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Story Idea: Liberty Bell Debate Typifies Misperceptions Of U.S. History
Recently announced plans to displace the Liberty Bell -- an ageless symbol of America's freedom and the bedrock of Philadelphia's cradle of history--to shore up security and modernize Independence Mall have touched off a passionate plea to use the monument's relocation as an opportunity to remember the onetime slave quarters that stood adjacent to the Liberty Bell's new home. The controversy epitomizes existing cultural and educational tendencies to gloss over the uglier aspects of American history, and the Temple University community will contemplate the societal damage of such an affront when renowned author James Loewen visits campus Tuesday, Sept. 23, to discuss his book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. The book was required summer reading for Temple's 3,700 freshmen, who learned history Loewen-style, replete with the unsightly tidbits of American history that are often blotted out of high school texts. During Tuesday's visit, Loewen will square off against Temple history and social studies professors and local teachers in a debate and join students on a tour of Independence National Historical Park, a site he rebuked as racially insensitive in his 2000 book, Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong.