Lies My Teacher Told Me - James W. Loewen

Chapter 6: John Brown and Abraham Lincoln:

The Invisibility of Antiracism in American History Textbooks

Will the real John Brown, please stand up?

Has your history textbook influenced you? Take this two image quiz...

What thoughts, feelings, emotions come to mind when you see this image?swastika.jpg

Now look at this image -

rebelflag.jpg What thoughts, feelings, emotions, come to mind?

Loewen contends that the differences in feelings of these two very powerful symbols is the difference in how we teach history... What do you think?

"As one result, unlike the Nazi swastika, which lies disgraced, even in the North whites still proudly display the Stars and Bars of he Confederacy on den walls, license plates, T-shirts, and high school logos. Even some (white) Northerners vaguely regret the defeat of the 'lost cause.' It is as if racism against blacks could be remembered with nostalgia. In this sense, long after the Appomattox, the Confederacy still won." (197)

Sometimes the losers, still win. When history is taught without struggle and without judgement, we may all lose.


Need some texts to teach audience and purpose? Want to show students it is okay to struggle, think, debate ideas, policies, procedures? Lincoln certainly re-vised his speeches for his intended audiences. Links to Lincoln's speeches left out of textbooks.

How about this image? What rhetorical devices can you find? Can you imagine this as a political ad today?