When it comes to racial justice in the United States, historian Bruce Levine argues that there is one historical figure that is often left out of the conversation. His new book aims to be the definitive biography of Congressman Thaddeus Stevens. Stevens is best known as a Radical Republican who thought Abraham Lincoln was moving too slowly on emancipation and civil rights.

Levine joins us to set the record straight about a historical figure who he says has been long misunderstood. Our guest:

Spectrum News

Rochester Police are investigating damage done to a statue of Frederick Douglass in Maplewood Park. It happened over the weekend, and police say that the statue was torn off its base, and left about 50 feet from its pedestal. The statue had been placed over the fence to Genesee River gorge and was leaning against the fence.

Police say in addition to the damage at the bottom of the statue, one of the fingers on the left hand of the statue was damaged. Aside from that damage, there was no graffiti on the statue or in the surrounding park. The statue has been removed for repairs.

Civil War-era scholar Robert May is back in Western New York – this time, to discuss reality versus fables about how enslaved people were treated during the Christmas season. The last time May was here, he led a discussion about the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials. This time around, he discusses the theme of tearing down fairy tales of the Confederacy, and instead dealing with the true nature of American history. He'll give a presentation at the Seward House Museum.

May's new book is "Yuletide in Dixie: Slavery, Christmas, and Southern Memory". He describes the book as "an assault on lingering beliefs that southern slaveholders treated their slaves humanely and that slaves were content with their bondage. May joins us on Connections. In studio:

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson did not know who Harriet Tubman was, according to the New Yorker magazine. But he's not alone: polls show that many Americans don't know much about Tubman. Why is that?

Moreover, are we failing in teaching parts of our American history? Fox News' Bill O'Reilly recently stressed that while slaves did help build the White House, as First Lady Michelle Obama mentioned in her convention speech, the slaves were well fed and had good lodging. Why would O'Reilly emphasize a part of the slave experience that appears to massage the rough edges? Our guests discuss it:

  • Geraldine Copes-Daniels, great grandniece of Harriet Tubman
  • Catherine Clinton, chair of the American History Department at the University of Texas in San Antonio, and international research professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast
  • Benjamin Lawrance, professor of international studies and director of international and global studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Maggie Moore-Holley, Harriet Tubman re-enactor