“The Red Letter Year” 0
When I was in elementary school in Jim Crow Virginia, the third grade Virginia history book lauded the year 1619 as the “Red Letter Year” for three events:
- The first meeting of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the first representative assembly in the colonies.
- The arrival of the first English women in the colony.
- The arrival of the first black (the word in the textbook was, I believe, “African”) slaves.
At the Hartford Courant, Frank Harris III looks back on the legacy of that last event, America’s original sin, the effects of which soil this polity still.
I wonder whether the schools still teach 1619 as a “Red Letter Year”? Hell, as I look about, I wonder whether they still teach history at all. (One of my friends recently told me of a conversation with a politically active young whippersnapper who did not know that President Andrew Johnson had been impeached, nor that Richard Nixon had resigned because he feared imminent impeachment and conviction.)