Peter Galuszka: The Dodgy World of Southern History

Roundup: Media's Take

[Peter Galuszka, a writer for Bacon's Rebellion, has been writing about Virginia politics and business since 1975. Now a freelance journalist living in the Richmond area, he has been executive editor of Virginia Business magazine and a reporter at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He also spent 18 years at the McGraw-Hill Companies, including 15 years writing for BusinessWeek.]

Popular histories about the Confederate States of America can be dodgy, as a recent controversy over a school textbook approved for Virginia fourth-graders shows....

I am not a Southern by background but have lived a good part of my life in the South. One still cannot escape what some whites wish could have been.

I now live near Richmond, whose beautiful Monument Avenue is marked by traffic circles guarded by giant statues of Jackson, Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart. Some 100,000 Confederate veterans attended the unveiling of Lee's statue on May 29, 1890. Granted, the real history of these men can be a bit gray (no pun intended). Jackson, for instance, broke state law by illegally teaching black children to read and write at Sunday school classes when he was at Virginia Military Institute before the war, according to a biography by noted historian James I. Robertson Jr....

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