Sherry sends a story about Texas education policy, from the Washington Post.
So, really: How do you teach the Civil War while only lightly touching on slavery? How many more generations will be taught that states’ rights — not slavery — was the issue? Because let me tell you, once those children grow up and find out the truth, they’re gonna be piiiiissed.
I grew up in Texas, and to the best of my memory (which isn’t saying much) there is nothing new here. Our history textbooks never told the whole story about anything. I had one history teacher who was using the same lesson plan he made 30 years earlier. I had one semester of Texas history, but it glossed over the Civil War to such a degree that years later I was still unsure of Texas’s role.
For a high school senior year public speaking project (1972) a classmate (a young black women) and I decided to present together, alternating between George Wallace’s inaugural address (“segregation now, segregation forever”, “persecution of the international white minority”) and MLK’s Dream speech. We decided that she would read Wallace’s speech and I would read King’s because, well because we were 17. This was to be at a school assembly. We were told that we had to pick another topic, something “more positive”. When we refused, they let us go ahead. We made our presentation to to our public speaking teacher, the principal and a handful of kids from our public speaking class in an otherwise empty auditorium. This in one of the two or three most liberal towns in liberal Connecticut, then and now.
Today there are a number of documented and undocumented kids at the same school who are activists on immigration. Forty plus years later, they face some of the same pressure to “be more positive” when they choose to speak up.
There’s more than one way to suppress the truth.
“We may not like our history, but it’s history.” Indeed.
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