Virginia Text Will Be Revised; Black Confederates, Brown Bear To Be Removed

October 26, 2010
by Bill Chappell

The Virginia history textbook that sparked outrage by claiming that thousands of blacks fought on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War will be amended, its publisher says.

Until the new books are available, the publisher, Five Ponds Press, is reportedly offering white stickers to cover up the sentence, which reads: "Thousands of Southern blacks fought in the Confederate ranks, including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson."

The passage was included in the book Our Virginia: Past and Present. Its author, Joy Masoff, said that she had first found the references to black Confederate soldiers on the Internet.

Masoff found the references on sites related to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization for descendants of Confederate soldiers. Members of that group have insisted that blacks fought on the side of the South in the Civil War.

As an article in The Washington Post reported last week, "The issues first came to light after College of William & Mary historian Carol Sheriff opened her daughter’s copy of Our Virginia and saw the reference to black Confederate soldiers."

The revised book will also omit a photo of a brown bear that is not native to Virginia, according to the Associated Press.

The controversy has also led to discussions of changing the process Virginia uses to review and approve textbooks.

Copyright 2010 NPR

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