Let's Discuss: Lies My Teacher Told Me
Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

Absurd, romanticized image depicts the landing of John Smith and his crew while a highly improbable Native American observes them from behind some bushes

Capt. John Smith landing in Jamestown, Virginia, 1607

In the 1980s and 90s, Sociology Professor James Loewen spent 11 years -- the last two of them at the Smithsonian Institution -- studying twelve popular high school history textbooks. The result of his labors became the award-winning and best-selling book, Lies My Teacher Told Me.

Although it predates current discussions over "Critical Race Theory" (often abbreviated to CRT), by a lot, both conversations are concerned with some of the same issues, in particular, the question How should American History be taught in the nation's schools?

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong is considered required reading by some, blatant propaganda by others. What do you think? Read the updated 2007 edition for yourself online for free (also available as a PDF) at the Internet Archive, then join us for what promises to be a lively and timely discussion:

  • Date: January 25, 2022
  • Time: 6:45 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Place: Zoom (Register online)

The discussion will be led by Robert L. Dahlgren, Ph.D., Professor of Social Studies Education, SUNY Fredonia.

For more background, watch this 1995 CSPAN Book Notes interview with Author James Loewen.

Illustration adapted from The Story of Pocahontas and Captain John, 1906. The original Public Domain image is available from The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

LOCAL CALL TO ACTION - Outer Harbor Petition

Dear Members and Friends,

Please support this petition to our local, state, and federal electeds to designate Buffalo's Outer Harbor a state park in 2022. A park helps provide all of our people with access to natural beauty, water quality and climate resilience, and will support Great Lakes and global wildlife biodiversity with healthy, connected habitat.

The petition page has more information about this effort. Additionally, here are some excerpts from League member Margaret Wooster's recent email. If you are signed up to receive email alerts from us, you will have received a copy of her entire message in your inbox.

"Much has happened in the past several weeks--none of it good for the Outer Harbor, but it strengthens our resolve and focus for the new year.

"We lost our lawsuit against the ECHDC and City, not on the merits of our case concerning the lack of an Environmental Impact Statement, but because of (I will call them) technicalities mostly involving timelines that are still unclear and still being discussed. We are appealing the decision...

"Then, over Solstice-Christmas week, over 100 trees plus all other plants and 1-2 feet of soil were bulldozed and scraped off 5+ acres to begin the amphitheater "Great Lawn." ... We mistakenly thought there was a restraining order and that in any case they would not bulldoze the week before Christmas given so much public opposition. This was habitat for many creatures, including snowy owls who roost there in winter, several species of swallow who nest there in summer, fox, pollinators, etc.

Before and after photo showing mature trees in a field of tall grass (before) and bulldozers in a field of mud (after)

"So now it comes to our petition. Thanks to all who signed, we are about 9,000 strong now. PLEASE send or resend it to your contacts, colleagues, families and friends..."

The photograph featured here is from the Our Outer Harbor Coalition, of which the League of Women Voters of Buffalo-Niagara is a member, via Margaret Wooster's email. The URL for the petition page at is:

Thank you for your help in saving the Outer Harbor as a natural habitat, and for adapting and propagating this message.

Lori Robinson
League of Women Voters Buffalo/ Niagara

Upcoming LWVB/N Meetings

Due to the pandemic, most meetings are held remotely. Please contact the League office if you would like to attend any of these meetings, but are not sure how to do so.

Monday, January 10, 2022
4:00 p.m. Board of Directors

Wednesday, January 12, 2022
2:00 p.m. Local Government Committee

Use the members calendar to find more meetings and events and automatically add them to your calendar app.

What's New

2022 Students Inside Albany (SIA)

Applications to participate in the 22nd Students Inside Albany Conference are due February 1, 2022. Here is a page with details about and links to the application and nomination documents you need to apply for this four-day, in-person event (Voter Service Committee, 11/09/2021)

2021 Get Out the Vote Campaign

It has been a busy 2021 for the Election Service Committee: read all about the League's GOTV campaign this year (Voter Service Committee, 11/09/2021)

Buffalo Transformation Fund

The preliminary draft spending plan for Buffalo's $331 million allocation from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) has been posted to the City's website (Local Government Committee, 10/15/2021)

Recent Programs

League of Women Voters of the Davis Area: Health Disparities program

In October, the League of Women Voters in Davis, California presented the program, Opportunities for Reducing Inequity and Addressing Health Disparities; here are the associated slides (LWV Davis Area, 10/7/2021)

Watch: The Effect of Covid-19 on Schools

In May, the Education Committee examined how the pandemic impacted our schools and our community (jump ahead to 4:22 for the start of the program) (Education Committee, 5/19/2021)

Watch: Fighting for Our Vote

Our DEI Committee in partnership with the NAACP and SANYS held Fighting for Our Vote 1.0 and Fighting for Our Vote 2.0 (DEI Committee, 02/23/2021 and 05/13/2021).

Watch: Scaling the Fiscal Cliff

Our March program was a panel discussion on the Post-Pandemic Challenge for Local Governments (Local Government Committee, 3/19/2021).