Throughout time, people have found ways of controlling the amount of information others have because, as commonly said, knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have, the more likely you are to outsmart those in charge.
This was obvious in the years leading up to Martin Luther when common people weren’t allowed to read the Bible nor were they encouraged to learn to read. The leaders of the Catholic Church didn’t want anyone to know how to read because they wanted to control what was taught in their congregations. While Martin Luther helped to expose the fault in their ways, the restriction of knowledge didn’t stop there.
While literacy rates are much higher than they were, and most people are allowed to read, the control over knowledge has shifted.
“Non-fiction” books don’t contain the whole truth. Schools only read novels that teach what they want to teach and history books have hundreds of pages missing to avoid teaching topics that might make the United States look less favorable. From Japanese internment camps to full details on what happened to the slaves in America, to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their treatment in the earlier years. A history that many members outside of our faith never learn about.
We the Scroll believe in education; real, full education even on topics that are unfavorable because that is how we re-examine the blind spots of United States history.
According to Marguerite Casey Foundation, 120,000 Japanese American’s were held in internment camps along the West Coast for the actions of individuals in Japan who committed Pearl Harbor, a crime these Japanese American’s didn’t have anything to do with. Their internment was per request and order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In regards to The Church, the only thing taught in my history books is that Joseph Smith, a polygamist stole a printing press, which is why he was killed.
Nothing of the treacherous journies the Saints endured on their way to the Salt Lake valley was ever mentioned.
There is sure to be dozens of other groups whose struggles were marginalized to cover the tracks of leaders of the United States, including Native Americans, who still receive money for the torture they were put through in their own native land.
With much of what is going on in our world right now, much of my focus has been on the Black Lives Matter Movement. There is talk about learning from history and not forgetting it. How can we do that if much of our history isn’t even taught to us?
When I was in middle school and high school, I learned briefly about slavery. We were taught that once the slaves came on ships to the United States they were sold as property and worked for no pay for the individuals who owned them. I learned about individuals like Frederick Douglass who helped to abolish slavery and helped slaves escape to freedom.
However, what I didn’t learn was much more profound. According to USA TODAY, in the 1600s , individuals were kidnapped from their homes and forced onto ships headed to the United States. Millions of God’s children on those ships died.
They were treated like property. If the boats got too heavy, they would throw individuals and groups overboard to relieve some weight. They weren’t fed and they were kept in very small spaces. According to the Library of Congress, they were naked and chained together for months during the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.
According to an article titled “A Journey in Chains,” “Those who were not killed by conditions on board were often permanently disabled by beatings or disease. Many slave captains threw sick or injured Africans overboard so that their losses would be covered by insurance.”
These gut-wrenching facts include only the experiences before these African’s even made it to the United States. Little did they know the torturous days were only beginning.
According to ushistory.org, slaves worked from sunrise to sunset six days a week. They were only sometimes given food and that food wouldn’t even be fed to the animals the slave owners owned.
Many “stalwart” individuals that receive so much praise and glory in our days owned and treated slaves horribly. It is devastating that these individuals are held on such a high pedestal.
Those people made that bad image for themselves. People deserve to hear the truth. We need to be taught the fullness of America’s history. In a time right now with so much confusion, read the facts, understand the facts and teach the facts.
There are many great resources out there that can help people to be educated. Don’t be afraid to hear the answers to some questions — it is better to know.
An article titled “11 Books that’ll Wake you up to the History you didn’t Learn in School,” shares great resources on topics not as favorable to United States history. This list includes Lakota Woman, the autobiography of a Native American woman; Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, referencing the 1969 police raid; and Suffragettes to She-Devils, sharing how art played a role in women’s suffrage.
Go to your local public library and look through the books and check out one or multiple that has a perspective you didn’t know about.
It is not important to worry about how it will “make some people look,” what is important is those whose American heritage was tarnished by the white men of early colonization receive justice.
Take an opportunity to learn about what really happened not so long ago, then maybe the movement will make sense to you.