Historian Ken Burns Commencement Speech At Brandeis University

Kent Anderson
The Left Is Right
Published in
11 min readMay 30, 2024

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This was originally posted by my friend Tom Cleaver, on Substack, noted World War II historian, Vietnam veteran and a survivor of Hollywood’s bullshit machine. He is also an author, most recently Gothic Line: The USSAF starves the German Army.

Ken Burns is an historian with documentaries spanning 50 years. The Civil War, Baseball, Vietnam, Jazz, The Roosevelts, Benjamin Franklin, Ali, Mark Twain, Country Music and his latest The American Buffalo.

This past weekend, Burns, 70, gave the commencement address at Brandeis University, the largest private Jewish university in the United States. It is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, just outside Boston. His speech allowed no doubt who he is and what he stands for.

“I am deeply honored and privileged that you have asked me here to say a few words at such a momentous occasion that you might find what I have to say worthy of your attention on so important a day in all of your lives. Thank you for this honor.

Listen, I am in the business of history. It is not always a happy subject on college campuses these days, particularly when forces seem determined to eliminate or water down difficult parts of our past, particularly when the subject may seem to sum an anachronistic and irrelevant pursuit, and particularly with the ferocious urgency this moment seems to exert on us. It is my job, however, to remind people of the power our past also exerts, to help us better understand what’s going on…

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Kent Anderson
The Left Is Right

Purveyor of Truth and Facts. Lifelong Detroiter. Journalist. Loves good TV, sports, friends and family. Mostly. Also: https://rollingwheelie.substack.com/