If you teach the history of the American Civil War to students anywhere in the United States, you will almost certainly teach at least a few students who have absorbed Lost Cause mythology. In many parts of the country—and not only in the southern states—most of your white students (or at least their families) will believe in at least part of the Lost Cause story. Indeed, many of them will have received this view from their teachers.
Tackling the mythology head-on will often be wise. But there are also subtler ways we reinforce or challenge the pro-Confederate pattern of thinking, usually without realizing it, and we should address those too.
(This post began as a Twitter thread that became popular yesterday. You may want to read the responses of the many teachers and writers who engaged with it directly.)
Continue reading “How to Reframe the Civil War in the Classroom”