For Valentine’s Day at school, students can purchase Lindt truffles for friends and they are delivered on the last day of school before Valentine’s Day. The ASA (Asian Students Association) sponsors this activity and the money raised is donated to a variety of charities. This morning Eric Foner sent me a Valentine’s Day truffle. Yes, Eric Foner loves me.
Eric Foner is a remarkable historian who has turned the Dunning interpretation of the period of Reconstruction on its head. Foner’s analysis of this period is stunningly intelligent and inclusive, speaking of the remarkable far-sightedness, almost modern ring to some of what this era accomplished (as opposed to the racist Dunning perspective). I had the privilege of attending a Gilder Lehrman Summer Institute several years ago with him and twenty other teachers at Columbia in New York, engaging in lively conversation about this provocative period in American history.
I speak very highly of Foner to my students, often referencing my admiration for the work he has done in reinterpreting a critical piece of our history. In our recent unit on Reconstruction we have read a couple of pieces he wrote and watched a documentary where he and his words have figured prominently. Mischievously my students began a banter around my love for Foner. “Does your husband know how much you care for Foner?” With a finger in front of my lips, I told them not to breathe a word of this to him.
And so, today, a chocolate from my favorite historian, or at the very least from a budding historian in the Middle School.