News Topic

Academic Freedom, Advocacy

On February 11, AHA executive director Jim Grossman sent a letter to Mayor John O’Reilly of Dearborn, Michigan, protesting the dismissal of Bill McGraw, editor of the city’s historical commission’s journal, for publishing an article about Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism.

February 11, 2019

Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr.
Office of the Mayor
16901 Michigan Ave.
Dearborn, MI 48126

Dear Mayor O’Reilly,

The American Historical Association vigorously objects to your decision to prevent the distribution of the most recent issue of The Dearborn Historian and to terminate the contract of the journal’s editor, Bill McGraw.

The AHA is the largest association of professional historians in the world. Our 12,000 members include college professors, secondary school teachers, advanced students, and public historians working in museums, local history societies, national parks, and innumerable other venues. The professional standards we articulate and promote are cited frequently inside and outside the academy.

The open dissemination of historical knowledge is fundamental not only to the practice of history but also to the functioning of democracy. No one is served by suppressing the troubling portions of the past. And no historian should be punished for raising uncomfortable facts. The AHA therefore strongly urges you to lift your prohibition on the distribution of The Dearborn Historian and to reverse your decision to end Mr. McGraw’s editorship of the journal.


James Grossman
Executive Director, American Historical Association