In this study, I argue that American history textbooks present discrete, heroic, one-dimensional, and neatly packaged master narratives that deny students a complex, realistic, and rich understanding of people and events in American history. In making this argument, I examine the master narratives of Martin Luther King, Jr., in high school history textbooks and show how textbooks present prescribed, oversimplified, and uncontroversial narratives of King that obscure important elements in King’s life and thought. Such master narratives, I contend, permeate most history textbooks and deny students critical lenses through which to examine, analyze, and interpret social issues today. The article concludes with suggestions about how teachers might begin to address the current problem of master narratives and offer alternative approaches to presenting U.S. history.
You can read the study here