Presidential historian writes new book about George Washington

Alexis Coe, the author of a book about George Washington, “You Never Forget Your First,” appeared online at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)

 

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – It’s in fashion now to highlight the flaws of people who used to be heroes.

The author of a new book about George Washington, “You Never Forget Your First,” appeared online at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. SIU Paul Simon Public Policy Institute director John Shaw read a passage back to Alexis Coe:

“Although estates like Mount Vernon are called plantations. it’s a word inflected with genteel romanticism. Washington not only had slaves, but at times he was a pretty tough slaveowner who punished his slaves quite harshly,” Shaw read.

Noting it was interesting that Shaw chose that part of the book, Coe responded, “I rewrote that an awful lot; that sentence and that paragraph.

“You will not find that in another Wash book.”

Coe went on to say that in recent years, you could not drive past a plantation without seeing a wedding – a jarring disconnect from the treatment slaves received on that very land.

Dave Dahl can be reached at news@wjbc.com

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