The larger importance of the Underground Railroad lies not in fanciful legends, but in the diverse history of the men and women, black and white, who made it work and in the far-reaching political and moral consequences of what they did.... Eye-catching quilts and mysterious tunnels satisfy the human penchant for easily digestible history. Myths deliver us the heroes we crave, and submerge the horrific reality of slavery in a gilded haze of uplift. But in claiming to honor the history of African-Americans, they serve only to erase it in a new way.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Here's a great op-ed by Fergus M. Bordewich, author of Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America, from the New York Times addressing history, mythologizing, and missing the facts: