Re: Should We Admit We're Getting History Wrong?

I said that I had posted my final comment on this issue. But seeing that Paul and David have been put into the position of trying to clarify the confusion I provoked, I will make one more stab at articulating my point about BROWN’s relation to PLESSY.

As the discussion of Lois’s initial post developed, I sensed a consensus that, collectively, professionally trained historians do a relatively good job of correcting previous misinterpretations. I agree, but I also thought that it was worth noting examples when some misunderstandings persist even with specialists.

Re: Should We Admit We're Getting History Wrong?

Dear All, 

If I might, I’d like to venture a few of my own takeaways from the discussion to date as a means of suggesting that it isn’t quite so disconnected or fatuous. In fact, there are a number of points that speak to Lois’s concerns, if sometimes indirectly. As always, pardon my love of bullet points.

 

Re: Should We Admit We're Getting History Wrong?

I have no idea what Brook means by this, or what Lofgren meant. "Charles Lofgren's THE PLESSY CASE: A LEGAL-HISTORICAL INTERPETATION. Lofgren carefully researched Supreme Court history and found that only one case had officially been overturned as unconstitutional." I also have not idea what Lofgren meant by "unconstitutional." Or what Brook means? Does he mean the decision itself was "unconstitutional" which in effect is an impossibility, since a Court decision cannot be unconstitutional.

Re: Should We Admit We're Getting History Wrong?

I tend to think that this is less complicated than we are making it. All history is at best a fuzzy approximation of reality and while we might strive to focus it as best as possible, we never quite manage. There's no shame or problem in a straightforward acknowledgment of that situation -- the value of history is not in its perfectly accurate rendition of the past, it's in the careful delineation of the past as best as possible *with* the sources and methods of that delineation mentioned and marked. The binary reduction of "right vs.

Re: Should We Admit We're Getting History Wrong?

After reading Lois's latest contribution, let me say that the blog is a conversation that develops points made in replies; my replies generally have been to comments by Dave and Brook because I don’t have a problem with many of the points Lois has made.  I think she misunderstands me, for which I take the blame.

Re: Should We Admit We're Getting History Wrong?

I agreed with much of Brook Thomas’s discussion of myth and fact in Reconstruction historiography, although I’d quibble with him on some, and on others the distinctions make little difference (surely not to African Americans as to whether federal troops went to their barracks or left the state).  On "myth" and the Lost Cause, I suggest Gary Gallagher's discussion of the factual underpinning for Lost Cause mythmaking about Lee and others, in his "Shaping Public Memory of the Civil War: Robert E. Lee, Jubal A.

Re: Should We Admit We're Getting History Wrong?

Sorry for the very tardy intercession, but serving as department chair, sitting on the faculty senate, and teaching an overload for a colleague who has been struck down by long Covid is not conducive . . . to anything. Since I have been quoted--a truly rare event--I thought I would make a couple of observations about the "completeness" (for lack of a better word) of historical work. My sources are not nearly so elevated as those that have already been quoted in this thread, but David encouraged me to post.

Subscribe to RSS - historical accuracy