News14 Research Blunder Rewrites Black History

Here’s the text of a post I wrote for YES! Weekly’s blog:

“North Carolina News14 recently published a list of the “14 most important and influential African-American s in North Carolina history.” A difficult task, to be sure, and one I do not envy. But the most interesting thing about the list is that one of the people on it was white.

After naming off a number of civil rights figures and other big names like Charlotte Hawkins Brown and John Coltrane, the white Quaker abolitionist Levi Coffin makes an appearance. I’m sure it was an honest mistake, but nevertheless a significant error.

While Coffin undoubtedly played an important role in North Carolina’s racial history, whoever included him on the list must not have even conducted the quickest Google search.

Somehow the list was narrowed down to 14, and hopefully some thought was given as to why nobody involved with the sit-in movement or other aspects of black history in the state weren’t included. Somewhere down the line, the author decided Coffin should make the list over people like Ben Chavis or Robert F. Williams.

I wonder how many people read the article who are less familiar with history and took it at face value.

You can read the article here


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