by Kevin Levin May 31, 2007 3 “Southern History” by Natasha Trethewey This morning I picked up Natasha Trethewey’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book of poems titled Native Guard Poems. It’s a very short book, but there is a great deal to ponder. Here is a poem that touches on one of this blog’s central themes: Southern History Before the war, they were happy, he said. quoting our textbook. (This was senior-year history class.) The slaves were clothed, fed, and better off under a master’s care. I watched the words blur on the page. No one raised a hand, disagreed. Not even me. It was late; we still had Reconstruction to cover before the test, and — luckily — three hours of watching Gone with the Wind. History, the teacher said, of the old South — a true account of how things were back then. On screen a slave stood big as life: big mouth, bucked eyes, our textbook’s grinning proof — a lie my teacher guarded. Silent, so did I. Here is an old post titled Creating Neo-Confederates which analyzes the influences of the Lost Cause on textbooks at the turn of the twentieth century.