October 22, 2010
Charlottesville City Schools is among the Virginia school divisions using a controversial textbook.
The state Department of Education is alerting Virginia superintendents and history teachers about a passage in a state-approved textbook that falsely claims that thousands of black troops fought for the Confederacy.
The agency issued the memo after a parent of a Williamsburg fourth-grader, who also is a College of William and Mary history professor, found the passage in the Civil War chapter of "Our Virginia: Past and Present." The parent, Carol Sheriff, is a 19th-century historian.
The book claims that black troops fought under Stonewall Jackson, an assertion historians overwhelmingly say is unproven.
Charlottesville Schools Spokesperson, Cass Cannon, confirmed the textbook is in their schools, saying, "Yes, we use it as one resource among many others in teaching Virginia history."
Author Joy Masoff didn't immediately return a telephone message left Thursday at her office.
Education officials say "Our Virginia" is one of three approved Virginia history textbooks. The agency doesn't track how many divisions are using it.