Will Trump election mean airbrushed history?

tags: election 2016, Trump

Ron Grossman is a reporter covering the city’s ethnic neighborhoods, among other subjects. Grossman has also covered issues on higher education and has interviewed Arthur Miller and Joseph Heller. Before turning to journalism, Grossman was a professor of history at Lake Forest College, Michigan State University and the University of Nebraska. 

I took the first steps toward becoming a professor of history while learning Chicago's story at Bateman Elementary School on the Northwest Side.

I learned that the city's first permanent resident was Jean Baptiste Point DuSable. The teacher pronounced the name slowly, giving each syllable equal stress, as the French do. DuSable built a cabin on the north bank of the Chicago River, not far from where I'm writing. His wife's refined tastes were reflected in the fine rugs on the cabin floor, the teacher said.

I wasn't told that DuSable was black.

Cleo, the Greek muse of history, was selective in the 1940s. I loved field trips to the Chicago Historical Society, as the museum was then known, but I don't remember learning much about ethnic neighborhoods like Albany Park, where I lived.

There's a link between what school children read and what they aim for in life. I never dreamed of growing up to be president. That was for boys who lived on Astor Street.

Since then, Cleo has grown more expansive. Such developments as the study of women's history, ethnic studies and the commemoration of Black History Month enabled more children to dream big.

Yet I fear that might not continue under President Donald Trump, who courted the vote of resentful white men, advertising his ideas as "not politically correct."

His White House policy advisor Stephen Bannon called feminist leaders "a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England." Is he likely to whisper in Trump's ear: "Don't forget a line item in the education budget for Women's History."

I'd hate to see the arc of history close, having witnessed its slow, painful expansion. Raul Hilberg, one of the top scholars of the Holocaust, once explained to me why I didn't see myself reflected in the history museum or in 1950s textbooks. Jewish history wasn't something that gentlemen scholars then did. ...

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