Tom Hanks Tells America to Stop Whitewashing U.S. History | 22 Words

Tom Hanks has spoken out about what gets taught about race in schools urging them to "stop the battle to whitewash curriculums"...

While arguing in favor of more education about the Tulsa massacre.

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And people think he's raised some very good points. Here's the full story...

Now, Tom Hanks is one of the most famous and recognizable actors of all time...

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There's no doubt he's one of the biggest names in the business.

The star was born in 1956 in California.

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After his parents divorced when he was 5-years-old, he moved around frequently until finally settling in Oakland, California, where he attended high school.

After graduating from high school in 1974...

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Hanks attended junior college in Hayward, California, at which he eventually decided to pursue acting after reading and watching a performance of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh. He was transferred into a theater program at California State University.

The stage was where Hanks first began performing...


In 1977, he was recruited to take part in the summer session of the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Lakewood, Ohio.

He spent the following 3 years acting in various Shakespeare productions and portrayals and he spent his winters working backstage at a community theater company in Sacramento.

Hanks finally got his big break in 1984...

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After dropping out of college in 1980 and moving to New York City, he began landing small roles in movies and TV shows, such as slasher horror, He Knows You're Alone, and the sitcom series, Bosom Buddies. But, in 1984, Hanks got his first leading role in Splash, a movie about a young man who falls in love with a mermaid.

His major hit came in 1988...

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Big saw Hanks play a thirteen-year-old boy whose body was transferred into the body of a fully grown man overnight. It sounds a little strange, but it is a fantastic movie.

Hanks had proven that he could be a box office draw as well as a talented actor.

He starred in many smaller productions in the following years until he bagged the leading roles in A League Of Their Own in 1992, and Sleepless in Seattle in 1993.

Forrest Gump is probably one of Hank's most recognizable performances.

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Forrest Gump, which was released in 1994, followed the story of an Alabama man with a low IQ living through some of America's most iconic and life-changing events, such as the presidencies of J.F Kennedy and Johnson, the Vietnam war, and Watergate.

The movie touched hearts all around the world...


And Hanks' portrayal of the simple yet loyal Forrest Gump caused the entire world to fall in love with him.

The awards came pouring in...

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True to predictions, Forrest Gump was a phenomenal success and it won Oscars for best picture and director. Hanks took home a Lead Actor Oscar award and he was also awarded an Academy Award for Best Actor in the 1993 movie, Philadelphia, in which his portrayal as a man diagnosed with AIDS was considered honorable and, quite simply, magnificent.

More blockbusters were soon to follow...

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These include leading and starring roles in Apollo 13 and Disney Pixar's Toy Story in 1995.

Hanks' voiceover of Woody the Cowboy would span for generations.

Throughout the production of the Toy Story franchise, Hanks went on to star in even more movies...

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This includes the adaptation of Stephen King's The Green Mile in 1995, Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan in 1998, and Cast Away in 2000. There's truly no stopping him...

The list of Hanks' starring roles is endless...

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And it is his decades of contributions to the world of acting that has bagged him the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes.

Hanks is one of the most loved and appreciated actors out there...

And it's easy to see why.

A man of many talents, Hanks is not only an incredible actor.

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He's also a self-described historian and this week he has spoken out about something very important to do with US history.

Writing in a New York Times opinion piece, Hanks stressed the need for more education about the Tulsa massacre.

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The Tulsa massacre occurred over 2 days, May 31 and June 1, 1921, when white Americans descended upon the Greenwood district in Tulsa Oklahoma. They burnt it to the ground, looting it, and attacking residents, killing as many as 300 people.

"By my recollection, four years of my education included studying American history. Fifth and eighth grades, two semesters in high school, three quarters at a community college," he wrote.

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"Since then, I've read history for pleasure and watched documentary films as a first option. Many of those works and those textbooks were about white people and white history. The few Black figures — Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — were those who accomplished much in spite of slavery, segregation and institutional injustices in American society."

But despite his many years of education, Hanks revealed that he only learned about the Tulsa riot because of a New York Times article he read last year.

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"But for all my study, I never read a page of any school history book about how, in 1921, a mob of white people burned down a place called Black Wall Street, killed as many as 300 of its Black citizens and displaced thousands of Black Americans who lived in Tulsa, Okla," he wrote.

Describing it as "common," Hanks noted that "history was mostly written by white people about white people like me, while the history of Black people — including the horrors of Tulsa — was too often left out."

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In his history class, he instead learned "that Britain's Stamp Act helped lead to the Boston Tea Party, that 'we' were a free people because the Declaration of Independence said, 'all men are created equal.' That the Whiskey Rebellion started over a tax on whiskey."

"Should our schools now teach the truth about Tulsa? Yes, and they should also stop the battle to whitewash curriculums to avoid discomfort for students," he later wrote.

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"America's history is messy but knowing that makes us a wiser and stronger people. 1921 is the truth, a portal to our shared, paradoxical history. An American Black Wall Street was not allowed to exist, was burned to ashes; more than 20 years later, World War II was won despite institutionalized racial segregation; more than 20 years after that, the Apollo missions put 12 men on the moon while others were struggling to vote, and the publishing of the Pentagon Papers showed the extent of our elected officials' willingness to systemically lie to us. Each of these lessons chronicles our quest to live up to the promise of our land, to tell truths that, in America, are meant to be held as self-evident."

You can read his full piece here.