Thursday, May 13, 2010

America: The Story of This Can't Be Us?...

Is it just me or is the History Channel’s series “America: The Story of Us” over rated? I was mildly interested in the program enough to look at a few of the episodes over the past week and was not thoroughly impressed with the presentation of the history and a bit skeptical of some of the inferences and accuracies.

Last night took the cake! I’m watching an episode on the Civil War and was pushed way outta shape when there it was, a little “Etch a Sketch” type of map being drawn of the “slave states” juxtaposed against the “union states,” and it was amazing to see how the map configured a familiar shape! Now I recognized it! Yeah, just above a shape that resembled Texas, which I knew was a slave state, so this unique looking area that the producers claim did not have slaves, was not a part of the Union and was not a part of the Confederacy, could it be.....YES! OOOOOOOKLAHOMA WHERE THE WIND COMES RUSHING DOWN THE PLAIN!!!

Of course I am a bit biased when it comes to the history of Indian Territory and the state of Oklahoma but you would think (no you wouldn’t) that a program and channel dedicated to presenting history in an accurate manner would have the good sense to know there were slaves in Indian Territory? I mean there had to be at least ONE historian with some knowledge of this fact?

I should have known better when all of the talking heads were “celebrities” displaying their “knowledge” of history that there would be some fudging of the facts, but this was going beyond the pale. The emphasis of this part in the series dealt with slavery and the Civil War, and though one could argue Indian Territory was not the scene of “significant” battles during the war that warranted mentioning the Battle of Honey Springs, I get that!

This is reminiscent of the “blunder” perpetrated by CNN last year with their series “Black in America” when they committed the same grievous error.

A colleague of mine worked with me in putting the video together as a response to the continued omission of Indian Territory as part of the history concerning slavery.

The largest slave uprising occurred in Indian Territory but all we hear about is Nat Turner. The only slaves to receive land as a result of enslavement were those of the Five Slave Holding Tribes, yet these documented facts continually are never mentioned, one has to ask why?

The community of historians throughout the country some who are quite familiar with this history have not called these networks and programmers on the carpet for the omission of this history and the time may have come for an explanation?


  1. Excellent post! I only caught a little of the Civil War episode but have it recorded and now I will watch it with a critical eye. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Lisa, it was funny to watch the little lines carve out the slave states and the "non-slave" states and see this hole in the middle of the country that just jumps out at you.

    For the life of me, I can't figure out why there is this omission of Indian Territory/Oklahoma, especially when the Five Slave Holding Tribes signed treaties after the war (1866) to regain their recognition after fighting with the Confederacy during the war.

    If they fought with the Confederacy you would think they would be included in the count of who and where slaves resided? Maybe it's just me? (Tongue firmly planted in cheek)