Douglas Brinkley: 2010 In Review: The Year For White Americans:

Source: NPR, 12-30-10

America ends the decade with its first black president, and census numbers have revealed that the country isn’t so black-and-white anymore. Hispanics and Asians are increasing in numbers compared to an aging white population. Historian Douglas Brinkley reflects on what’s shaking up the status quo….

Prof. BRINKLEY: Well, I think the big change was when Barack Obama got elected president. It seems surreal to a lot of white Americans. Nobody ever thought the country was ready to have an African-American as president, let alone one with only a modest background in politics. He was quite young, and with a name like Barack Hussein Obama. The right thought that this was a guy they’d be able to, you know, dissolve on the campaign trail, and instead he beat John McCain and was sworn in in this historic inauguration. And you had, as first family in the White House, a black family.
And it created, I think, a real schism of – in the country – oh, in -particularly with white people that perhaps we are losing something in America, the, you know, white male ascendancy. If you look at even a children’s breakfast mat, you’ll see it’s all white presidents. And now, suddenly, there’s Barack Obama. And, you know, something had changed, and I’m not sure people knew how to respond to it.
And a lot of grassroots native, this sort of anti-Obama energy, started bubbling to the forefront, some of it legitimate in the sense that people worried about the sagging economy and high unemployment rate. But some of it was connected to the fact that we’re – Americans were losing their essence, what Americanism meant. And we’re on a downward slide if we’re having a guy like Obama who got soon dubbed a socialist in the White House. But there is a lot of veiled, you know, racial references, in one way or another, that dominated much of the political discourse this past year. – Mp3 Download

History News: Virgina History Textbook Inaccuracies Controversy

See also: History Buzz October 25, 2010: Carol Sheriff & the Virginia Civil War Textbook Controversy

Source: CNN, 12-30-10


“Our Virginia: Past and Present” is published by Five Ponds Press in Weston, Conn.


CNN — It’s a textbook case of getting it wrong. A Virginia elementary school textbook will soon be history after a college professor and parent, caught more than one mistake in it.

Turns out the errors she spotted were not the only ones. Some of the glaring errors had to do with African-Americans and the Civil War.

“The United States entered World War I in 1916.” Wrong – it was 1917.

“There were 12 confederate states.” Also wrong – actually, there were 11.

“In 1800, New Orleans was a U.S. port.” Wrong yet again – the port of New Orleans was still under Spanish control at the time.

These and dozens of other errors can be found in the textbook handed out to thousands of Virginia fourth graders. Problems with the book ‘Our Virginia: Past and Present’, published by Five Ponds Press, first surfaced last October, as reported by the Washington Post, when the mother of one student, a college history professor, spotted several lines on page 122.

“It was particularly jarring when I got to this one passage that was so at odds with what historians have been saying about who participated in the Civil War,” said William & Mary Professor Carol Sheriff, a parent of one student.

The book says thousands of southern blacks fought in the confederate ranks, something not supported by mainstream Civil War scholarship. But it’s the next line that’s just plain wrong: “including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson.” The textbook actually, does note that it wasn’t ’til 1865 that African-Americans could legally serve in the confederate army. It also tells children that Stonewall Jackson died in 1863.

The error about blacks serving in the confederate army was outrageous to many in academia….READ MORE

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