Momentum seems to be growing to remove history from the curriculum of many secondary schools and colleges across the country.
History instruction has been under attack since the 1960s, and with the tumult rocking the nation these days those attacks seem to be gaining momentum.
Jason Hill, a professor at DePaul University in Chicago, said the attack on history is designed to prevent people from reasoning and from articulating dissent. He said people who want to abolish American history have nothing in mind to replace it with. They want to destroy the good for the sake of it being good.
For many junior high and high school students, history was the salvation of the school day. Of course, not all students loved it, just as not all loved algebra, geometry, English and other courses. But a good history teacher could make events come alive in the classroom, and create an inner thirst to learn more about the people, events and places that brought civilization to where it is today.
Ponchatoula historian Jim Perrin, a Ponchatoula High School graduate and retired school principal with a degree in history from Southeastern Louisiana University, said it was a high school history teacher who engrained in him a love for history. Perrin said, in his opinion, along with a need for history instruction, more instruction is needed in geography.
Clark Forrest, history buff and president of the Edward Livingston Historical Association based in Livingston Parish, said a quote by George Santayana sums up his philosophy: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Forrest also loves a quote from Southern author William Faulkner in Requiem for a Nun: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
“In order to live intelligently and humanely in the present, we must understand the past accurately,” Forrest said.
The current topic that has historians, politicians, academics and observant everyday Americans in an uproar is the 1619 Project. This is an initiative by New York Times Magazine that attempts to completely rewrite American history. The initiative claims that 1619, when slaves were first introduced to American soil at the Jamestown settlement, is the actual birthday of America as a nation, not 1776 when American colonists declared independence from Great Britain.
The 1619 Project also claims that the U.S. Constitution was adopted not as a guide for governance of a new nation, but to perpetuate slavery.
Conservative academics have attacked the Project’s facts, such as that Jamestown already had a local governing body in place for about 10 years before the first slaves arrived.
President Trump said last week that he will withdraw federal funds from any school district that includes the 1619 Project in its curriculum. California has already done so.
If the 1619 Project becomes part of the American school curriculum, it will be the best evidence yet that indoctrination has become institutionalized in the American education system.
The Project is so wrong in so many ways. Yet it is set to hit some K-12 classrooms in American schools this fall. Those students will be learning a new version of American history that has been revised to fit neatly into today’s lifestyle to train another generation of revisionists and anti-American activists.
History is written by historians and can be viewed in different ways, but Perrin said the facts of history never change, although the interpretation sometimes does.
So what has this revisionism brought us? Rioting, looting and burning destroying sections of some of our largest cities. Removal of statues and edifices of individuals whose lives included beliefs and actions that run contrary to those of today’s anarchists. Deaths of dedicated police officers, in many cases fathers with young children, who have become the targets of a bitter hatred that only warped minds can understand.
Probably the most surprising aspect of the 1619 Project and other leftist philosophies is the rapidity by which they have been embraced by educators.
It will be interesting to see if President Trump goes through with his promise to eliminate funding for public school districts that include the 1619 Project in their curriculum. It does not seem logical that most Americans want their tax money spent for hokum topics like the 1619 Project.
Don Ellzey gets email at donellzey @hotmail.com