In the span of human civilization, the American story is a short one. However, America is a beacon of light and hope to people around the world. Our story is unique, E pluribus Unum: Out of many – One. A nation of immigrants.
Although much has been written about America, we lack a national history. Teaching American history has become controversial. Hysteria has developed over Critical Race Theory, a legal theory focused on the impact of race on America’s legal system.
We need a national history that reflects America. Our national history must be based on research and facts, not fiction, fake news and misinformation. It must include the best, the worst, the ugly, the beautiful: contributions of many racial and ethnic groups, including indigenous peoples; the tragic stories in the transatlantic slave trade; the Civil War and its legacies; the many triumphs.
I urge President Joe Biden and Congress to establish the Office of National Historian, like the Office of Surgeon General. This office would: 1) engage historians from diverse backgrounds, in documenting an inclusive American history; 2) promote teaching our national history throughout our educational systems; 3) make annual reports on the state of our national history to Congress and the American people.
We must write our national history.
Jacob U. Gordon is president of the Alachua County African and African American Historical Society and the United Nations Association — Gainesville. He lives in Gainesville and is a professor emeritus at the University of Kansas.
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This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Jacob U. Gordon: We must write our national history