Niman refers to the "whitewashing of American history" in paragraph 15. What does this mean? Think of the history you know. Is it "whitewashed"? Using examples drawn from school, books, or television, explain why you think the history you learned is or is not whitewashed.
When I grew up in Maryland, the Civil War was our neighborhood history. The Antietam Battlefield was just up the road. I had a friend who had a large collection of Civil War bullets he just picked up in fields. When I was in college, I had a summer job at a county park which included one of the safe houses of John Singleton Mosby (nicknamed "The Gray Ghost"), a Confederate guerrilla officer. Because Maryland wasn't quite Southern (being part of the Union) nor quite Union (being south of the Mason-Dixon line), textbook publishers could not quite figure out what to send us, so in any given classroom about half of our textbooks referred to the "Civil War" and about half of them referred to the "War between the States" or sometimes the "War of Southern Succession." More recently, I've heard it referred to as simply the "War of 1861 – 1865." And I had to get to college (in Missouri) to read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: Written by Himself.
A high school kid in Maryland would never have guessed that the Civil War was an attempt to split the country over the issue of slavery, and before I read Douglass (who was, in fact, enslaved in Maryland), I had no clue about the brutality and heartbreak of slavery. Most of my mental images of slavery came from Walt Disney's Song of the South, where Uncle Remus (a slave) cheerfully sings "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah."
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Revised 7/22/20 • Page author: Curtis Allen • e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.