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August 19th, 2011
10:15 AM ET

Can teaching more history now prevent repeating the past?

 By Dave Schechter

CNN Senior National Editor

Not long after moving to Atlanta nearly 24 years ago, my mother came to visit. I drove her out to Stone Mountain to see its enormous bas relief of three heroes of the Confederate States of America: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. We rode the train that winds around the enormous, 825-foot-tall rock and listened to a recording about its history. At some point my mother, an Iowa native whose graduate degree in history is from an Ivy League university, asked me, in a conversational voice, “Don’t these people know they lost that war?” I shushed my mother and whispered, “No they don’t!”

Growing up north of Chicago,  in Illinois, in the “Land of Lincoln,” my teachers referred to that conflict as the Civil War. Living in the South, I’ve heard it referred to more than once as “the war against Northern aggression.” And what I was taught was a war primarily fought over the issue of slavery is viewed by some Southerners as having had more to do with economics and states rights, animosities still playing out today. FULL POST