The true story of America, giving equal and honest time to all, has yet to be written. It must be comprehensive and integrated (!). Howard Zinn, with his sweeping embrace of five centuries and more has led the way, helped along by other authors similarly, but more narrowly focused, and the priceless primary sources he cites again and again, has certainly led the way. What tales the people's narratives tell! That Tom Jefferson took the theme of the dignity of humanity from the unsuccessful plea written by the self-educated African American Benjamin Banneker, that he put aside his racial prejudice. You'll find other foreshadowings of immortal oratory in their humble words.
Where is the Edward Gibbon, the William Shirer, who will tell the true stories, situating the "canon" where they belong, for all must finally tell the truth, all those hallowed ghosts must come back alive and say, "Along with these immortal words, I also said that . . . and did . . . ."
The canon we let back into our history will shoot it full of holes and, somehow, reach the audiences we need to reach, because we are all, in one way or another, suffering from the sins of those we worship--even the upper one percent we won't let alone, our history won't let alone--for it is their ruthless greed, which gave birth to this land we love, that will also bring it down. Ultimately the world will not spare them either. They'll be the last of us to go, realizing what America might have been, wanting the real America more fervently than did Langston Hughes and all of his fellow oppressed humanity.
The next "America" must come into being on far firmer foundations. Will it ever?
1 | 2