Then there’s also this:

Yes, it is true that the same systemic problems that make the story of the black women of the space program extraordinary have meant that, in American history, white men have gotten to do more, more visibly. Some of the imbalance can be explained away, but books like Shetterly’s are a reminder that the percentage is a small one. The invisible people were there all along, and what they did was no less necessary to the course of history than the actions of those in power. If you’re still not convinced, I know at least 100 women who’d beg to differ.

Sybil Ludington is not a household name like Paul Revere is, even though she rode further than he did and warned more people about the British. Why? Because he was a somewhat prominent White man and she was a 16 year old girl.

Why didn’t we learn about Robert Smalls in school? He was an incredible hero of the Civil War, with a daring and exciting story. He was also an escaped slave.

It’s not really so much that White men did more, but that they controlled the narrative. Several very good more comprehensive history books have been written lately, such as A People’s History of the United States. It not only tells the stories of more than the usual people, but points out some of the truly terrible things that were done by others (like Andrew Johnson — as illuminated in the OP) that are glossed over in “traditional” history books.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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