Our Virginia: Past and Present Texbook Includes ‘Misrepresentation’ of Civil War History

By Maryann Yin Comment

Fourth graders in a Virginia elementary school were given Our Virginia: Past and Present, a history book claiming that thousands of African-Americans fought as Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

The Washington Post reported: “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. Scholars are nearly unanimous in calling these accounts of black Confederate soldiers a misrepresentation of history.”

Despite the dissent, Masoff stood by what she wrote. She admitted that the portion in question came primarily through Internet research. In an effort to defend its book, publisher Five Ponds Press sent three of Masoff’s Internet links to the Washington Post.

Re-enactment societies sometimes include this element in an effort to diminish the involvement of slavery.

Accurate portrayal of historical events has always been a touchy subject. History textbooks have been accused of doing a poor portrayal job by sociologist, James W. Loewen. He published the book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong on September 3rd 1996.