Separating Myth from Reality in American History

December 12, 2019  • Aspen Ideas to Go

Two Pulitzer Prize-winning historians explain the difference between myth and reality in American history. David Blight, a professor at Yale, says we use myths to help process history, which can be dismal. “Much of history is dark because human nature is dark. We sometimes have to process the past in sentimentalism — in stories that allow us to wake up in the morning.” Annette Gordon-Reed, an American legal history professor at Harvard, says the point of history is to figure out how you got to where you are in present-day. Blight and Gordon-Reed sit down with John Dickerson, correspondent for “60 Minutes,” to discuss correcting America’s historical memory. They touch on historical events like the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, and whether reparations for injustice are realistic. 

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