Keeping It Honest: Getting It Wrong

One of the most interesting things about being a historian of the era of the American Civil War is that you encounter so many people who present themselves as knowledgeable about the war, the scholarship about the war, and the people who write about history.  Sometimes those folks even present themselves as knowledgeable about both your skills as a scholar and your motivations.

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Keeping It Honest: What Did Ed Bearss Say?

Today I introduce a new feature at Crossroads: “Keeping It Honest.”  The title (which may be subject to change) is adapted from a feature on Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN, although I’ve replaced the “them” with “it.”  I’m still toying around with other labels.

This week, we look at a quote from Ed Bearss, who served as Chief Historian of the National Park Service from 1981 to 1994.  The following statement is often attributed to him:

I don’t want to call it a conspiracy to ignore the role of Blacks both above and below the Mason-Dixon line, but it was definitely a tendency that began around 1910.

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