Virginia 4th Grade Textbook Claims Thousands of Blacks Fought for Confederacy

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A textbook distributed to Virginia's fourth graders states that African Americans served in the Confederate Army by the thousands. The book, "Our Virginia: Past and Present" was distributed for the first time last month to outcry from parents and educators.

Kenneth Davis, popular historian and best-selling author of "Don't Know Much About History," joins the show to talk about where this claim comes from, whether it's true, and how misinformation gets passed off as fact. Takeaway contributor Patrik Henry Bass offers some books that might do a better job of educating our children about our nation's bloodiest war.


Patrik Henry Bass and Kenneth C. Davis

Produced by:

Posey Gruener

Comments [10]

Paige Yarborough from Oklahoma

On the topic of History being taught in schools I think that the price, availability and the people who are choosing these textbooks a major factor in this problem. As a History major that will graduate in December I feel that historical literacy is essentially important only if it is accurate.

Oct. 21 2010 11:08 AM
ZaragozaBill from Delray Beach, FL

Hidden History

The Whiting of Euro-Americans: A Divide and Conquer Strategy
By Thandeka

The Hijacking of the Fourteenth Amendment
By Doug Hammerstrom

Wall Street's Plot to Seize the White House
By Richard Sanders

Slavery by Another Name
By Douglas Blackmon

Operation Gladio
By David Guyatt

Oct. 21 2010 10:58 AM
Ted Rohrbach

Are you going to show what happened to the American economy under Hoover when he balanced the budget and kept taxes low? It looks like he took us from less than 5% unemployment to over 20% in 3 1/2 yrs. Long live the balanced budget!!??

Oct. 21 2010 09:58 AM
Linda from Magnolia, MA

I thought it was interesting that the black gentleman who was your guest, another talk show host and current tea party member, got so 'testy' when you asked him about the meaning of the original tea party movement. I suspect he did not in fact know the answer! Why else be defensive? - it was a two second answer....

Oct. 21 2010 09:53 AM
Bobbie Knable from Brookline, MA

It was reported in the last few days that a history book used in Virginia public schools asserts that thousands of Blacks fought in the Civil War on the side of the South. The Virginia School Board's response has been to instruct teachers not to teach that section of the book, but not--as far as I know--to question the veracity and perspective of the other historical "facts" included in the book.

Oct. 21 2010 09:51 AM
Kathy from Charleston, SC

I would like to share a fact I learned while homeschooling my children. In a book called The Relocation of the North American Indians we read that George Washington destroyed so many indian villages that he was referred to as the "village destroyer" This was a library book and destroyed my childrens illusion of our country's greatest hero.

Oct. 21 2010 09:42 AM
david from manhattan

while billie holiday was outstanding and her version of "strange fruit" is haunting and stinging. it's not her's. it was written by a high school teacher from the bronx, abel meeropol.
just to be exact

Oct. 21 2010 09:35 AM
Paul a "Brit in Florida" from Florida

The education of Americans in the subject of history, either national or international, is abysmal! The average American also lacks any comprehensive knowledge in the subject of geography. These two subjects are the basis of all learning, as without history human beings repeat the same mistakes over and over. It is an embarrassment to this country that claims to be the “most powerful” on the planet. Any European laugh’s at the ignorance of American’s on these subjects, only confirming the image of the “Ugly, Ignorant American”! America must change this if it wishes to survive! Or this will be the “fall of the American Empire”!

Oct. 21 2010 09:26 AM
Joel Shatzky from Brooklyn

Young learners have to be motivated to learn what the are taught. If they don't see any "relevance" to historical facts to their lives, they will memorize what they need to pass the test and then promptly forget it. Ask them about music groups or video games and they have very good memories. There are some students, however, who are motivated through culture or temperament to remember facts and they are the ones who will have cultural literacy in general. America is a "pragmatic" country; if it's not going to make you money, it's not important.

Oct. 21 2010 09:22 AM
Alli from NYC

Textbooks are expensive! As a result, schools are stuck with old books that continue to propagate dated and biased inaccuracies. James W Loewen's book: "Lies My Teacher Told Me" is a fantastic review of how we teach history to students. He also offers a chapter-worth of recommendations to authors of history textbooks and curricula and requests that they challenge their audience to ask questions of their government and not take all that is written as truth.

Oct. 21 2010 07:36 AM

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