Just as much of world history revolves around the birth of Christ (BC, “before Christ,” and A.D., anno domini”) American history revolves around 1776 – July 4th, to be precise. The day that the Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence.
But rather than seeing that date as ushering in freedom and American Exceptionalism, as most Americans do, some extreme radicals see it as a day when slavery and systemic racism was locked into the fabric of our nation.
In protest of America, the New York Times proposed changing our “start date” to 1619 (the year slave ships first arrived in the New World) to diminish the impact of all that happened in 1776. They proffered a new version of American History, distorting facts to tell the story of a nation built specifically to enslave some for the profit of others. Its locus is “the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
Thus was born the 1619 Project.
Historians lined up to point out blatant errors in the 1619 Project’s version of events, but this did not stop the ideas from being turned into school curriculum. This effort continues even after the New York Times was forced to admit that the major assertion of the essay, that maintaining slavery was a primary motivation for those who revolted against England, is not just wrong but demonstrably the opposite of the truth.
Activist Nicole Hannah-Jones, the author of the original essay, explains that the primary purpose of the 1619 project is not to teach history but to force “white people to give up whiteness.” At a later date, she stated the following: “When my editor asks me, like, what’s your ultimate goal for the project, my ultimate goal is that there’ll be a reparations bill passed.”
Tragically, and despite all these issues, interest in pushing the 1619 curriculum into schools continues. Some of the historical rewrites it proposes:
- “America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made It One. Without the idealistic, strenuous and patriotic efforts of black Americans, our democracy today would most likely look very different—it might not be a democracy at all.” (This country was set up as a Republic specifically to avoid the perils of mob rule. The word ‘democracy’ doesn’t appear in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.)
- The American Revolution was designed to protect slavery.
- Plantation slavery was a model for a capitalist economy.
- President Abraham Lincoln was a racist who “opposed black equality” and regarded blacks as a “problem” and planned their deportation.
Fortunately, we have the resources of the internet, and intellectually honest individuals can quickly shine the light of truth into this cavern of confusion. But if this ideology is taught to young children it may well have the effect its authors intended.
For further reading:
The Real Goals of “The 1619 Project” – The Heritage Foundation
The Flagrant Distortions and Subtle Lies of the ‘1619 Project’ – National Review
The 1776 Project – The exact opposite of the 1619 project
The Fatal Flaw of the 1619 Project Curriculum – The Ameircan Revolution Institute