Leftist History Writing
“If ever there was a good candidate to be one of the overlooked people whose history Zinn claimed to be writing, it would be E.D. Nixon. But Zinn has little time for stories of African Americans who worked on peaceful of campaigns for civil rights, especially when they did it without the help of communists.”
This devastating couple of sentences from Mary Grabar in Debunking Howard Zinn, refers to the fact that Nixon was not mentioned as part of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the first couple of editions of his book. Zinn is not the only leftist who ignores or maligns blacks who don’t fit the required mold.
Historians on the left must dismiss any notion that blacks might have supported the Confederacy to demonize the South. Any blacks who appeared to have, did so out of fear or suffered a kind of Stockholm syndrome. They even ignore black historians who have researched and written about blacks who indeed supported the Confederacy for a variety of very human and understandable reasons. Here are two:
- “Negro commitment in the beleaguered Southland varied — for some it was mingled feelings, for others it was sincere, for many it was a necessity…” James Brewer
- “The extent of slave disloyalty to the Confederacy can only be inferred, rather than stated with precision. Memoirs of various former Confederates insist that the slave was loyal to his master during the Civil War, as undoubtedly a great number were.” Harvey Wish
The quotes are thoughtful statements summarizing a complex question after research and reflection. They looked at all sides and weighed the evidence. They were real historians, not leftist polemicists.
So called historians like Howard Zinn and Kevin Levin support blacks if their words and actions align with their agenda. Levin regularly cited a need on the part of blacks to assert their manhood to explain behavior that did not fit with his agenda. Zinn just left them out altogether.