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ERIC Number: EJ824442
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Aug
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
New Views of Slavery: Using Recent Historical Work to Promote Critical Thinking about the "Peculiar Institution"
Olwell, Russell
History Teacher, v34 n4 p459-470 Aug 2001
Most students do not enter college-level history classes knowing much about the history of slavery and race relations. As James Loewen pointed out in his book "Lies My Teacher Told Me," most K-12 history textbooks and classes avoid controversy and therefore steer clear of discussions of slavery and its impact on American history. However, a complex and detailed knowledge of slavery is required to understand the history of North American colonization, the development of America's economy, the secession of the South from the union, and the subsequent Civil War. Additionally, students need to understand that slavery was not a unified, static, unchanging institution: The nature of slavery varied depending on the time and geographic region examined. In this article, the author discusses the difficulties of teaching about slavery, then describes how recent scholarship paints a more complex view of slavery than is usually presented in secondary and college textbooks. He discusses how teachers can integrate this new research into their classroom with a pair of exercises he has developed for a college survey class. The three books the author discusses in this article have all won acclaim for their groundbreaking research and interpretation: (1) Philip D. Morgan's "Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-century Chesapeake and Lowcountry"; (2) Ira Berlin's "Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America"; and (3) Lorena Seebach Walsh's "From Calabar to Carter's Grove: The History of a Virginia Slave Community." He concludes this article with two Internet exercises based on these books that can be used with students. (Contains 8 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A