Were Runaway Slaves Merely Taking Time off from Chores?

While attending a degree program connected to a well-known California university in the mid-1990s, I opened the assigned history textbook one evening in class, flipped the pages to the week’s history chapter, and began reading the following paragraph.

“Occasionally, slaves from South Carolina tried to reach Spanish Florida, but most slave runaways merely wanted to visit friends or relatives or avoid their normal work routine for a few days or months.”

Stunned, all I could do was stare at the page as I tried to process what I had just read. Puzzled, I turned to the copyright page. I thought this text might be written in the 1950s or further back. But the copyright was current. So, I turned to a student seated nearby. I did not know her, but I said, “Could you read this?” And I pushed the textbook toward her. She read it, and I won’t repeat what she said.

Eight years after reading the textbook sentence, I sent it to a famous author and African American history professor. Recently, I looked at the citation notes closely for the first time. The textbook edition I read in class is missing from many online listings and could not be found on World Cat.

Wonder why.

The textbook was issued by a best-selling publisher that started in the early 1900s; more than a hundred years later, the 11th edition will be published in August 2022.

According to Time magazine, one reason Black families have turned to homeschooling during the pandemic at three times the rate of other racial groups is because of the educational materials used in the educational system.

Writer William F. Spivy writes to educate about the potholes in history taught in traditional school systems.  One of his recent articles on Medium titled St Augustine: America’s Oldest City: What They Don’t Tell You in the Brochures is an eye-opening look that underscores some of the significant ways history is twisted other than textbooks.

Source: Abe Books.com


For Black Parents Resisting White-Washed History, Homeschooling Is an Increasingly Popular Option. Time Magazine, Katie Reilly, February 28, 2022

A People and A Nation: A History of the United States, volume 1, fourth edition, 1994.

St Augustine: America’s Oldest City: What They Don’t Tell You in the Brochures by William F. Spivy: https://medium.com/black-history-month-365/st-augustine-americas-oldest-city-604fdc693f7d