STRIKE A BLOW for revisionism: the Daughters of the American Revolution are deep into history once again and -- better late than never -- are singing the praises of black patriots, dead and alive. For the record, the DAR convention last week approved a bylaws amendment banning discrimination in any chapter on the basis of race or creed. This action followed the organization's latest research, which has led to new acknowledgments that black people not only existed in numbers in this country during the Revolution but also participated in it, with "faith and fortitude."
These last words are from a book on "Black Courage" during the Revolution, published by the DAR. Another book on minority participation during those times is also scheduled for DAR publication. Surely all this information should reinforce the new organizational resolve to include people of color in the DAR ranks. This is evident, too, in another organizational change since last year's convention. At that time, there was a flap about the specific reasons for a DAR chapter's denial of local membership to a black woman. The applicant, Lena S. Ferguson, had been accepted only for an at- large, nonvoting, non-officeholding membership. She's now a member of a chapter and is recruiting minority women.
All of this rethinking is fine, but there was one bit of revisionism last week that the 95-year history of the DAR doesn't readily support, to put it mildly. According to the DAR president, "there never has been discrimination or bigotry in our society, and this gave us an opportunity to prove it to the public." That proof may be hard to come by, but the strength of this conviction can be tested from here on out.