Jim Loewen
(1942-2021, In Memory)

Tougaloo College, 1965-1975

Author of Lies My Teacher Told Me and Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of Segregation in America

Five Myths About Reconstruction

I worked at Tougaloo College the summer of '65 and taught sociology there, 1968-75. In '65 I was SLIGHTLY active in the Movement, and in 1971 and 1972 I was head poll worker in Madison County, doing 2 hrs. in jail for it in '72. But I largely MISSED the Civil Rights Movement, for which my life ever since has been an atonement.

I was senior author of the first revisionist state history, Mississippi: Conflict and Change. When the state rejected it for school use, we sued in the case Loewen v Turnipseed, and won it, so the state had to adopt the book, 1980-86. It tells the story of the CR Movement accurately, I think.

My book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, about high school history textbooks, shows some influence from my coming-of-age in Mississippi, and so does Lies Across America, my criticism of historic sites.

In 2005, The New Press brought out Sundown Towns, which shows that in some Northern states, a majority of all incorporated communities kept out African Americans, and many kept out Jews, Chinese Americans, etc., throughout most of the twentieth century.

In 2009, Teachers College Press published Teaching What Really Happened, intended for K-12 history and social studies teachers. Pages 2-6 show the impact of Mississippi and Tougaloo College on my subsequent work. The chapter on teacher expectations and standardized testing also has many references to Tougaloo.

In 2010, the University Press of Mississippi brought out a compilation titled The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader, for which I wrote all the introductions. Getting this history right is important, because the version still taught by most teachers, and not just in the South, derives from the white supremacist overthrow of black voting and citizenship in and after 1890.

I'd love some help on my new project, researching historic sites that tell difficult aspects of our national story and do so well — to be called Surprises on the Land: Unexpected Places That Get History Right.

Also, I am doing fund raising for Tougaloo College and seek your interest and ideas in that cause.

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