Trey Kay, Christina Stella Published

Us & Them: Bidding Farewell To My Unlikely Friend, Alice Moore


Friendships that last through the years can be a remarkable gift.

In this episode of Us & Them, host Trey Kay remembers his dear friend Alice Moore who recently passed away. Kay talks about the gentle kindness that defined their relationship, which stretched across the divides of their social and political beliefs. 

Moore made West Virginia — and national — headlines in the 1970s over a contentious and violent conflict focused on public school textbooks. As a county school board member, Moore opposed new language arts textbooks because they offended her religious and political views. Kay says his documentary on the Kanawha County Textbook War introduced him to Moore and opened the door to a friendship that has taught him about relationships, politics and people.

This episode of Us & Them is presented with support from the West Virginia Humanities Council, the Daywood Foundation and the CRC Foundation.

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A black and white campaign flyer. An adult woman is shown to the left of text. In big bold letters, the flyer reads, "Re-elect Alice Moore for Board of Education."
In this 1976 campaign ad, Alice Moore urges schools to teach “basic skills” and not interfere with the “moral, ethical, [or] religious beliefs” of parents.

Credit: West Virginia State Archives
A black and white photo of an adult woman. She stands at a podium holding a sign up that reads, "We love you Mrs. Alice Moore."
In 1974, Alice Moore was admired and lionized by many Kanawha County residents for opposing the adoption of a new set of language arts textbooks. Textbook supporters thought they would introduce students to the concept of multiculturalism. Moore and her fellow protesters felt the books undermined traditional American values and attacked Christianity.

Credit: Charleston Newspapers
A black and white photo of an adult woman sits at a desk. A microphone is in front of her along with a large stack of papers.
At a pivotal meeting during the 1974 Kanawha County textbook controversy, Alice Moore reviews transcripts as protesters watch through the board office auditorium windows.

Credit: Charleston Newspapers
Two adults are shown in a photograph. On the left is a man with a short beard and a mustache. On the right is an older woman. Both appear to be speaking on a panel.
Trey Kay and Alice Moore at a panel discussion at the West Virginia Culture Center in 2009.

Credit: Greg Isaacs
Videos courtesy of Amy Tillman
A photograph of an adult man and an elderly woman. The man leans down toward the woman who sits in a chair covered in blankets.
Trey Kay visited his friend Alice Moore at her home in Acton, Tennessee in July 2023. It was their last visit.

Credit: Amy Tillman