Years ago, when I was a kid, my mother told me Harry Truman was a great president because he ordered the integration of the military.

My mother did not try to justify the military’s segregation. Learning about its racial segregation did not make me love America any less. It just made me happy to know that Truman saw something wrong and fixed it.

I remembered this story when I read HB1255, a bill proposed by five New Hampshire Republican state legislators. The legislation would stop any public school teacher from “promoting a negative account of the founding and history of the United States of America which does not include the worldwide context of now outdated and discouraged practices. Such prohibition includes but is not limited to teaching that the United States was founded on racism.”

Note that the bill only applies to public schools. Private, religious and home schools can teach American history any way they want, even though many now receive taxpayer funding.

Under this bill, would it be a negative representation of American history for a teacher to explain why Truman’s action was a good thing, righting a racist wrong? Would a teacher have to include a convoluted “worldwide context” in their lesson plan?

There is no context that justified segregation in the 1940s. Or ever.

When Woodrow Wilson authorized the segregation of federal agencies, Black people who suffered the adverse economic and social affects did not think it was OK.

Black parents did not think it was OK when white supremacists forced their children to attend segregated schools or kept them out of public pools.

Pretending Jim Crow laws, segregation, slavery or racism were ever just ducky “in context” is not OK. You cannot put lynching in context. You cannot put the 1921 massacre in Tulsa, Okla., in context.

It was all wrong, and always was wrong, throughout American history. Accepting that our country has made mistakes is not unpatriotic or disloyal.

Reading Nathaniel Philbrick’s “Travels With George” brought all this home to me recently. The book follows Philbrick’s travels as he recreates George Washington’s journeys through the 13 states in the early days of his presidency. Philbrick’s love of country and deep admiration and affection for Washington resonate throughout the book.

Sadly, if public high school teachers assigned this book, they might lose their jobs if HB1255 passes.

Philbrick writes about Washington the president but also Washington the slave owner, and the “horror that must temper the acknowledgment of George Washington’s central role in the formation of the United States.” Washington removed his slaves from Pennsylvania because they had been in Philadelphia almost long enough to satisfy a residency law that would have resulted in their freedom.

There is no context that makes that an OK story. It is a lie that at the time everyone thought slavery was OK. Enslaved people did not think it was OK. Enough White people thought it was not OK that Pennsylvania passed the law that would have freed Washington’s slaves.

Banning “Travels With George” from the classroom would be a real loss. It is a wonderful history lesson about everything Washington did to unite the new country, while recognizing Washington’s flaws. As Philbrick states in his book, Washington was just a man, not a god or a king.

The bill’s sponsors, Reps. Alicia Lekas, Glenn Cordelli, Keith Ammon, Tony Lekas and Erica Layon, should read this book. They would learn that in the “context” of the late 18th century a significant number of people opposed slavery because they knew it was wrong. One was James Oglethorpe, who founded Georgia as a slave free colony in 1732, 45 years before the American Revolution.

I do not know what is driving this misguided proposal. But I do know this: my mother, who served in the military and the state legislature, and was the most patriotic woman I have known, would be furious that the House she loved so much has fallen so low as to bully teachers to try to suppress any part of our history.

The sponsors should think long and hard about the harm they are doing to the reputation of the legislature and the state of New Hampshire.

Manchester’s Kathy Sullivan is the former chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Friday, May 13, 2022

ACTIVISTS HAVE convinced Americans that “organic” food is better — healthier, better-tasting, life-extending.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S bad-idea factory just belched out a doozy: The Disinformation Governance Board rolled off the assembly line to the sound of shrieks and Klaxons — and deservedly so. The last thing American citizens need is a taxpayer-funded thought-police bureau that monitors public utt…

Sunday, May 08, 2022

THE SUPREME COURT is currently surrounded by crowd-control barricades after the leak of a draft decision in the Dobbs case. The plaza was clear, however, on April 22, Earth Day, when Wynn Bruce of Boulder, Colorado, set himself aflame to protest climate change.

Friday, May 06, 2022

DID YOU KNOW that in some states, if you miss one tax payment, local politicians will take your home, sell it and keep all the profits?

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

I’VE BEEN a rhymer ever since I was 12 and read the limerick about the young girl of Madras who had a remarkable ass and so when I read about a trans legislator in Kansas, it started my engine, but she turns out to be a nice woman named Stephanie Byers (choirs, lyres) who is only advocating …

Sunday, May 01, 2022

IT’S NO SECRET that Democrats face a difficult political environment. History is not on their side. Gallup polling shows that presidents with approval ratings below 50% lose an average of 37 U.S. House seats in midterm elections. Only two presidents in the modern era — Bill Clinton in 1998 a…