Textbook Says Thousands of Slaves Fought for South

Author Joy Masoff read about it on the Internet
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2010 9:43 AM CDT
Confederate cavalrymen, led by Nathan Bedford Forrest, later the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, kill unarmed black Union soldiers after the surrender of Fort Pillow, Aug. 12, 1864.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A Virginia 4th-grade textbook has come under fire for claiming that thousands of slaves fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War—something an overwhelming majority of historians say isn’t true. The book’s author, Joy Masoff, isn’t a trained historian, and says she did most of her research on the Internet. She attributes the claim—which critics say is often used to downplay slavery as a cause of the war—to a website from the Sons of Confederate Veterans. She tells the Washington Post she’s sticking by it.

“As controversial as it is, I stand by what I write,” Masoff says. “I am a fairly respected writer.” The claims came to light when a real historian flipped through her daughter’s textbook. When the Post told them about it, Virginia school officials said the book’s vetting was flawed, and that they would caution school districts against teaching the passage. “Just because a book is approved doesn't mean the Department of Education endorses every sentence,” a spokesman said.

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