The 1970’s ‘History’ Book That Taught Southerners How Great Slavery Was (IMAGES)

When the issue of the Confederate flag on the State House grounds in South Carolina came about the response from southerners was quick and merciless. They didn’t want their beloved hate symbol trashed; in fact, they wanted it revered. The version of Civil War history and slavery they used to defend their rag seemed to be so impossibly skewed that there was no doubt it was either made up or they all read it on the same conservative web site somewhere.

Slaves were happy-go-lucky folk just pleased as could be to serve their masters. In return, those masters graciously gave them freedom so they could fight the North, and treated them like family. The real jerks were those northerners. They kept their slaves until the very last-minute and hated them, treating them like animals and not even letting them fight in their army.

Reading the absurdity of the southern version of “heritage” and “pride” was absolutely depressing. Did these people actually believe this or was there some kind of bacterial infection killing brain cells and distorting peoples’ perception of reality?

As it turns out, that’s what the public schools in the South taught. Bree Newsome, the woman who climbed the flagpole and relieved South Carolina of the scourge of the confederacy, if only for a little while, took to Twitter to find out just what kind of history Americans were being taught:

Clyde Smith, who was a high school freshman in 1971, posted a picture of his old textbook, along with a link to a bunch of other pictures he had taken, to show how the stupidity of the present was most definitely caused by the failures of the past.

Clyde’s textbook was called “History For Schools” by Charles Grayson Somersell, a noted southern historian whose favorable views of the Confederacy are obvious in his works. Somersell’s book was instituted in 1955 in Alabama and taught from well into the 1970’s.

Here are some of the other highlights of the teachings of Alabama schools


Social Security ain’t got nuthin’ on slavery. If a slave lived past retirement age, which for slaves was the day after they died, they were well taken care of. Being that it was against the law to emancipate a slave after he was too old to work, so no other slave owner would pick him up and lay claim to a dud, this book says they were loved and cared for, when the reality is they were probably starved to death under the saying “too old to work, too old to eat.”.


Well then…Slaves had great clothing, plenty of medicine and even pretty dresses and fancy suits. There are children living in poverty today who would probably love to be sold into slavery, that’s how good those slaves had it. Their masters spent a ton of money on medicine to keep them healthy, that’s how much they loved and cared about them. They wanted for nothing.

Except maybe for the basic human right of freedom, the ability to go home after a day’s work and some form of compensation for their labor.

But they got really warm clothes so it’s all good.


They had it so good the children working factory jobs in Massachusetts and back in England were actually jealous. Oh, and the only reason the South got into the war was because the North was going to come in with their policies of mistreating slaves by freeing them.


After the war Alabama was forced to rejoin the Union? The Union never acknowledged the secessionists. As far as they were concerned the Confederate States never existed, their leadership never even tried for their treason. To do so would have legitimized their cause, which was fool-hearty and selfish. No such thing is even remotely true.

Text books like this were distributed all across the South, and now, with the resurgence of “southern pride,” states like Texas are at it again, printing their own version of history that doesn’t include little things like the Jim Crow laws.

Hopefully at some point, this idiocy runs its course.

Featured image via flickr