#HistoryHero Word Cloud

You can tell a lot about someone by whom they admire, by whom they call out as their #HistoryHero.

Since April 2017, my team and I have been asking folks to shout out the name of their favorite #HistoryHero. It’s been such a fun, positive experience that we’re now turning their stories into a new blog series populated with your #HistoryHeroes.

We've met fascinating figures we never knew before and learning as much about our heroes as about the people recommending them...

Alison chose John Muir, for example, because she too loves the woods and nature.

Eleven-year-old Safi chose Malala because she also hopes to be brave and stand up for her principles one day.

Imagine my shock when, in the midst of receiving these uplifting stories based in truth, the current president of the United States announces to the world that Andrew Jackson, U.S. President from 1827-39, was a “good guy.”

True, Jackson's is a quintessentially "American" rags-to-riches story. A poor orphan, he ascended to the Oval Office where he sought to "advance the rights of the common man."

But there's a very dark side to Jackson’s success that is far from admirable and should not be overlooked, especially from the point of view of the 21st century, and especially from the mouth of a so-called world leader!

Andrew Jackson Slaves, The Hermitage

Because here's the truth: Jackson was a slave trader. He didn’t just own the 150+ slaves that built his Tennessee plantation, The Hermitage, he also bred, raised, and sold them. Jackson got rich off trafficking in human flesh. 

There’s a reason President Obama removed Jackson’s portrait from the Oval Office. 

There's a reason why so many fought to have Jackson's image replaced with Harriet Tubman's on the US $20 bill.

Andrew Jackson, Trail of Tears

Jackson also wrote the proverbial book on ethnic cleansing. Remember the Trail of Tears? That was Jackson’s brainchild when, as president, he forcibly removed the Choctaw, Seminole, Creek, Chickasaw, and Cherokee native peoples from the U.S. southern states, forcing them on a 1,000-mile trek to what is now Oklahoma without sufficient food, clothing, shelter, or blankets, thereby wiping out their cultures forever.

In that same alt-truth address referred to above, the current president of the U.S. stated that “everyone in Tennessee loves Andrew Jackson.” Well, I take umbrage. Nashville is one of my hometowns, so I know that I am not the only person from TN to find thoroughly and utterly disturbing Trump's fondness for a man so racist he would leverage the power of Congress to commit crimes against humanity.

As I said, you can learn a lot about someone by knowing whom they admire. Which begs the question: Is it possible Trump shares his history hero’s total lack of regard for anyone that doesn’t look like himself? Or is he simply ignorant of the true historical facts?

Whatever the answer, his choice of #HistoryHero is an obvious sign of what's increasingly clear:

Cultural literacy is at stake today.

When I first started the Time Traveler Tours project, it was all about “making history fun.” As the new century evolved into its second decade, I noticed young people all around me – the very generation most hurt by the loss of humanities education in schools in favor of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) – were turned off to history.

I also noted how the travel and tourism sectors were neglecting this same population. So, I set out to capture their attention with immersive, engaging, quality content and to build an enterprise based on my passion to #TurnHistoryOn in collaboration with museums and heritage institutions.

But now I see the project differently. With cultural illiteracy on the ascendance, so much so that it's infiltrated the White House, and with complacency toward the facts holding sway over critical thinking and healthy skeptical discourse, the goal must shift:

Bessie Coleman, TTT Quotage

It is time to #MakeHistoryMatterNow.

A past forgotten is too easily repeated. And in this current climate of cultural illiteracy, of clinging to alternative truths, of labeling the real as fake and the fake as real, the past most at risk of being repeated still exists in living memory.

Please join us in celebrating history! 

Let's face down the good, the bad, and the ugly together.

Let's use knowledge and truth as a form of resistance.

Refuse to be dumbed down. Help us to #TurnHistoryOn.

Keep the past alive by shouting out the name of your #HistoryHero today.

All you have to do is just message us their name. We’ll find a good picture and choose a great quote and tag you when we feature him or her in our upcoming #HistoryHero blog series. We may even interview you about them, if you're keen, for an upcoming podcast we're considering. More on that to follow. For now...

Click here and tell us: Who's your #HistoryHero?

Message us today!