Monday, July 6, 2020

What Else is History Hiding?

No doubt, history is written by the winners. Who knows how many cultures have been eliminated or exterminated, without even a footnote in history? I suppose we will never know.

Winners write the history, but sometimes the other story gets told, even if it takes hundreds of years. In some cases, zealots want to rewrite history to support a specific bias. Other times, sincere students of history take a second look at the facts and find that important truths have been conveniently overlooked. 

  • The end of World War II looks much different from a Russian vs. American perspective. 
  • I wonder if anyone really knows what happened at the First Thanksgiving.
  • The great explorer Christopher Columbus had both noble and savage motives in his exploration.
  • The causes of the American Civil War included states' rights, but the rights in question were directly and indirectly tied to slavery.
  • The contributions of African Americans to the progress and culture of our nation are much more significant than I ever knew.
  • The treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government has been horrifying and abusive: from taking land to massacres to forced exile.

These and other shameful episodes in American history don't need to be the lens through which we see America. But they also don't need to be entirely ignored or dismissed. Only when we acknowledge our mistakes can we begin to strive for real justice. We don't need to wallow in the muck of the past, but we dare not excuse it or ignore it.

I do wonder what else history is hiding. I have so much to learn.