I think things are different now, but when I was in school in the 80s and 90s, things were whitewashed. Columbus was still a huge hero back then.
I was not taught that atrocities were inflicted on the south. I was NOT taught that. I was taught that slavery was bad, that the north fought to end it, and the south wanted it, but the south lost. We probably talked about a few battles that turned the tide, and that was it.
I didn't know about atrocities until in my 30s. You can't blame a kid for not knowing what she doesn't know. My history lessons were very "America is awesome and so Americans never commit atrocities. What an un-American thought! Anyone who says otherwise is a commie!"
That all started to change after I got out of school. Probably colleges taught a much more realistic view, but I didn't go to college and my middle and high schools didn't touch on the hard stuff. When they talked about atrocities, it was always in WWII and not anywhere else. WWII was made out to be a huge anomaly of atrocities that the world had never seen before and hopefully would never see again.
Things started changing for me when some books were made popular about Columbus and how he wasn't a good man and committed atrocities. I remember honestly thinking that when people started saying Columbus was a bad man that they were trying to re-write history. I had never heard such awful things and honestly thought it was a chilling, manipulative rewrite of our glorious past. It was about that time, that I started finding out I hadn't been taught the whole story.
I know that you are better educated about things like that and it's strange to you to hear it, but that's what I experienced.
I've filled in the gaps since then, but if you're a kid and not specifically taught these things, you don't know them. You don't make leaps that "well atrocities always occur, so I'm sure the south had atrocities inflicted on them" if you aren't told the whole story. You believe what your teachers tell you for the most part.
Then again, the world is different. There was no internet back then and everything was made nicey-nice on purpose.
Yup, this is pretty much what I was taught, also in Maryland schools.
I remember just a few (maybe 5?) years ago, in a college class learning about the internment of Japenese citizens after Pearl Harbor. I posted about it here: I had NEVER heard of this! Perhaps I was absent that day, or busy writing "Danielle Loves Billy 4-ever" in multi-colored markers on my folder while that little chapter of American history was mentioned, but I had NO IDEA that this had happened. No clue at all. I do remember being horrified about Hiroshima and Nagasaki; information given in a "By the way" manner. I remember thinking, "All those many tens of thousands of people were burned up
? So, we just obliterated whole regions of human life in an afternoon? And we're sitting here talking about it like 'la-dee-da! That's what happened!'"? It was (and is) so disturbing to me.
For my little 2 cents on the Confederate Battle Flag: I do see it flown here in MD. There is a house not ten minutes away that has a large one perpetually displayed in the window. I see them flying from pick-up trucks. I must say, I have never, ever, not once thought, "Probably a history buff." The meaning with which that flag is displayed here is quite clear and it doesn't mean, "my great-granddaddy fought for the South," although I have heard that justification offered.
Also, I do not see how anyone can fly the Confederate Battle Flag while saying it does not mean they are racist when they clearly see from incidents like Dylan Root and Charlottsville that that is the meaning for which it now stands, whatever it might have meant years ago. If a symbol I used to adhere to changed in meaning to something repugnant to me, then that symbol would HAVE to be abandoned by me, full stop.