WXXI AM News

Connections: Harriet Tubman And How We Teach American History

Aug 5, 2016

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson did not know who Harriet Tubman was, according to the New Yorker magazine. But he's not alone: polls show that many Americans don't know much about Tubman. Why is that?

Moreover, are we failing in teaching parts of our American history? Fox News' Bill O'Reilly recently stressed that while slaves did help build the White House, as First Lady Michelle Obama mentioned in her convention speech, the slaves were well fed and had good lodging. Why would O'Reilly emphasize a part of the slave experience that appears to massage the rough edges? Our guests discuss it:

  • Geraldine Copes-Daniels, great grandniece of Harriet Tubman
  • Catherine Clinton, chair of the American History Department at the University of Texas in San Antonio, and international research professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast
  • Benjamin Lawrance, professor of international studies and director of international and global studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Maggie Moore-Holley, Harriet Tubman re-enactor