Sociologist, Dr. James Loewen, was a guest speaker at Constructing Modern Knowledge twice, in 2010 and 2018. Loewen is also the author of some of the most popular and influential history books of the past twenty years, including:
- Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
- The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The “Great Truth” about the “Lost Cause”
- Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks and Get Students Excited About Doing History
- Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong
- Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism
Civil Rights, Culture Wars: The Fight over a Mississippi Textbook tells the story of how Loewen and Sallis, one a professor at historically Black college and the other a professor at the predominantly White college in Jackson, Mississippi spent the early 1970s writing a multicultural 9th grade history textbook, Mississippi: Conflict and Change. They enlisted local teachers and college students to author a more accurate and inclusive textbook as an alternative to the white male supremacy found in the existing texts. Despite its acclaim, the State of Mississippi refused to authorize their textbook for use in Mississippi schools. So, Loewen and Sallis sued the state in a case they won nearly six years after the textbook’s publication. The American Library Association listed the lawsuit as one of a dozen cases that undergirds Americans’ “right to read” today.
The publisher says the following about the new book.
In Civil Rights, Culture Wars: The Fight over a Mississippi Textbook, “Charles W. Eagles explores the story of the controversial ninth-grade history textbook and the court case that allowed its adoption with state funds. Mississippi: Conflict and Change and the struggle for its acceptance deepen our understanding both of civil rights activism in the movement’s last days and of an early controversy in the culture wars that persist today.”
I’ve begun reading the book and highly recommend it.
I also just discovered that there is a new edition of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong adapted for 12 to 18 year-old readers by Rebecca Stefoff, the acclaimed nonfiction children’s writer who adapted Howard Zinn’s bestselling series A People’s History of the United States for young readers.
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Young Readers’ Edition: Everything American History Textbooks Get Wrong is now available as well. I just ordered my copy!