 51–52, 56–60, 68–70 U.S. Department of Defense, 97 U.S. Supreme Court: majority rule and, 152–58; Pledge of Allegiance and, 202–203; religion and, 124, 130–31, 136–41, 145; school prayer and, 4, 120, 146–62, 166–68, 206; sex education and, 187–88; social studies wars and, 51–52, 57, 69–70; student religious groups and, 223. See also legal issues Utah, 228, 249 Van Tyne, Claude, 16, 26 Vermont, 66, 72, 93, 131, 139 Vesey, Denmark, 100, 111 Veterans of Foreign Wars, 12, 53 Vietnam War, 157 Virginia: Black activism and, 101, 106, 117; culture wars and, 7, 195, 200, 208, 214, 230–34, 256; Muzzey and, 29; religion and, 125; school prayer and, 154, 168; sectionalism and, 29, 32–33, 35–37, 40; sex education and, 189; white supremacists and, 7; Wilson and, 32 vouchers, 6, 226–27, 256

Wainwright, Jonathan, 84 Wallace, George C., 4, 6, 115–16, 146–47, 150, 153 Warren, Rita, 160 Washington, Booker T., 3, 42, 116 Washington, D.C., 41, 43, 45, 50, 55, 87, 91, 114, 140, 203, 240 Washington, George, xi; Black activism and, 100–101, 107, 111, 114; ethnicity of, 25; as hero, 12, 231; religion and, 199; social studies wars and, 58–59 Washington, Margaret, 45 Washington Post (newspaper), 102, 156 Washington State, 93, 190, 224, 229 Wayne, John, 159 Weekday Religious Education (WRE): debate over, 130–43; enrollments of, 123; Fundamentalist Ministers Committee on Weekday Christian Education and, 135; Jews and, 124–34, 143; legal issues and, 136–43; Shaver and, 123–24, 138–39 Welch, Robert, 178 West, Willis Mason, 24–25 West Virginia, 127 Weyrich, Paul, 6 Wheatley, Phillis, 115 white supremacists: Black activism and, 103–4; culture wars and, 7, 195, 200, 222, 231–32; Ku Klux Klan (KKK), 11–12, 18, 22, 48, 54, 80, 101, 219, 230, 241; propaganda and, 103 Wichita Eagle (newspaper), 212 Wilder, Laura Ingalls, 83–84 Wilkins, Roy, 114 Williams, Daniel K., 237 Wilson, Woodrow, 32 Wineburg, Sam, 251 Wirt, William, 127 Wood, John S., 94 Wood, John T., 79 Woodson, Carter G.: Association for the Study of Negro Life and History

I n de x * 339 (ASNLH) and, 38–43, 47, 101; Journal of Negro History, 47; The Negro in Our History, 40–41; Negro Makers of History, 41; sectionalism and, 38–48, 101; The Story of the Negro Retold, 41 Works Progress Administration (WPA), 70, 78 World’s Greatest Men of African Descent (Rogers), 48 World Socialist Web Site, 243 World Trade Center, ix, xii, 201

Yates, M. M., 26 Young, Whitney, 103 Youth for Christ club, 152 Zamora, Emilio, 214–15 Zinn, Howard, xiv, 239, 252–55 Zionism, 83 Zoll, Allen A., 84–85 Zorach v. Clauson, 138–39, 141