AHA in the News

The staff and leadership of the American Historical Association are frequently quoted by the media. 

  • AHA Executive Director Quoted in Washington Times (April 2022)

    Apr 27, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director James Grossman was quoted in a Washington Times article by Sean Salai about the upcoming celebration of Ulysses S. Grant’s 200th birthday, including Grant’s changing legacy over the years. Historians, Grossman explained, have come to see the Civil War as a “war of liberation, rather than a tragic and preventable conflict in which both sides had honorable goals. … Grant becomes the leader of an army of liberation. He also, as president, is increasingly understood as attempting to enforce the implications of that victory, rather than oppressing a victimized region struggling to redeem its governments from the alleged excesses of Reconstruction.”

  • AHA Executive Director Quoted in Washington Times Article about Rejected Textbooks in Florida (April 2022)

    Apr 26, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director James Grossman was quoted in a Washington Times article by Sean Salai about textbooks recently rejected by the Florida Department of Education “because they did not meet state benchmarks or they contained examples of critical race theory and social-emotional learning.” For the majority of the textbooks, no specific explanation was given for their rejections. “It is irresponsible to reject materials while refusing to provide actual examples of what is objectionable,” Grossman said. “This is akin to Joseph McCarthy referring to lists of communists in his pocket.”

  • AHA Executive Director Quoted in Washington Post Article on Faculty Response to “Divisive Concepts” Legislation (February 2022)

    Feb 28, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director Jim Grossman was quoted in a Washington Post article about college faculty members’ pushback against state-level legislation that would limit or prohibit the teaching of “divisive concepts” in American history, especially regarding race and racism. “The ability of students to learn American history that is taught with professional integrity is not a partisan issue,” said Grossman.“No state wants its students to graduate ignorant.”

  • AHA Executive Director Featured in Article on the Future of Scholarly Societies (February 2022)

    Feb 28, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director Jim Grossman was featured in a Scholarly Kitchen article by Robert Harington about the future of scholarly societies in a society fundamentally changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The AHA “considers the changing landscape of scholarly associations to be filled with new opportunities,” Grossman said. “The AHA has been a vocal advocate for the role of history in public culture and the importance of maintaining the professional integrity of history education as well as research. In the current environment this work is essential and we are confident that our colleagues will continue to support our work.” The article also quoted from Grossman’s recent Perspectives on History column on the future of AHA online programming.

  • AHA and NCH Executive Directors Quoted in NBC News Article on Presidential Records Act Violations (February 2022)

    Feb 28, 2022 - 
    AHA executive director Jim Grossman and National Coalition for History executive director Lee White were quoted in an article for NBC News by Jonathan Allen about the Trump administration’s violations of the Presidential Records Act (PRA). “You can’t hold anyone accountable and you can’t write an accurate history if you don’t know all that’s there,” said White. “For historians, it’s the old ‘if the tree falls in the forest and no one is there,’ how are you going to know a record is missing if it’s missing?” Grossman spoke in context of the PRA’s creation after the Nixon presidency, noting, “The presidential records act was created so that this would never happen again.”
  • AHA Executive Director Quoted in Article on Associations’ Responses to “Divisive Concepts” Legislation (February 2022)

    Feb 18, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director Jim Grossman was quoted in an Associations Now article by Rasheeda Childress about how associations are pushing back against state-level legislation that would prohibit or limit teaching about racism in the US. “One of the things that divides the country is partisanship; another is race,” Grossman said.“If we don’t understand the histories of what divides us, we’re never going to be able to unite, to work together, to establish the kinds of communities that a democracy needs and wants.”

  • AHA Executive Director Quoted in Washington Post Articles about Presidential Records Act Violations (February 2022)

    Feb 14, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director Jim Grossman was quoted in two Washington Post articles about former president Trump’s violations of the Presidential Records Act. “The problem is that the Presidential Records Act, as written, does not have any real enforcement mechanism,” said Grossman in “‘He Never Stopped Ripping Things Up’: Inside Trump’s Relentless Document Destruction Habits,” adding that the violations are disrespectful to archivists and the general public. “What is the Presidential Records Act, and How Did Trump Violate It?” by Amber Phillips quoted Grossman and cited the AHA’s recent statement condemning violations of the Presidential Records Act. 

  • AHA Executive Director Quoted in Washington Times Article on Critical Race Theory Bans (February 2022)

    Feb 03, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director Jim Grossman was quoted in a Washington Times article by Sean Salai about the influx of state-level legislation banning or limiting the teaching of “divisive concepts,” including critical race theory, in public schools.“History education should help students learn what actually happened, and to think, discuss and argue with one another about roots, continuities and implications,” Grossman said. “Everything has a history, including the divisions that plague our nation and communities. To heal those divisions, our next generation must understand their evolution.”

  • AHA Executive Director Quoted in New York Times Article on Virginia “Divisive Concepts” Bill (January 2022)

    Jan 24, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director Jim Grossman was quoted in a New York Times article by Maria Cramer and Amanda Holpuch about a “divisive concepts” bill introduced in the Virginia legislature. The bill gained attention for incorrectly stating that the Lincoln-Douglas debates were between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, but comes “from the same template as legislation introduced in more than 30 other states that seeks to ban or limit the teaching of ‘divisive concepts’ relating to race and racism in classrooms.” The bill’s wording, Grossman said, “prohibits teachers from helping students understand the continuing role of racism in the development of American institutions and culture. It provides a chilling effect that makes teachers wary of teaching accurate American history.”

  • AHA Executive Director Quoted in NOLA.com Article on Pardoning of Homer Plessy (January 2022)

    Jan 07, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director James Grossman was featured in an article in NOLA.com by Will Sutton on Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’ recent pardoning of Homer Plessy. “Jim Grossman met Keith Plessy in January 2013,” Sutton wrote,“when the American Historical Association gathered at the New Orleans Marriott. He saw a badge with the name ‘Plessy,’ and as a historian, he just had to ask: That’s an unusual name. You wouldn’t be related to THE Homer Plessy, would you?…Seven years ago, the association Grossman leads as executive director planned to meet in New Orleans in January 2022. Grossman saw Plessy again Wednesday, this time at a historic signing of a pardon the day before Grossman’s group officially opened its meeting.”

  • AHA Executive Director Featured in The 74 Million Article on January 6 Anniversary (January 2022)

    Jan 06, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director James Grossman was quoted in an article in The 74 Million by Jo Napolitano about how teachers are addressing the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection and assault on the US Capitol. Grossman said it is imperative for students to understand what happened that day. “Part of the purpose of history education is to help students learn to read evidence generated from diverse sources and piece together stories that are consistent with that evidence and answer useful and meaningful questions.”

  • AHA Executive Director Quoted in HISTORY Article on the Great Migration (January 2022)

    Jan 06, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director James Grossman was quoted in a HISTORY article by Alexis Clark, “How Southern Landowners Tried to Restrict the Great Migration.” Grossman said that during the Great Migration (1916–70) of African Americans from the south to the north, white southerners “believed, incorrectly, that what was really happening was Black people were being stirred up by labor agents from northern industries coming South to round up Black workers. This is in part because their genuine belief in the lack of agency of Black people, and that Black people can't possibly be figuring these things out themselves.” 

  • AHA Staff Member Quoted in USA Today Article (December 2021)

    Dec 29, 2021 - 

    AHA communications and marketing manager Jeremy C. Young was quoted in a USA Today article by Dennis Wagner about how 2021 failed to live up to expectations for a better year after 2020. Historically speaking, Young explained, because nearly all catastrophes have long-term residual effects, “you’re not going to be able to turn that page quickly or cleanly. Nothing’s going to live up to lofty expectations.” The article is also available on Yahoo! News.

  • AHA Exectutive Director Quoted in Article on Renaming of DC Public Schools (December 2021)

    Dec 21, 2021 - 

    AHA executive director Jim Grossman was quoted in a Washington Times article by Sean Salai on DC Public Schools’ plans to rename Brent Elementary School, which is named after Robert Brent, the first mayor of Washington, DC. The school is being renamed as part of DCPS’s goal to remove the names of slaveholders and segregationists from its buildings. “People lead complicated lives, and Brent’s life included many important and worthy accomplishments,” Grossman said. “At the same time, when we put someone’s name on a public building, we are making a statement to our children, to visitors and others about our community’s values and what makes someone worthy of public honor.”

  • AHA Executive Director Featured in Article on “Divisive Concepts” Legislation (December 2021)

    Dec 21, 2021 - 

    AHA executive director Jim Grossman was featured in an article by Janelle Stecklein published in several local CNHI papers. The article focused on Oklahoma House Bill 2988, which “prohibits teaching slavery in Oklahoma public schools and universities in a way that might lead one to think America is worse than other nations in history or that one race is a unique victim or oppressor.” “It’s very hard for a teacher to teach about slavery without emphasizing that in the United States (or) in the areas that would become the United States, it was generally white people who enslaved Black people,” said Grossman. “That’s a fact, not an interpretation. And if you don’t tell students that fact, they will be ignorant of American history.”

  • AHA Executive Director Quoted in Editorial against “Divisive Concepts” Bills (December 2021)

    Dec 21, 2021 - 

    AHA executive director Jim Grossman was quoted in an editorial published by the Enid News & Eagle editorial board opposing Oklahoma House Bill 2988, which would limit education about slavery in the state’s public schools and universities. “It’s not the business of the state legislature to prohibit teachers from assigning certain materials any more that it’s the business of the state legislature to prohibit libraries from putting materials in the library,” Grossman said. The editorial was also published in the Norman Transcript.

  • Lumina Foundation Publishes Article on “Divisive Concepts” Bills (December 2021)

    Dec 15, 2021 - 

    Terri Taylor of Lumina Foundation, a generous supporter of the AHA annual meeting and of the AHA’s response to divisive concepts legislation, published an article in Inside Higher Ed about higher education’s response to the new wave of divisive concepts bills. “[T]he higher education community must not rely solely on individual faculty and staff members pushing back in a thousand individual meetings with legal counsel,” Taylor wrote. “We should support a broad movement that embraces our strong history of constitutionally granted freedoms and seeks to unearth and remedy long-standing discrimination and inequity.” Taylor’s article included a mention of the AHA’s recent survey, which found that “over three-fourths of respondents agreed it was acceptable to make learners uncomfortable by teaching about the harm some people have done to others.” 

  • Historians’ Amicus Curiae Brief Discussed in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Oral Arguments (December 2021)

    Dec 14, 2021 - 

    An amicus curiae brief for consideration in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, which features the AHA and the Organization of American Historians as signatories, was discussed during oral arguments before the US Supreme Court on December 1, 2021. The brief, based on decades of study and research by professional historians, aimed to provide an accurate historical perspective on the right to abortion. Discussion of the brief begins on page 75 of the transcript and continues for several pages.