Freddy, I have borrowed this from another thread in hopes of having a separate discussion on it here. What I would like to examine is how exaggeration is used in portraying historic events, and how that impacts current day politics. The specific line that I am commenting on is...
It was the British Department of Education that was reporting on individual teachers who failed to teach history about the Holocaust. It was not that the teachers did not know about the Holocaust, it was that they did not want to be confronted by students who may object to the truth about the Holocaust. Those teachers need to find a new career! I teach history and I never would allow the truth to be hidden from my students. Perhaps some graphic details do not need to be presented. Teaching them that 11 million people, including 5-7 million Jews, were murdered by Hitler and the Nazis is basic historical fact that must be included. My students are taught about the Native American holocaust 1607-1890 and the 400 years of African American slavery. Besides it all is part of MA curriculum and must be taught. Also included is the Hidden Holocaust, where Japan invaded Manchuria, Manchuko, China, The Philippines, and Southeast Asia and proceeded to murder countless millions, more than twice as many as the Nazis did.
There is no doubt that slavery existed in the United States and that the practice was barbaric. But 400 years is flat out wrong.
the 400 years of African American slavery.
Here are some facts for the conversation…
400 years of slavery is the number I always hear. Yet Columbus was in 1492, and Emancipation Proclamation was in 1863. My math has that at 371 years. My research shows the first African slaves coming to the colonies around 1619. That makes 244 years. Calculate to the ratification of the 13th Amendment and you get 246 years. That still splits the burden between the British government and the colonies. From the ratification of the Constitution in 1789 to the ratification of the 13th Amendment is 76 years. Disgraceful, but less than the 400 years proclaimed by activists. In fact there have only been 388 actual years since the first slaves arrived in the Colonies in 1619 (assuming slavery was still being practiced to this very day).
So my question is, where does the "400 years of slavery" come from? What is the purpose of exaggerating historical facts such as this one? Doesn't it serve to build distrust of the historical institutions that perpetuate that information, opening the door for legitimizing arguments like holocaust denial?