‘Revisionist’ history

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Local Voices

Frank Fetters

It seems ironic that on our first observance of the JUNETEENTH holiday, many people are calling the revelations of many people about the history of race relations in America “revisionist” history. I offer this JUNETEENTH information from a JUNETEENTH website in response to what was written by Mr. Malkas because I find it factual:

Scroll down particularly to the section that says “White Lies My Textbooks Taught Me.”

I have one more thing I want to offer regarding “revisionist” history:

The phrase itself seems to have a pejorative meaning, creating the impression that what was reported first was the truth, and therefore what follows must be a lie. I want to describe the reasons why this may not be accurate:

  1. All truth, all details, all facts exist in and of themselves.

  2. A fact does not gain significance until it is observed. Once it is observed, the observer may offer an opinion or a judgement concerning the veracity and the value of what was observed.

  3. If the initial opinion concerning that fact is a lie, the subsequent value judgement WILL, in fact, be the truth.

As I said in my previous response to Mr. Malkas’ report, George Washington was a Founding Father, and he owned slaves. Further, it is a historical fact that 41 of the 56 people who signed the Declaration of Independence owned slaves at one time or another. And of the slave owners who later renounced slavery, one of them NEVER set his own slaves free! I would also submit that everything identified as a “White Lie” in “White Lies My Textbooks Taught Me” was identified correctly.

Thank you for your time.

Respectfully submitted,
Frank Fetters


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6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Frank, thank you very much for your research and time you have contributed to this very sensitive and personal subject. Knowing the truth about our history is a prerequisite to a better understanding of our culture, thinking, and future.

  2. I would be happy to send you a copy of David Barton’s book, American History in Black & White if you give me an address,
    Let me just quote a paragraph from it.
    A similar omission occurs when the signers of the Declaration of Independence are discussed. For example, if asked to list the slave-owning Founding Fathers among its Signers, no one would hesitate to name Thomas Jefferson. But if asked to name a second slave-owner from among the 56, few other names would be mentioned. And if asked to name the anti-slavery leaders who signed the Declaration, probably no one would mention Samuel Adams-or Steven Hopkins, or Benjamin Rush, or Elbridge Gerry, or James Wilson , or John Adams, or Roger Sherman, or Benjamin Franklin, or John Witherspoon, or many other anti-slavery Founders. (To identify these individuals, see illustration on next page.)
    I thank you for keeping the discussion going. Note that the pro-slave people were from the southern states

  3. I’m sorry. 41 of 56 strikes me as a number that is larger than a “few”. And it says “Note that the pro-slave” people were from the southern states. Slave labor was employed above the Mason-Dixon in the earliest days. In fact, Harlem was actually built by slave labor.

    Also, the implication is not clear in this qoute from Barton’s book. The “no one would mention” team that he provides. I know that Benjamin Franklin owned slaves. Did the others own slaves as well?

    Others will need to keep this this thread going, because I do not have the time to research and report further on this topic. I simply have too much to do.

    Frank Fetters

  4. Dear Mr. Malkas:

    I want to reply respectfully to your message. I don’t think the book you recommended will help me very much. Even the sample you provided seems to me to be more opinion than fact. One thing I forgot to say about Critical Race Theory is that it is a THEORY, to be examined and disputed or accepted by comparing information about current and past realities. But what I am reading instead when I check out commentaries on the national level regarding Critical ace Theories is that most of the criticism of CRT is about name-calling and not offering alternative theories. Sincere people who want to explain how oppressed people feel and why, I’m sure, they want to start a dialogue so we can understand how to make things better for everyone. One area where people have been critical of CRT is the coursework that has been done in America’s classrooms is to arbitrarily divide the classroom up into two groups, one that has full privileges and another that doesn’t. the idea is to teach those who do not belong a racial, ethnic or gender-based minority how to empathize with their struggles and, by doing so, understand how it feels to be in their shoes. Many white parents get upset by this because, to be isolated and oppressed in this way causes their children to traumatized. I get that. But please consider how this must be for people who fall into these oppressed categories. They feel this every day in one form or another. And I felt it myself when I was pulled over at night because I had a suntan back in December of 1962. To form a more perfect union, we need to make everybody equal partners under the Constitution. I feel that we cannot continue as a democratic nation if we do not understand how to make it better for everyone. I also want to say that my time is very limited these days, so that is another reason why I will not take you up your generous offer.

    Be well, and thank you for your feedback.

  5. I don’t think you could realize how much I appreciate the opportunity to discuss U.S. history issues with other Lansing residents.
    I found a copy of Juneteenth-White lies Textbooks Taught Me.
    I found no documentation for what the author is ascertaining. They are opinions of the author, similar to the 1619 Project.
    Barton’s book is supported by a 11 page bibliography.
    I was most offended by Shirley William’s statement that Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was a rapist.
    She must have some documentation to support such a charge.
    I would refer her to another Barton book. The Jefferson Lies-Exploring the Myths You’ve always Believe about Thomas Jefferson.
    It explains the history behind TJ and the Sally Hemings.
    Barton provides 30 pages of documentation to support his findings.
    I will certainly admit that I was wrong if you can name the 41 signers of the Declaration of Independence who had slaves at one time
    You do have one up on me if you can explain how slave labor built Harlem

  6. Clearly, I have to apologize. You are correct. Although I found a statement earlier on the Internet that said slave labor helped build Harlem, I found no corroborating evidence. For this I apologize. Harlem, at its inception, was mostly farmland. Then, around 1880, row houses and other domiciles were built there. There is no documentation I can find that verifies who built what. So I have no proof of that.

    Sincerely,

    Frank Fetters

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