News & Advocacy

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The latest activity of the AHA and historians in supporting history and historical thinking.

  • 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.”

  • 2021 Honorary Foreign Member Interviewed in The Hindu (January 2022)

    Jan 24, 2022 - 

    In an interview with Murali N. Krishnaswamy for The Hindu, Mahesh Rangarajan (Krea Univ.),the AHA’s 2021 honorary foreign member, spoke about how his work fit with that of previous honorary foreign members and why he felt it resonated with the AHA. “Scholars are both researchers and teachers, and the foreign members of the AHA, going back to Germany’s Leopold von Ranke [the first-ever recipient of the AHA honorary foreign membership (1886)] saw history also as a discipline that educates and informs debate,” Rangarajan said. “I think the fact that much of my work is accessible may also be a factor.”

  • AHA Council Commends Staff for 135th Annual Meeting (January 2022)

    Jan 12, 2022 - 

    On behalf of the entire membership of the AHA, the AHA Council offers its highest commendation and deep gratitude for the efforts of AHA staff in organizing a successful annual meeting. Despite the obstacles posed by COVID-19, over 900 members attended the meeting in New Orleans, even as dozens of panels moved online (to take place in late February). These last-minute changes took Herculean effort on the part of executive director Jim Grossman and his staff. Council is especially grateful to meetings manager Debbie Doyle, who essentially organized two entirely “new” meetings—one in person and one online—during the last two weeks of December and the first week of January. Thanks to the tireless work of AHA staff, the organization is not only on sounder financial ground than it would have been had the meeting been canceled, but the membership also enjoyed an even broader range of intellectual exchanges and professional development opportunities than would normally be the case.


    James H. Sweet
    AHA President, 2022

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

    Jan 07, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director James Grossman was featured in an article in 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 Sends Letter Opposing Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District Resolution

    Jan 06, 2022 - 

    The AHA sent a letter to leaders at the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District opposing the proposed Resolution No. 21-12, “Resolution Opposing the Teaching of Critical Race Theory.” “If the district is committed to academic freedom,” the AHA writes, “why has it singled out one set of ideas—critical race theory—as a subject that cannot be taught in Placentia-Yorba Linda schools?” The AHA hopes history teachers will not be required to minimize historical transgressions or their influence on the evolution of American institutions. “To do so would be a direct and clear violation of ‘the commitment to teach a complete and accurate account of history.’” The letter includes a statement criticizing similar legislative efforts to restrict education about racism in American history, co-authored by the AHA in June 2021 and signed by 152 organizations.

  • 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 Sends Letter Opposing Oklahoma Bill That Would Limit Teaching of Race and Slavery in America (December 2021)

    Dec 23, 2021 - 

    The AHA has sent a letter to members of the Oklahoma state legislature strongly opposing House Bill 2988, which would restrict the teaching of “certain concepts pertaining to America and slavery.” This “irresponsible legislation,” the AHA writes, would be “harmful to the youth of Oklahoma, leaving students ignorant of basic facts of American history and poorly prepared for the critical thinking and interpretive skills required for career and civic accomplishment.”