Truth, Lies and Perspectives in History

A 17-year-old Civil Rights demonstrator is attacked by a police dog in Birmingham, Ala., on May 3, 1963. This image led the front page of the next day’s New York Times.

There can be lies in history. Take for example Russia’s tweet this year refuting the FACT that they invaded Poland in September, 1939. Or the lie that Trump had more people at his inauguration than Obama. Then there are falsehoods created by different VERSIONS of the truth. These versions come to pass as a result of perspective. In this case, the individual is not knowingly telling a lie, or out to make stuff up, but rather their life experiences that have shaped their orientation to the world (perspective) is influencing the interpretation of sources in such a way as to create a narrative that veers further from the truth than some other narrative.

In formal history, historians often represent a framework — perspective meshed with method — that shapes their interpretation of historical events and their subsequent narrative.

Gladwell On the Power of the Image (2:00 min)

The Foot Solider of Birmingham (Revisionist History Podcast; Gladwell)

Link to “The Problem With History Class”

Link to “How history class helped created a ‘Post-Truth’ America”

Evaluating Historical Evidence DOC

Revisionism As a process of History Making

Validity and Usefulness of History Sources



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