Timothy Paul Bowman, "You Will Never Be One of Us: A Teacher, a Texas Town, and the Rural Roots of Radical Conservatism" (U of Oklahoma Press, 2022)


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As the 1974 school year began, Wayne Woodward was a beloved high school teacher in a rural Texas town. By the following spring, he was embroiled in a local political firestorm that would ultimately cost him his job. Woodward's sin was, in his own words, naively trying to found a chapter of the ACLU in his Hereford, Texas community. In You Will Never Be One of Us: A Teacher, A Texas Town, and the Rural Roots of Radical Conservatism (University of Oklahoma Press, 2022) West Texas A&M Professor Timothy Bowman tells the remarkable story of Woodward's teaching career, his fight over the ACLU chapter, and the nationally-covered wrongful termination trial that followed. Woodward's story casts shifts the story of American conservatism away from the suburbs and toward rural places like Hereford, where local frontier identities helped create distrust of outsiders and a strong streak of libertarianism. The central question of the book is one of human behavior: why otherwise average Americans would work so hard to run an idealistic young person and beloved teacher out of town? The answer has everything to do with Mexican immigration, labor unrest, and the roiling culture wars, and speaks directly to our present political moment.

Timothy Paul Bowman is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at West Texas A&M University in Canyon and the author of Blood Oranges: Colonialism and Agriculture in the South Texas Borderlands.

Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

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