James W. Loewen is an acclaimed historian and best-selling author whose mission is to overturn myths and misinformation that too often pass for U.S. history.
A highly sought-after speaker and author, he engages audiences with intelligence and humor, honing in on a range of topics encompassing U.S. history, multicultural education, civil rights, race relations, voting rights, law and social science.
His gripping retelling of U.S. history, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong (1995) was the result of two years research, comparing twelve U.S. history textbooks widely used throughout the country. Lies My Teacher Told Me is, in part, a telling critique of existing books but more importantly, a wonderful retelling of U.S history as it should - and could - be taught to students. The book has sold some one million copies and was the winner of the 1996 American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship.
Loewen’s latest book is The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The "Great Truths" about the "Lost Cause" (with Edward Sebesta) that examines the original reasoning behind secession and subsequent myth-making was in defense of slavery and white supremacy.
Loewen's Teaching What Really Happened offers teachers specific ideas for how to get students excited about history, how to get them to DO history and how to help them read critically. It also helps teachers tackle difficult but important topics like the American Indian experience, slavery, and race relations.
Loewen is also author of The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White (1988), Lies My Teacher Told Me About Christopher Columbus (1992), Lies Across America: What Our Historic Markers and Monuments Get Wrong (2000) and Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism (2005) which was named “Distinguished Book of 2005” by the Gustavus Myers Foundation. The acclaimed book tells how thousands of communities in the United States excluded African, Chinese, Jewish, or Native Americans between 1890 and 1970s, and how some still do.
His other books include Mississippi: Conflict and Change (1974, co- authored), which won the Lillian Smith Award for Best Southern Nonfiction but was rejected for public school text use by the State of Mississippi, leading to the path-breaking First Amendment lawsuit, Loewen et al. v. Turnipseed, et al. The American Library Association considers this historic First Amendment Case as one of the foundations of our “right to read freely.”
An educator who attended Carleton College, Loewen holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University, and taught race relations for twenty years at the University of Vermont. Prior to that, he taught at Mississippi’s Tougaloo College, a historically Black College. He now lives in Washington, D.C., continuing his research on how Americans remember their past. He is also a regular contributor to the History Channel's History magazine.
Loewen has been an expert witness in more than 50 civil rights, voting rights, and employment cases. His awards include the First Annual Spivack Award of the American Sociological Association for “sociological research applied to the field of intergroup relations,” the American Book Award (for Lies My Teacher Told Me), and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship. He is also Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.