Don’t Teach Lies In History Class [Updated]

[Update]I heard from friends on the School Board that Loudoun is not going to be using the textbook at issue. It’s a supplementary text issued by the state that localities can use at their option. Loudoun is going to decline to use it until and unless it is corrected to fix the factual errors the article points out.

LCPS has put out a statement regarding this book, the full text of which is available if you click through.


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. – The Washington Post

The Loudoun County Public Schools should IMMEDIATELY suspend use of this text book (if they’re allowed to under the Dillon Rule). This is inexcusable and obnoxious. Using a known neo-confederate, white supremacist organization like the Sons of the Confederate Veterans as a source for an elementary school history textbook is the height of fraudulent reinterpretation of historical events.And it is fraudlent.

Masoff said one of her sources was Ervin Jordan, a University of Virginia historian who said he has documented evidence — in the form of 19th-century newspapers and personal letters — of some African Americans fighting for the Confederacy. But in an interview, Jordan said the account in the fourth-grade textbook went far beyond what his research can support.

“There’s no way of knowing that there were thousands,” Jordan said. “And the claim about Jackson is totally false. I don’t know where that came from.” – The Washington Post

The Post article takes a “blame the Internet” view of the research, pointing out that the author of the book relied on Internet searches for their information. Personally, I blame the person who thought that relying on an Internet search, instead of proven scholarship, was a good idea when writing a text book.

Do not teach lies in history class. There were no battalions of black soldiers under Stonewall Jackson. That is simply a lie. This book should be disqualified from our classrooms on that basis.

[Update] Here is the full text of the LCPS statement on this book.

LCPS Suspends Use of Fourth Grade Social Sciences Text

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) has suspended the use of the state-approved fourth grade social sciences text “Our Virginia: Past and Present.”

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) told the state’s school divisions Wednesday that text did not meet its standards.

“The Virginia Department of Education is advising the commonwealth’s 132 school divisions that the statement in ‘Our Virginia: Past and Present’ about black Confederate soldiers is outside accepted Civil War scholarship and does not reflect the content of the commonwealth’s academic standards,” VDOE Director of Communications Charles B. Pyle said in a statement on this subject.

LCPS used “Our Virginia: Past and Present” as a supplemental text. Its use will be suspended until VDOE reviews the text and issues corrections and supplements.

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