By Kevin Sieff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 20, 2010; 12:53 AM
A textbook distributed to Virginia fourth-graders says that thousands of African Americans fought for the South during the Civil War -- a claim rejected by most historians but often made by groups seeking to play down slavery's role as a cause of the conflict.
The passage appears in "Our Virginia: Past and Present," which was distributed in the state's public elementary schools for the first time last month. The author, Joy Masoff, who is not a trained historian but has written several books, said she found the information about black Confederate soldiers primarily through Internet research, which turned up work by members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Scholars are nearly unanimous in calling these accounts of black Confederate soldiers a misrepresentation of history. Virginia education officials, after being told by The Washington Post of the issues related to the textbook, said that the vetting of the book was flawed and that they will contact school districts across the state to caution them against teaching the passage.
"Just because a book is approved doesn't mean the Department of Education endorses every sentence," said spokesman Charles Pyle. He also called the book's assertion about black Confederate soldiers "outside mainstream Civil War scholarship."
Masoff defended her work. "As controversial as it is, I stand by what I write," she said. "I am a fairly respected writer.". . . .
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
Thursday, October 21, 2010
"Fairly Respected Writer" and the Grossest of Neo-Confederate Propaganda
In the right-wing revisionist history preferred by the Republican Tea Party nitwits (includes Virginia's Governor), the Civil War was not fought over slavery but about states rights. Got it. You have to wonder which one of these fools chose a 4th grade history text written by Cub Scout den mother for Virginia school children that channels that Tea Party line by claiming that thousands of black soldiers fought under Stonewall Jackson to preserve the Confederacy. Her former exploits into publishing include bestsellers like "Oh Yikes: History's Grossest Moments." From WaPo:
at 8:56 AM