Making American(History) Great Again–Part 30

The next episode of the historical series written by Maj. Danny Sjursen….a look at a true history not the sanitized one that we are taught in our schools…..

The past is prologue. The stories we tell about ourselves and our forebears inform the sort of country we think we are and help determine public policy. As our current president promises to “make America great again,” this moment is an appropriate time to reconsider our past, look back at various eras of United States history and re-evaluate America’s origins.

This part looks at our history of civil rights and the days around the push for the law….but first let me help my reader get caught up with the story so far……

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10;Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21; Part 22; Part 23; Part 24; Part 25; Part 26; Part 27; Part 28; Part 29.

Rosa Parks sat, Martin Luther King Jr. stood up, the Supreme Court overturned school segregation, and the rest, as they say, was history. African-Americans, long-abused and long-thwarted, ultimately won their civil rights in what has become a defining American story. Only that’s what this is—a story, a mythologized and sanitized past that fails to engage with the complexity of the issues at hand.

According to what American children are taught, the civil rights activists managed a coherent movement; there seldom is mention of the internal battles within the black and white liberal communities. As it is taught, the movement had a discrete chronology, a beginning and an end. It begins with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board or Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a white person on a crowded, segregated bus in Montgomery, Ala. It ends, usually, with either the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, or with the King assassination in April 1968. The mythologized movement has a distinctly Southern geography—lost are the riots, poverty and persistent de facto segregation of the urban North.

This is an excellent look back at America’s history….in the vane of Howard Zinn and his History of the American People….

Learn Stuff!

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Class Dismissed!

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4 thoughts on “Making American(History) Great Again–Part 30

  1. ” The mythologized movement has a distinctly Southern geography—lost are the riots, poverty and persistent de facto segregation of the urban North.” Unfortunately true.

    The absolute brutality of slavery has also been sanitized. But movies like ROOTS and TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE have filled the vacuum textbooks omit. Then there is the matter of how much information should a textbook provide. In high school I was lucky if I could cover 1 third of a 1200 page text book. They are so huge because of the politics of inclusion it is impossible to even briefly survey the whole book. Very few high schoolers read the book anyway was my great frustration as a teacher.

  2. As always, a well-researched and very interesting article. Even the eventual election of a black president seems to have done little to promote real progress though. The biggest opportunities for black people still seem to come from the music industry, or sport.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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