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The Making and Unmaking of History

Former U.S. President Harry Truman once said: “The only thing new under the sun is the history we don’t know.”

On the one-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, remembrance ceremonies and commemoration memorials were held all across the nation. But how will 9/11 be remembered in five, 50 or 100 years? What happens to events as time passes? As times change, does history get revised, and if so, by whom? How can we know that the history books we read are accurate?

We discussed some of these questions with Boston University professors Anna Geifman, whose field is Russian and Soviet history, and Bruce Shulman, whose field is 20th century U.S. history.

Afterwards, we heard excerpts from a lecture on “The African-American Search For Freedom in the American West” that was delivered recently at Boston University by Quintard Taylor, Jr., professor of History at the University of Washington.