Is there a shameful example? The American Historical Association president (AHA) will apologize for citing historical facts.
A note from James H. Street (AHA president) was attached to Street’s August 17 column titled “Is History History?” Street profusely apologized for an article in September that criticized some incorrect narratives regarding slavery. Street almost made Roger Goodell’s heroic groveling seem like amateur work.
Street wrote in part:
Many members and colleagues expressed disappointment at my September Perspectives on History column. I’m fully responsible for the information it did not convey and the damage it caused.
I hoped we could have a conversation about “doing history” in today’s politically charged climate. But, I shut the door on this discussion for many members, causing harm to colleagues and the discipline.
I deeply regret the way I have alienated Black friends, colleagues, and colleagues. My inept attempts at bringing attention to methodological errors in teleological presentation skills gave the impression that questions about absence, grief, and memory were less important than those from power positions.
This is completely false. Even though it was not my intention, my provocative gesture totally missed the mark
I’m sorry for the harm I caused to historians, the discipline, and the AHA. Thank you all for listening.
What was Sweet’s exaggerated excuse for writing? These three paragraphs are transcribed from College Fix as Sweet’s September “offending” column.
A critique of the 1619 Project.
“This new history often ignores the values of people of their times.” “This is not history. It is dilettantism”.
“The Present has been steadily creeping up upon our discipline for some time.” History requires that we interpret past elements not just through the lenses of history, but also in the worlds and experiences of historical actors
“When we reduce or modify history to justify or inform current political positions, not only do we undermine the discipline but also compromise its integrity. ”
Street’s September column in the Times is a historical fact. This is similar to Roger Goodell’s rightful fall at Anthem on Colin Kaepernick. Then, he would bow before Black Lives Matter. Street again succumbed, just like Goodell to cancel-culture insanity.
College Fix noticed that Sweet’s September column mentioned a visit to Ghana’s former slave depot. Sweet claimed that the guide said that Ghanaians had sent their servants into chattel slave labor without them knowing, but he did not mention Indigenous slavery or warfare. He didn’t mention any histories that could have challenged assumptions about the ancestral connections between Ghanaians and diaspora visitors.
Sweet also addressed The Woman King (2022), which strongly suggests the fact that the west African kingdoms and Dahomey opposed the European slavery trade but “promoted it”.
Sweet apologized for his error two days after Sweet’s August 17 column was published.
Near the end, he wrote that “a president’s monthly columns are one of the privileges when elected office”. “Provides a megaphone to the membership and the discipline. These views and opinions do not reflect the views or opinions of the Association.
This is obvious, given that Sweet was expelled by the cowardly AHA because he had originally “views or opinions” that cited historical facts. Street stated, “If my hamfisted provocation has proven anything, it’s the fact that the AHA members today are as vocal as ever. ”
It’s absurd, Mr. Green. It’s absurd, Mr. Green. The AHA membership is infested with members of the cancel culture group, who want America to be destroyed as it is. It was something you wrote about.
James H. Sweet was like Roger Goodell and Nate Silver, the NBA Commissioner, who sold their souls to the public when it was time for them to go under.