Student reading history textbook

A 1920s Lesson for the History Textbook Fight

The struggles of a century ago show that historians need to keep explaining their work and role to the public.

Mildred Rutherford’s War

The “historian general” of the United Daughters of the Confederacy began the battle over the depiction of the South in history textbooks that continues today.
An open textbook.

The Right-Wing Textbooks Shaping What Americans Know

Conservative curricula are being pushed into tax-funded history classrooms.
A mother sits behind a sign reading, "I have a Bible, I don't need those dirty books."

The Great Textbook War

What should children learn in school? It's a question that's stirred debate for decades, and in 1974 it led to violent protests in West Virginia.
Illustration of the Battle of Little Big Horn.

The True History of 'Custer's Last Stand'

We're talking about the Battle of Little Bighorn all wrong.
Black-and-white photograph of black students sitting in a classroom at the Tuskegee Institute.

The Complicity of the Textbooks

A new book traces how the writing of American history, from Reconstruction on, has falsified and illuminated our racial past.
William F. Buckley Jr. in 1958.

When Right-Wing Attacks on School Textbooks Fell Short

Some essential lessons from an earlier culture war.
Postcard of The Rex Float at Mardi Gras Carnival, New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Strange Career of Beautiful Crescent

How an old textbook lodged itself in the heart of New Orleans’ self-mythology.
Class photo, Geyer, Ohio, 1915

Lessons from the History Textbook Wars of the 1920s

A century ago, pundits, special interests, and politicians weighed in on what should and shouldn't be taught in history and social studies courses.
Picture of a map in an old history textbook.

Why Wasn't This in My Textbook?

In both versions of this question, the assumption is that there’s a pure history out there somewhere, perhaps with answers in the appendix.
Women holding protest signs, demonstrating against school materials, 1975

When a Battle to Ban Textbooks Became Violent

In 1974, the culture wars came to Kanawha County, West Virginia, inciting protests over school curriculum.
An American Flag with opening one of the stripes like a door

The Slippery Matter of ‘Truth’ in Patriotic Education

Laws against teaching critical race theory might backfire on Republicans.
Woman with sign protesting textbooks

This Critical Race Theory Panic Is a Chip Off the Old Block

How 20th-century curriculum controversies foreshadowed this summer’s wave of legislation.
The word slavery in a dictionary crossed out

We Found the Textbooks of Senators Who Oppose The 1619 Project and Suddenly Everything Makes Sense

To our surprise, most received a well-rounded education on the history of Black people in America. Just kidding.
Land of Hope Book Cover, which has a painting of buildings and boats

An America Where Everyone Meant Well

Jonathan W. Wilson offers a constructively critical review of Wilfred McClay's American history textbook "Land of Hope."
A student sits in a classroom.

Whose History? AI Uncovers Who Gets Attention in High School Textbooks

Natural language processing reveals huge differences in how Texas history textbooks treat men, women, and people of color.
The cover of the textbook, "Heroes of Our America."

"Heroes of Our America": Reading a "Patriotic" History of the United States

This 1952 textbook serves as an example of the "patriotic history" that Donald Trump grew up with and calls for today.
A history textbook open to a chapter called "How the Negroes Lived Under Slavery," with an illustration of a wealthy white man shaking the hand of a smiling enslaved African American man whose well-dressed family looks on while white laborers work.

The Lies Our Textbooks Told My Generation of Virginians About Slavery

State leaders went to great lengths to instill their gauzy version of the Lost Cause in young minds.

The Problem in the Classroom

Any true reckoning with racism must include our schools.

This One Letter in a Textbook Could Change How Millions of Kids Learn About Race

What the capitalization of "Black" will mean for students and their teachers.