Virginia textbook claims thousands of black Confederate soldiers

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October 20, 2010

9:22 AM

A new textbook distributed to Virginia’s public elementary schools last month teaches that thousands of African Americans faught for the Confederacy during the Civil War, a claim disputed by nearly all historians. The author of “Our Virginia: Past and Present,” Joy Masoff, is not a trained historian. She attributed the information about black Confederates to several Internet sources endorsed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

College of William and Mary Professor Carol Sheriff found the claim in her daughter’s copy of the textbook.
“It’s disconcerting that the next generation is being taught history based on an unfounded claim instead of accepted scholarship,” she said. “It concerns me not just as a professional historian but as a parent.”

The information in question is contained in a single sentence: “Thousands of Southern blacks fought in the Confederate ranks, including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson.” This passage and the entire textbook was approved by the Virginia Department of Education.

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