Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Tim Hacsi

Second Advisor

Nick Juravich

Third Advisor

Jane Becker


This paper examines the persistence of Dunning School narratives of the Reconstruction Era in high school US History textbooks, despite the thorough rejection of those narratives among academic historians at the college level and above. In examining the reasons for the persistence of these narratives, this paper acknowledges some structural elements of the textbook industry before focusing on the role of white women’s parent activism in shaping textbook content and adoption, stretching backwards to the 1890s and the Daughters of Confederate Veterans, and forward to the present day and organizations such as Moms for Liberty. This paper also points out that Dunning School narratives were never hegemonic when the work of Black historians is given full weight in the academic discourse.