Finding Your Roots: Aka Ted Danson And More Anne Hutchinson Myth-Making

The series in itself is interesting, but we had two issues with that particular episode: it presented myths as history; and some of its guests were remarkably—suspiciously, even–ignorant of extremely well-known stories of American history…How we wish that Danson would learn the truth about his ancestor. He would learn about the first serious challenge to the puritan state in America, how it rose to that challenge and used it to craft the first separation of church and state in English America, and how one intelligent and charismatic person can turn a society on its head.

— Source: Finding Your Roots: Aka Ted Danson And More Anne Hutchinson Myth-Making

Provocative post from The Historic Present about flaws in the way history is presented in the popular show “Finding Your Roots” on PBS, focusing on Season 4, Episode 3 and actor Ted Danson’s ancestor Anne Hutchinson.  Raises interesting questions about the stories we tell ourselves, how history is used and misused to bolster present-day narratives, and about which stories an American should know.

painting of courtroom scene
“Anne Hutchinson on Trial” by Edwin Austin Abbey (1901)

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Dr. Annelies Kamran is V.P. for Content and Product Development at WorldView Software, Inc.

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