She survived Hitler and wants to warn America – On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

I prepared this re-blog in August last year and then completely forgot about it. Since then, of course, Donald Trump has become the President.

Austrian kids loyal to Hitler

Kitty Werthmann survived Hitler. “What I am about to tell you is something you’ve probably never heard or read in history books,” she likes to tell audiences. “I am a witness to history.  “I cannot tell you that Hitler took […]

Source: She survived Hitler and wants to warn America – On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

The Anti-Slavery Alphabet: 1846 Book Teaches Kids the ABCs of Slavery’s Evils | Open Culture

Frequently, I see stories in the education news reporting on a textbook company, school board, or curriculum attempting to minimize or erase the history of slavery in the United States. One recent example made national news: a textbook published by McGraw-Hill that described the Atlantic slave trade as bringing “millions of workers from Africa to the United States to work on agricultural plantations.”

Roni Dean-Burren—mother of the student who noticed the “error” and herself an educator—pointed out, writes NPR, that “while the book describes many Europeans immigrating as indentured servants,” there was “no mention in this lesson of Africans forced to the U.S. as slaves.” It’s pretty egregiously bad historical framing; describing slaves as migrant “workers” is at best gross understatement and at worst…

Source: The Anti-Slavery Alphabet: 1846 Book Teaches Kids the ABCs of Slavery’s Evils | Open Culture

Lenin’s Wife | toritto

Everyone knows of Lenin.  His body is still on display in the great Kremlin square, once known as Red Square, for those with a bit of ghoulishness in their souls to see.  His name and statues have been taken down everywhere in Russia and just about everywhere else as well.  He has been written out of history kind of like Pharaoh Akhenaten’s name was chiseled off of Egyptian walls.

Yet his body is still there on display.Yes, every one, save perhaps our current crop of high school kids drudging their way through what is euphemistically known as the public educational system, knows something of Lenin.

Few however, outside of left wingers, communists and historians know of Lenin’s wife – or even that he had a wife.

Nadezhda “Nadya” Krupskaya was Lenin’s wife – and Nadya was a revolutionary to the

Source: Lenin’s Wife | toritto

New Statesman | “Hunger, filth, fear and death”: remembering life before the NHS

Originally posted in the New Statesman

Over 90 years ago, I was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, to a working-class family. Poverty was as natural to us as great wealth and power were to the aristocracy of that age. Like his father and grandfather before him, my dad, Albert, eked out a meagre existence as a miner, working hundreds of feet below the surface, smashing the rock face with a pickaxe, searching for coal.

Hard work and poor wages didn’t turn my dad into a radical. They did, however, make him an idealist, because he believed that a fair wage, education, trade unions and universal suffrage were the means to a prosperous democracy. He endured brutal working conditions but they never hardened his spirit against his family or his comrades in the pits. Instead, the harsh grind of work made his soul as gentle as a beast of burden that toiled in desolate fields for the profit of others.

My mother, Lillian, however, was made of sterner stuff. She understood that brass, not love, made the world go round. So when a midwife with a love of gin and carbolic soap delivered me safely on a cold winter’s night in February 1923 into my mum’s exhausted arms, I was swaddled in her rough-and-ready love, which toughened my skin with a harsh affection. I was the first son but I had two elder sisters who had already skinned their knees and elbows in the mad fight to stay alive in the days before the social safety network. Later on, our family would include two half-brothers, after my mother was compelled to look for a more secure provider than my dad during the Great Depression.

By the time I was weaned from my mother’s breast, I had begun to learn the cruel lessons that the world inflicted on its poor. At the age of seven, my eldest sister, Marion, contracted tuberculosis, which was a common and deadly disease for those who lived hand to mouth in early 20th century Britain. Her illness was directly spawned from our poverty, which forced us to live in a series of fetid slums.

Despite being a full-time worker, my dad was always one pay packet away from destitution. Several times, my family did midnight flits and moved from one decre­pit single-bedroom tenement to…

via New Statesman | “Hunger, filth, fear and death”: remembering life before the NHS.

The Death of History

This post says everything I believe is wrong about history getting eradicated or so completely distorted that people never learn from the mistakes of the past. As my strap line says, ‘How can we improve our future if we don’t understand the past?’

History, as seen through my eyes.

I won’t need to cite any sources on this one, this is coming straight from my heart. History is dying right in front of our eyes. It pains me to see that people want to remove history simply because they don’t like it. Forget about the fact, for a second, that people have been taught a warped history about the Civil War, and focus on what this means in the big picture. NOT teaching about ALL aspects of history helps to remove the freedom of choice. Teaching about one aspect of something, that something being the North’s point of view only, removes your freedom of choice to choose.

Removing any bit of history is removing the truth from the minds of the people. The truth is what is being suppressed in the long run. Lies and deceit will reign supreme in a land where truth is removed based on personal…

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Cast Across the Sea: 18th c. Children Born in India, Raised in Britain

I’ve already heard from a couple of readers who have wondered why the sickly young heroine of my new book, A Sinful Deception, was sent all the way from India, where she was born, to relatives she’d never met in London. Considering the perils (shipwreck, pirates, war) of a voyage that took the better part of a year in the 18th c., wouldn’t it have been safer for her to remain in India?

Perhaps. But India, too, was an unhealthy place for Europeans, and it was notoriously true that many failed to survive two monsoons, or two years. Yet for English parents of means living in India, the strongest reason for sending their children half a world away was an almost desperate desire that they be raised as English, attending English schools with English customs and friends.

This was a serious (and costly) step. Often the parents never saw their children again, or at least not for many years. But despite how deeply my heroine’s father had embraced India, he still wished her to return to London and ultimately marry an English gentleman.

One of the saddest (to me, anyway) examples of a family torn asunder in this way is described in…

Continue reading: Two Nerdy History Girls: Cast Across the Sea: 18th c. Children Born in India, Raised in Britain.

The History Girls: Lest We Forget… by Clare Mulley

I was appalled to hear this month that cuts to the Imperial War Museum budget mean that access to the library and archives, which were hugely important during my research for Krystyna’s biography, is now going to be severely restricted if not closed, and the school education packages may be stopped. I find it incredible that, at this time of remembrance in particular, we can even consider risking losing one of the most important repositories of these stories. If you feel the same, please take a moment to sign the petition against these cuts, so that we can continue to remember, honour and consider, in an informed way.

via The History Girls: Lest We Forget… by Clare Mulley.

Revisited Myth #33: It was against the law to teach African-Americans, enslaved or free, to read and write.

History Myths Debunked

Photo courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Photo courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Well . . . it depends on the colony (or the state) and the year.

During the colonial period in Virginia, no laws prohibited teaching slaves to read. In fact, Samuel Davies, a Presbyterian minister, worked hard to bring books and education to Virginia slaves in the middle of the 1700s. Not only was it legal, there were some free schools set up to teach African-American children. In Williamsburg, Virginia, Mrs. Ann Wager operated a school for black children from 1760 until her death in 1774. A widowed teacher, she was hired to instruct young slave children by the Bray Associates, a group of English philanthropists who paid the expenses. The Bray School, as it was called, existed specifically to “instruct Negro Children in the Principles of the Christian Religion.”

There were other Bray Schools, one in Philadelphia that Benjamin Franklin praised for…

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6 Ridiculous Lies About the Founding of America


For instance …

#6. The Indians Weren’t Defeated by White Settlers

The Myth:

Our history books don’t really go into a ton of detail about how the Indians became an endangered species. Some warring, some smallpox blankets and … death by broken heart?

When American Indians show up in movies made by conscientious white people like Oliver Stone, they usually lament having their land taken from them. The implication is that Native Americans died off like a species of tree-burrowing owl that couldn’t hack it once their natural habitat was paved over.
But if we had to put the whole Cowboys and Indians battle in a Hollywood log line, we’d say the Indians put up a good fight, but were no match for the white man’s superior technology. As surely as scissors cuts paper and rock smashes scissors, gun beats arrow. That’s just how it works.

This is all the American history you’ll ever need…

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