As readers of this blog will know, I spent the last sixteen years of my half-century-long teaching career as a Professor in the W . E. B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I had the pleasure and the very great honor of serving for twelve years as the Graduate Program Director of that department's ground-breaking doctoral program. I told the story of that experience in my 2005 book Autobiography of an Ex-White Man [the title is a play on that of a famous novel by James Weldon Johnson.] The first chapter recounts my experiences in my new department, but in the second and third chapters, I undertake to describe in detail how my understanding of the story of America was transformed by those experiences. The second chapter is devoted entirely to an examination of three of the most successful and widely used American History college textbooks, written by the most distinguished members of the History profession. By tracing the revisions, edition by edition, in the treatment of slavery, I demonstrated that the original distorted and celebratory account of the Peculiar Institution remained as the central flaw in those texts -- and in America's understanding of itself -- despite the efforts by the authors to soften or revise their original misunderstandings of America. Since those misunderstandings persist to the present day, I think it might be worth reproducing the chapter here as a series of posts. [The book, I might say, sold almost no copies and attracted virtually no readers, so this would be, for me, an exercise in resurrection, as it were.]
The chapter is 12,600 words long, and would probably take at least four days to post. Is there any interest in this? Indeed, is there any stomach for it? Or would I simply be driving folks away until I returned to more popular topics.