James W. Loewen is best known for his books Lies My Teacher Told Me, an expose of textbooks' deliberate distortions of American history, and its "sequel" Lies Across America, which discusses simular distortions found in statues, monuments, and historical markers.
He also co-authored the first integrated state-history textbook, Mississippi: Conflict and Change. The textbook was rejected by the state textbook adoption committee, because it included a picture of a lynching, contained too much African American history, and dealt with too much recent history.1 This led to a ground-breaking First Amendment case, Loewen vs. Turnipseed, which ruled in favor of the textbook. Because of this, it was accepted by the state adoption committee in 1980, five years after it was published.
In part, Loewen's iconoclast crusade is a form of penance. "I largely MISSED the Civil Rights Movement," he wrote, "for which my life ever since has been an atonement."2
He is currently working on a project about sundown towns.
Relevant Web Sites:
- James Loewen's home page: http://www.uvm.edu/~jloewen/
- An interview: http://www.beyondbooks.com/chat/2000/loewen.htm
1.) Lies My Teacher Told Me, pg 280-281
2.) "Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement - Jim Loewen, http://crmvet.org/vet/loewen.htm.