Report facts, not historical myths
Our frequent correspondent from New Middletown is at it again, spreading misinformation. I wish her grasp of historical facts was as strong as her obviously sincere religious faith.
In her Nov. 8 letter, the writer claimed, “Columbus spread Christianity all over the world.” That’s quite a stretch. Columbus, who never actually set foot in North America, was not a missionary, but rather an explorer searching for a passage to India. He immediately saw indigenous people of the Caribbean as a resource and began shipping them back to Spain to be sold as slaves. On his third voyage to the New World, Columbus was arrested and sent back to Spain in chains.
The letter writer also said, “The northern colonies banned slavery in 1641. This was called the Body of Liberties.” Actually, when Massachusetts passed its Body of Liberties, it became the first colony to legalize slavery of Native Americans and Africans. All colonies used slaves. By the start of the 18th century, New York City was second only to Charleston, South Carolina, in the number of slaves in its population. Many leading citizens, including Benjamin Franklin, were slaveholders.
Her letter concludes by saying, “Young men and women today need to be told the truth — stop hating each other. … You don’t need to destroy someone else’s dream because of the lies that you have learned.” No one could disagree with our need to be told the truth, but letters full of historical misinformation do not help that cause.
Those marching to protest racial injustice are not haters; instead, they are seeking to heal our country by urging us to recognize and end racial discrimination that began 400 years ago. We can start by replacing our historical myths with facts.