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The Ring of Political Correctness By: Michael Tremoglie
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, July 02, 2002

The National Park Service has recently made plans to move the Liberty Bell from its existing pavilion to a new pavilion within the same block. Ordinarily one would think that while such a move might elicit some objections of an esthetic nature, it would not otherwise be overly controversial.

Enter the politically correct hordes.

Immediately after announcing the move, some historians were outraged that the Park Service was not going to excavate that part of the new facility that had been the quarters of George Washington’s slaves when he was the President. Protests from academicians, politicians, journalists, and average citizens resonated throughout the city as the Liberty Bell itself once had.

Included in this PC police force was headed by UCLA historian Gary Nash, former Co-Director of the National History Standards project. The History Standards project had originally been conceived during Bush 41’s administration, and at that time National Endowment for the Humanities Chairwoman Lynne Cheney had been one its chief advocates. When the standards were set to be published in 1994, Cheney, no longer the NEH chair, wrote a Wall Street Journal editorial titled “The End of History.” Cheney wrote, "Imagine an outline for the teaching of American history in which George Washington makes only a fleeting appearance and is never described as our first president. Or in which the founding of the Sierra Club and the National Organization for Women are considered noteworthy events, but the first gathering of the U.S. Congress is not."

Nash’s history standards were so politically correct that he excluded Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Jonas Salk, while making 22 references to the Ku Klux Klan and almost as many to Joseph McCarthy. You do not have to be a high school graduate to figure out what Nash was trying to accomplish. Fortunately the United States Senate has more appreciation of United States history than the historian Nash. The Senate voted 99 to 1 to revise the standards. The committee was organized and new standards were published in 1996.

Nash, who wanted to create a history book that barely mentioned George Washington at all, obsessed about the sleeping quarters of Washington's slaves. This same dogmatic, minority-obsessed historian claimed that the Park Service was trying to whitewash the history of slavery. Acel Moore of the Philadelphia Inquirer and and Mayor Street joined the chorus in accusing the Park Service of racism. The Inquirer wrote:

"New historic research shows the presence of slaves at the heart of one of the nation's most potent symbols of freedom.

The National Park Service says the Liberty Bell is its own story, and Washington's slaves are a different one better told elsewhere.

However, some historians insist slavery is an integral part of this piece of ground.

They are irate that the Park Service has refused to halt construction and excavate the site, to hunt for artifacts that would give a more complete picture of the nation's birth and slavery's role in it.

Mayor Street has joined those critics.

"This is brand-new information to the city," Street spokesman Frank Keel said Friday, referring to the relation of the new bell site to slave quarters.

"We think the issue is too important and too sensitive to ignore," he said. "The city is not about to let this slide by."

Street wants "to begin a very earnest dialogue with the Park Service" about how to address the issue of slavery on Independence Mall, Keel said."

Moore went on to write: “The exact site and dimensions of Washington's slave quarters have only recently been documented by historian Edward Lawler and others. The Park Service, whose domain includes the administration of historic sites like the Liberty Bell and Independence Mall, won't halt construction to allow archeologists and historians to excavate and examine the old slave quarters. The specious argument: The Liberty Bell is its own story and Washington's slaves somehow a different one better told elsewhere. Full knowledge of all of American history would benefit all citizens of this nation.”

Reading this, one might think of these previously unsung 'slave quarters' as rivalling the Rosetta Stone in archaological importance. What kind of Philistine would want to desecrate such a national treasure?  But, Martha B. Aiken, Superintendent of the Park Service and herself an African-American, noted: “… preliminary analysis found nothing related to African American distinctive cultural practices. Implications that "the old slave quarters" have been uncovered, or deliberately not excavated, as part of this process are incorrect.”

Aikens was actually being circumspect. On June 12 in the Inquirer letters to the editors’ section, Edward Lawler Jr., the historian whose research was the genesis of these “protests” and who was referenced in Moore’s column wrote: “There is no conspiracy to hide things. There is nothing left of [the slave quarters].”  Nash and other members of the PC syndicate, who couldn'be bothered about George Washington himself, had conjured up an archaeological treasure out of what was essentially nothing.

What makes this affair even more absurd is that a block away is the African-American History museum. Nash and Randall Miller, the History Department Chairman at Saint Joseph’s University, want some mention of the slave quarters in the exhibit. Could that not be accomplished at the African-American museum? Perhaps it could, but the PC historians want to purge the history of the Liberty Bell and include their own history.

Unlike Nash and his accomplices in the media, Americans do not want to purge these revisionists and their media lackeys. Americans just want to know of the misinformation they spread, and learn the true version of history--including slavery. And that's why they won't stand for the propaganda of the politically correct People’s Democratic History Committees.

Michael P. Tremoglie is the author of the new novel A Sense of Duty, and an ex-Philadelphia cop. E-mail him at elfegobaca@comcast.net.

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