The idea seems bound to upset almost everybody but it seems probable, nonetheless
In 1975, I was asked by Robert Hoffman, a publisher himself, and the son of Sylvan Hoffman, the originator of an American history in the format of a newspaper, News of the Nation, to become the Associate Editor of a new edition of the book. The first edition, published in 1953 had been a Book-of-the-Month selection, the subject of high praise in a "My Day" column by Eleanor Roosevelt, and had sold widely as a textbook as well.
The publisher, Prentice-Hall, sent me a book containing all of the politically correct grammar already in vogue by then. I cut out about a third of the old edition, added new pieces on cultural and social history, as well as bringing the book up to date, I had, beyond Bob, about a half dozen various editors at P-H, who were looking over all of the hundreds of articles I produced.
Amazingly, there were only two of my articles that caused a bit of a controversy. One detailed how after the War with Mexico, Hispanics in the southwest had been deprived of their property, and the efforts of the Justice Dept. to rectify that injustice. It was deemed too permeated with notions of Marxism and class conflict. I gave in to the majority when it became clear that they had no understanding of libertarian class theory and property rights.
The second involved Colon. The first edition carried a story entitled, "Fourteen Italian Cities Claim Columbus," which I suggested be replaced by a piece called "Was Columbus a Jew? I was especially excited by the opportunity this offered in the Teacher's Guide to introduce the teachers to some of the exciting literature that existed on this subject. Most of the editors were themselves Jews, but I was again overridden, not because my research was wrong, but because no one wanted to offend any Italian-American readers. Oh well, 2 out of maybe 400 ain't bad!
For those in doubt about the question of Columbus, I recommend, especially, Salvador de Madariaga's classic, Christopher Columbus; Being the Life of the Very Magnificent Lord, Don Cristobal Colon (1940), but, these days try Googling "Columbus+Jews" as well, along with other variations. In the turmoil of the Inquisition, Colon's family had left Spain for Genoa, but he continued to use Spanish and as a young man fought with the French against Genoa.
He began his diary at the time of the expulsion of the Jews early in 1492, and his log was later kept in the Jewish calendar. It was the Jewish bankers around Ferdinand, himself of Jewish ancestry, who financed the expedition with a motive of finding some opportunity for the Jews. Sephardics did come to the New World, and it is perhaps no accident that the Cubans were known as the Jews of the Caribbean.
My point is not to attempt to build that case here, that has been done in a number of books, but to ask, why has this information, even as controversy, not made its way into American textbooks? I am less concerned with political correctness than with correct accuracy.
Comments? Email John Ray