University of Alabama

Alabama history tour covers Civil War, cotton - not slaves

Schoolchildren who visit the First White House of the Confederacy learn that its famous former resident, President Jefferson Davis, was leader of a "heroic resistance" who was "held by his Negroes in genuine affection as well as highest esteem."

Such ideas, once mainstream Southern thought, have largely been abandoned by historians. But they are still part of the message at this state-supported museum in Alabama's capital city that hosts thousands of grade-school students from different ethnic backgrounds on field trips every year.

Some critics say presenting discredited notions about the Confederacy at the antebellum home where Davis lived in the early...