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Asiah Thompson

Asiah Thompson

Dr. Muhammad


18 December 2017

American History Without the Lies

In Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White author David Barton

suggests that the treatment of African Americans was evil and unlawful. Barton displays the struggles, suppression and triumphs of the African American heritage as we continuously attempt to surpass the suppressive nature forced upon us. Written in 2004 author Barton emphasized the untold, yet significant, stories of how we have developed as a culture and inspires us over a decade later to continuously progress together. Barton does include some bias but he utilizes textual evidence to further affirm his position. Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White contains much needed historical information and considered critically acclaimed eye-opener.

Author David Barton, founder of WallBuilders has numerous best-selling works centered

around American heroes who receive little recognition for the work they have done to better the world. WallBuilders is an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten heroes and history in various informative ways while still emphasizing moral and religious values. David Barton was born January 28, 1954 in Aledo in Parker County, Texas, and was raised to become an Evangelical Christian. Barton was the vice chairman to the Republican Texas party and endorsed senator Ted Cruz in the 2016 race. Barton is a self-taught historian and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious education from Oral Roberts University in 1976.

Although David Barton is a very acclaimed author he has received some backlash

primarily for speaking at two 1991 speeches Barton gave to groups linked to the racist and anti-Semitic “Christian Identity” movement but Barton rebutted with a lawsuit for defamation of character. The two white supremacist rallies are said to not define Barton and Bell-Metereau and Jennings failed to have the case dismissed in the Texas Supreme Court where they soon settled the case before trail in July 2014. Bell-Metereau and Jennings Paid Barton $1 million dollars and issued an apology “We understand that this statement suggested that David Barton is a white supremacist, and that the two organizations he is affiliated with, WallBuilder Presentations, Inc. and WallBuilders L.L.C., were associated with or supportive of white supremacists. After learning more about Mr. Barton, we realize this statement was false. We separately and jointly apologize to Mr. Barton for damage to him individually and to his two organizations as a result of that statement.” Barton has also received criticism for allegedly falsifying information in his books “books have been picked apart time and again and exposed as fallacious.” s aid W.S. Smith, but yet again the Texas courts ruled these claims false and defamatory.

While reading this text the central message would be that African Americans have been a

contributing factor to the American welfare and not only through the systematic events of slavery but also through philosophy, war and climbing the seemingly overbearing hierarchy that is the U.S government. It would be safe to assume that Barton’s thesis would be along the lines of “Despite such extensive works, many of our early black heroes and patriots are unknown today; and equally unknown is much of what occurred in black political history… based on indisputable facts and documents.” (Barton pg.6) David Barton not only tells the stories of many African Americans but also utilizes historical context to comment on the downplaying of blacks throughout history. Barton thoroughly highlights events that defined African Americans and strengthened the cultural rebirth of the African American culture.

The American Revolution was a colonial revolt that took place between 1765 and 1783.

The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain, becoming the United States of America. African Americans were a critical part in the revolution. They battled at Fort Ticonderoga and the Battle of Bunker Hill. A slave helped push Washington over the Delaware. Somewhere in the range of 5,000 free blacks and slaves served in the Continental armed force amid the Revolution. Famous figures such as Oliver Cromwell and Prince Whipple we’re both patriots who fought alongside George Washington and other generals during the Revolution. “ Few Americans are aware that many soldiers who fought during the American Revolution were black – and unlike the later segregated regiments in the Civil War, many units in the American Revolution were fully integrated.” (Barton pg.5) Blacks fought on both sides for the mere promise of freedom, though many were once again enslaved after the war was over. Other honorable mentions that Barton makes include James Armistead, and Peter Salem. Armistead was an African American patriot spy who made the victory of Yorktown in 1781 possible. Salem fought in many legendary battles including that of Bunker Hill; Salem was also a legendary Minuteman and has a monument in Massachusetts but is still of the lesser known soldiers of the American Revolution.

One of the greatest tragedies facing African American heritage was the implementation

of slavery. Slavery alludes to a condition in which people are claimed by others, who control where they live and at what they work. Subjection had already existed all through history, in commonly and generally the old Greeks, the Romans, Incas and Aztecs all had slaves. The American was of slavery was not different the enslaved another race and years later continued to oppress and abuse that race absorbing all power and losing sight of true moral. The African American history is one of great oppression and even greater triumph. Barton begins the discussion of slavery with the lesser known landing in Massachusetts where Christian pilgrims and puritan officers arrested the slave ship officers who imprisoned and kidnapped slaves and returned them to Africa. Slaves built an entire nation and still go unrecognized after being forcefully brought to a foreign country and continuously overlooked.

The 13th amendment, a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery passed by Congress

land 137 of its members toward the end of the Civil War. Contributing to the 137 were all 118 Republicans and 19 of the 82 Democrats. The first permanent effort to end slavery had finally taken action. Rev. Henry Garnet was then asked to speak in the halls of Congress [L]et the verdict of death which has been brought in against slavery by Congress be affirmed and executed by the people. Let the gigantic monster perish… God Himself has pleaded against it. It’s death warrant is signed by God and man.”(Barton pg.41) Garnet not only came to the notion that the aspect of slavery was not only wrong in the eyes of God, but that abolishing slavery through paperwork was only one action that must be taken; from that point on all people must treat slavery as the true, possessive evil that it had become and always was. Another aspect of Garnets sermon that held a powerful impact was his usage of “die” as if slavery had been alive. Through contextual analysis one could assume that slavery in-fact can be compared to a parasite, feeding off of the good aspects of human nature and relaying those efforts to maintain a civil society into the true essence of evil and corruption. The end of slavery was soon met with a much anticipated response of unacceptable violence and even forms of what is known as “systematic slavery”.

The end of slavery gave rise to a new era and this war was highlighted by the brutality of

the Ku Klux Klan who were allegedly branching from the Democratic Party. The Ku Klux Klan targeted blacks but also other Republicans, attempting to keep Republicans and African Americans alike from voting. Former slaves were recognized as free but were Still denied full Civil right especially in most southern states.The American Civil War preserved the Union and freed the slaves. Congress then passed the 14th amendment giving all former slaves civil rights and making them citizens in the state of which they reside. This new era also called for the first seven black senators Hiram Revels, Benjamin Turner, Robert De Large, Josiah Walls, Jefferson Long, Joseph Rainey, and Robert Elliot. The last triumph in this series of oppression would be the passing of the 15th amendment giving all people the right to vote and prohibiting any group from dishonoring those rights that were granted to African Americans by the constitution. The American Civil War preserved the Union and freed the slaves.

However, during Reconstruction, a lack of political focus on the effort failed to solve the

sectional wounds, and the elimination of the freed slaves’ newly gained civil liberties failed to bring about long-term racial integration. By 1875 Republicans had successfully passed over two-dozen civil rights bills and African Americans greeted the bills with great rejoice, but not one Democrat voted for the bills to be passed. Democrats and Klan members alike met the passing of these bills with great disapproval taking control of the U.S. House in 1876 to further block the progress of the passing of civil rights bills. This marked the end of Reconstruction as Democrats removes all federal troops from the South under President Rutherford B. Hayes, also removing the only protective barrier between African Americans and those seeking to violate their new-found rights. Some Democrats even went as far as to invite blacks to vote but sat beside the ballot box to assure they made the “right” decision. Democrats also took names from headstones to cast fraudulent votes. Democrats then opposed: blacks voting at all, public education for African Americans, and many other civil rights they had been promised. Reconstruction was a success in that it restored the United States as a unified nation; by 1877, all of the former Confederate states had drafted new constitutions, acknowledged the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, and pledged their loyalty to the U.S. government. The United States persisted to remain corrupt and the ways of the old South had returned marking the essence of Reconstruction a complete failure.

The 20th century was a new wave of determent of African Americans, at the turn of the

20th century, Southern state governments instituted racial segregation laws to separate whites and African Americans. The 20th century suppression soon became obvious with many realizing that to most the 14th and 15th amendments had become “null and void”. In most southern states blacks had begun to outnumber whites by tens of thousands but this didn’t show in the voting area where less than one percent were able to vote. These actions against voting were not alone, the infamous Ku Klux Klan had begun to not only murder and hang African Americans but also lynch them. Lynching is an extrajudicial punishment by an informal group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate a group. Throughout history, dominant groups have used lynchings as a way of controlling minorities. Lynchings soon became the most effective and violent way to control blacks between 1882 and 1964 3,446 blacks were lynched alongside 1,297 whites. This era was among the most disruptive and progressive for the African American community. Though not stated in the book the civil right movement lead by African American leaders such as Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, W.E.B DuBois, Anne Braden and many more racial equality leaders. This era marked the beginning of some racial enlightenment and the end to most of the segregation and mistreatment of African Americans causing a social uprise for the equality and freedom of our African American ancestors.

Three significant African Americans of the 20th century would be W.E.B. DuBois,

Marcus Garvey, and Booker T. Washington these were all prominent figures who affected African American life for the better. Things such as the Jim Crow laws were implemented to tyrannize and segregate the black community but leaders such as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois had other plans for the world they sought to change. Booker T. Washington believed strongly in change but to him patience was key, on the other hand W.E.B. DuBois wanted change instantaneously. The two held very different views on achieving the same goal which was equality for all. The two great intellects sometimes opposed each other and even their supporters were divided into what were known as the the intellectuals, who supported W.E.B. DuBois and the working class for Booker T. Washington. Marcus Garvey was yet another African rights activist who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, but believed that African Americans should migrate back to their native countries. These are just three of the most influential and progressive figures in African American heritage.

Throughout the entirety of this documentary political bias could be sensed against the

Democratic Party. The author traced most of the Ku Klux Klan events back to the Democratic Party and avidly describes their role in the oppression of an entire ethnic group, also continuously implementing that Republicans tried numerous time to uplift the African American community. Barton’s Republican background causes him to disassociate his own political party with any heinous or cruel activity overemphasizing the equality they tried to spread throughout Southern history. “ Although it is relatively unreported today, historical documents are unequivocal that the Klan was established by Democrats and that the Klan played a prominent role in the Democratic Party” (Barton pg.50) Barton continuously states tries to separate the Democratic and Republican parties labeling Democrats as evil and unjust and Republicans the complete opposite. This bias content withdraws the reader from the irrefutable fact and makes the entire racial issue in America seem as if it were a political issue instead. “ [I]t (the Ku Klux Klan) did not limit its violence simply to black Republicans; white Republicans were also included.” (Barton pg.50)

David Barton concludes this book telling his readers that there is no right or wrong

answer when considering a political party, one should choose from their principles; God’s principles. “…Benjamin Rush didn’t care what a party called itself. When he found someone who stood for God’s principles, he would stand with him, no matter what party. The love of correct principles not the love of a party- must be key to political involvement.” This is one of the first times within the book that Barton truly ignores the essence political parties played in leaving the country in dismay and rather placing the blame and pointing fingers. “What legacy of faith and politics will this generation leave for the next? Obviously, the choice is ours; but having this choice, we should heed the warning delivered to citizens in 1803…”(Barton pg.137) David Barton closes out his documentary by describing what he feels is the only way to save the country from this repetition of history; faith. Faith can drive the wicked to be more malicious and the righteous to continue one the path of virtue.

This documentary written by David Barton explains the political components of the

constant oppression of the African American culture. Though blindsided by his political views Barton relays factual information emphasizing the political role of African American suffrage, economic and social suppression. Barton writes to emphasize the the understated and often forgotten heroes of the African American political community from Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, the first black senator, to Joseph Hayne Rainey, the first black elected to U.S. Congress. The history of African Americans has been filled with numerous challenges, oppositions, and heart-filled triumph.

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I’m a freelance writer with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Boston University. My work has been featured in publications like the L.A. Times, U.S. News and World Report, Farther Finance, Teen Vogue, Grammarly, The Startup, Mashable, Insider, Forbes, Writer (formerly Qordoba), MarketWatch, CNBC, and USA Today, among others.