The 1619 Project, which sought to “reframe” American history, showed a nation conceived in racism and rotten to the core. The factual accuracy of the Project left much to be desired, according to prominent historians.
The headline on Ms. Nicole-Hannah’s winning essay was “Our Democracy’s Founding Ideals Were False When They Were Written. Black Americans Have Fought to Make Them Real.” In the essay, Ms. Hannah-Jones blends personal recollections with her version of history.
She posits, as does the series, that the American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery. You might be interested in what some historians have said about this. But it is not just professional historians who have challenged the 1619 Project.
Robert L. Woodson, founder and president of the Woodson Center, led a number of prominent African-Americans in challenging the 1619 Project. It is called the 1776 Project. Woodson and his associates argue that not only is the 1619 Project bad history, its effects are harmful to young African Americans.
Brown University economics professor and a member of the 1776 Project, Glenn Loury wrote of the 1619 Project:
“The idea that the specter of slavery still determines the character of life among African Americans is an affront to me,” Loury said at the Friday event. “We have shown, and will continue to show, that we are not merely bobbles at the end of a historical string, being pushed this way and that by forces beyond our control.”
“I believe in America, and I believe in black people,” Loury added. “Something tells me when I read that document that the 1619 Project authors don’t. They don’t believe in America … and I’m sorry to have to report, I get the impression they don’t believe in black people.”
“The 1619 project offers a very crippling message to our children,” said Dr. Carol Swain, a former professor of political science at Princeton and Vanderbilt University. “I was spared from having that message brought to me. And I believe that if I had been exposed to that, if I had internalized that negative message, I don’t believe I would have been able to do the things I’ve done in life.”
The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher headlined his blog on the Pulitzer win “Woke Totalitarianism Wins a Big One.” Dreher writes:
The implications for the 1619 Project’s claim are radical. No fair-minded American can deny that slavery is a central fact of US history. We have collectively understood the Civil War primarily as a savage fraternal conflict to determine whether the ideals of the Declaration and the Constitution applied to all Americans, or excluded black ones. The drama of American life, from generation to generation, has emerged from the conflict between our founding ideals, and our struggle to live them out more perfectly, within the limits of our own human fallibility.
The 1619 Project, however, denies that those ideals were anything other than a façade for white supremacy. …
The Pulitzer Prize puts a seal of approval on intentionally biased history. As Dreher writes, we should all be alarmed about this:
If we can’t resist the rout of our cultural memory – if ideologues in power rewrite the past – then our future as a nation and a civilization will be in doubt.
Progressive history projects like the 1619 Project’s propaganda serve the larger goal of advancing the perceived political interests of the left’s preferred classes – often racial and sexual minorities — over others. To paraphrase Marx, in the past, historians and educators tried to interpret history in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.
Despite its factual inaccuracies and bias, the 1619 Project will be used as instructional material in U.S. schools. The Project is already in about 4,500 schools. The Pulitzer Prize confers more cachet on the Project.