Update: Check out Andy Hall’s thoughtful analysis of the DeWitt-Weeks book over at Dead Confederates.
I am a high school history teacher, who spends a great deal of time reviewing classroom materials for their historical merit. For what it’s worth my judgments are based on a solid education and years of reading the best in historical scholarship on the history of slavery, the South, and the American Civil War. I point this out given Ann DeWitt’s latest response [scroll down] to my continued postings on her flawed historical fiction for children, titled, Entangled in Freedom:
Imagine writing a novel for young adults which (1) espouses the sanctity of marriage, (2) does not contain profanity, (3) promotes earning ones way in America, (4) advocates true friendship, (5) demonstrates the positive progression of America over the last 150 years, and (6) highlights the strength of the family unit; yet, the novel is dubbed “nonsense” by a recognized Virginia Civil War journalist and historian.
The above six principles the family narratives of Ann DeWitt. I have no 19th century written documentation of these six family values because they were passed down to me verbally by my ancestors. I do not secretly hide them but proudly share them with the world. As parents and/or readers, would you ban such a book from the shelves of bookstores, civil war & history museums, and libraries across America? Google key words: entangled in freedom. Witness a literary ban about the subject of Black Confederate Soldiers happening right before our eyes—in the open—on the internet.
Let’s be clear that no one is trying to “ban” Ms. Dewitt’s and Mr. Weeks’s book. I am simply using this blog to point out the shortcomings of this children’s book. Whatever the virtues of this book may be, it does not trump the fact that neither author has any understanding of the history of slavery, race relations, and the role of African Americans in the Confederate army. The bibliography in this book clearly reflects a lack of serious research into their subject. I would go as far as to suggest that this book is dangerous and irresponsible and if this blog can help in preventing impressionable young minds from being exposed to it, so be it.