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CRT: School and Comfort Lies – An Old Battle Continues

Virginia Cavaliers were royalist supporters in the Royal Colony of Virginia. An anonymous pamphlet published in London in 1649 gives a glowing account of Virginia, describing it as a land where "there is nothing wanting," a land of 15,000 English and 300 negro slaves, 20,000 cattle, many kinds of wild animals. Those who responded to the invitation to resettle were the ancestors of George Washington, James Madison, James Monroe, John Marshall, and of many others of the First Families of Virginia.
Unknown engraver (from work by Lyon Gardiner Tyler), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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Virginia Cavaliers were royalist supporters in the Royal Colony of Virginia. An anonymous pamphlet published in London in 1649 gives a glowing account of Virginia, describing it as a land where "there is nothing wanting," a land of 15,000 English and 300 negro slaves, 20,000 cattle, many kinds of wild animals. Those who responded to the invitation to resettle were the ancestors of George Washington, James Madison, James Monroe, John Marshall, and of many others of the First Families of Virginia.

This is Mike Strong, in Hays, for HPPR. The graphic history book is “March” by John Lewis, in a three-book package, as a trilogy. The inspiration to create John Lewis’ “March” as a graphic book trilogy was a 1957 comic book about Martin Luther King. That same year, 1957, the state of Virginia published a work they had commissioned in 1950, a history of Virginia, a textbook to be used in the Virginia schools. Among its topics is slavery in Virginia.

This is Mike Strong, in Hays, for HPPR. The graphic history book is “March” by John Lewis, in a three-book package, as a trilogy. The inspiration to create John Lewis’ “March” as a graphic book trilogy was a 1957 comic book about Martin Luther King. That same year, 1957, the state of Virginia published a work they had commissioned in 1950, a history of Virginia, a textbook to be used in the Virginia schools. Among its topics is slavery in Virginia.

The history book, titled “Cavalier Commonwealth,” teaches that slavery wasn’t so bad. Heck, it was even beneficial to the enslaved. Seven years in preparation and we have a calculated erasure of knowledge and history, the betrayal of knowing how we got to here.

So, a few unvarnished quotes:

“Of course, the slave was not free to change employers, (but) … his condition had its advantages.” … “he enjoyed long holidays, especially at Christmas. He did not work so hard as the average free laborer since he did not have to worry about losing his job. In fact, the slave enjoyed what we might call comprehensive social security. Generally speaking, his food was plentiful, his clothing adequate, his cabin warm, his health protected, his leisure carefree.”

Wow. I might want to sign up. For that matter, a statement like that makes me wonder why those plantation owners didn’t sign up so that they too could get all that “comprehensive social security.” Could be like reverse mortgages, only reverse slaveholders.

This is the kind of history CRT attackers would have us teach. Another quote:

“… the relationship between the two races was governed by much kindness and mutual trust. Both understood that bondage as they knew it was not totally evil; both realized that enslavement in a civilized world had been better in many respects for the Negro than the barbarities he might have suffered in Africa;”

Wow, “enslavement” and “civilized” in the same phrase.

Again, quoting:

“… it was easy for Virginians who found profits in Negro slavery to regard themselves as benefactors of a backward race. Indeed, in some respects they obviously were (benefactors).”

There is a lot more. So much more than we have space here. This 1957 Virginia history book, designed to erase, perfume, and gloss over the ugly history of race in this country, was in use into the late 1970’s. Roughly 20 years.

You might hope this was the last of such textbooks. But in 2016 a World Geography textbook from McGraw Hill stated that the Atlantic slave trade brought “millions of workers,” (note: workers rather than slaves) to the southern US. Then the text wraps those slaves into the mix of “immigrants and their descendants” who formed the US.

Well, at least the 2016 book caught a lot of flak.

*Side Note: Enslaved Africans found themselves transported to the entire western hemisphere, not just what became the US.

One of the most recent assaults on accurate history is the attack on an academic niche subject, CRT, Critical Race Theory – (I still remember CRT as Cathode Ray Tube). I did a few searches for the subject and came up mostly empty. I searched courses at KU. Also, FHSU for “Fort Hays State University CRT program” and got “Missing: crt

At KU, it is in none of the core courses. I did find an invitation to a two-part lecture last year for advanced law students to attend. CRT isn’t a course and apparently not a large topic. Not that the lack of existing courses in CRT matters. The attackers claim any mention of diversity and equality is the same thing as CRT. That moving-the-bar response means that CRT, as such, is not a real concern, but only a stalking horse, a symbol in a scatter-gun fight for wide-spectrum political dominance.

This is Mike Strong, in Hays, for HPPR Radio Readers Book Club.

REFERENCES

Organized Threat to Public Education “The Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door” (book 17 Nov 2020)https://bookshop.org/books/a-wolf-at-the-schoolhouse-door-the-dismantling-of-public-education-and-the-future-of-school/9781620974940

Parental Rights: Christian Fringe to organized effort – 12 Jan 2022 https://www.salon.com/2022/01/12/parental-rights-started-on-the-christian-fringe--now-its-the-gops-winning-issue/

Obsession with parents’ rights – Dec 9, 2021 https://newrepublic.com/article/164648/gop-obsession-parents-rights

The Manhattan Institute’s model legislation – a major coordinator of Astro turf “A Model for Transparency in School Curriculum” (HTML and PDF links) https://www.manhattan-institute.org/transparency-school-training-curriculum

https://media4.manhattan-institute.org/sites/default/files/MI_rufo_copland_ketcham_model_legislation.pdf

Commentary attacking public schools, saying Asians want Charters https://nypost.com/2022/03/19/asian-parents-want-more-charter-schools-available-to-their-kids/

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Spring Read 2022: Graphic Novels—Worth a Thousand Words 2022 Spring ReadHPPR Radio Readers Book Club
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