There’s a new history curriculum with “a very unbalanced, one-sided account” of slavery is creeping into public schools across the country with the help of The New York Times.
It’s called “1619 Project” and it “aims to reframe the country’s history” around slavery.
Conservatives and historians who have actually studied the nation’s founding describe it as “a lie.”
“The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery,” according to the project. “It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
The materials, promoted online, include essays, poems, lesson plans, timelines, activities and other readings.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich called the project “embarrassing” and “a lie.”
“The fact is I saw one reference that The New York Times claims that the American Revolution was caused in part to defend slavery,” he told Fox & Friends. “That is such historically factual false nonsense that it’s embarrassing that The New York Times is doing this.”
“This is a tragic decline of The New York Times into a propaganda paper,” he said.
“[America’s] founding ideals were false when they were written.”
“The US is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie.”
“[O]ne of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare independence was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.”
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) August 18, 2019
Several historians told World Socialist Magazine the same thing.
Brown University historian Gordon Wood lambasted the project as “wrong is so many ways.”
Wood said first read about the 1619 Project in his Sunday edition of The New York Times, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author was shocked by how inaccurate it is.
“I read the first essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones, which alleges that the Revolution occurred primarily because of the Americans’ desire to save their slaves. She claims the British were on the warpath against the slave trade and slavery and that rebellion was the only hope for American slavery,” he said.
“This made the American Revolution out to be like the Civil War, where the South seceded to save and protect slavery, and that the Americans 70 years earlier revolted to protect their institution of slavery. I just couldn’t believe this,” Wood said.
“I was surprised, as many other people were, by the scope of this thing, especially since it’s going to become the basis for high school education and has the authority of The New York Times behind it, and yet it is so wrong in so many ways.”
James M. McPherson, another Pulitzer Prize winning historian, told the socialist magazine the 1619 Project is seriously lacking in “context and perspective.”
“because this is a subject I’ve long been interested in I sat down and started to read some of the essays,” he said. “I’d say that, almost from the outset, I was disturbed by what seemed like a very unbalanced, one-sided account, which lacked context and perspective on the complexity of slavery, which was clearly, obviously, not an exclusively American institution, but existed throughout history.”
“And I was a little bit unhappy with the idea that people who did not have a good knowledge of the subject would be influenced by this and would then have a biased or narrow view.”
Really says a lot when two leading historians on the American Revolution and Civil War both think the NYT 1619 project is full of errors and incorrect conclusions, and are against the idea of anyone using it as a basis for teaching about those periods. https://t.co/IHFoDbPSzz
— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) November 28, 2019
Another noted historian, James Oakes, told the site the 1619 Project “has prompted some very strong criticism from scholars in the field” who were not consulted when crafting the curriculum.
“These are really dangerous tropes,” Oakes said about the claims in the lessons. “They’re not only ahistorical, they’re actually anti-historical. The function of those tropes is to deny change over time.”
The project essentially argues that slavery continues in a different form in America today, which fits perfectly with the white privilege theory that’s already promoted widely in public schools.
And despite the serious, legitimate concerns about the fake or misleading history lessons from the 1619 Project, it’s already gaining traction in large public school systems.
“Thanks to our partners at the Pulitzer Center, every (Chicago Public Schools) high school will receive 200-400 copies of the New York Times’ The 1619 Project this week as a resource to help reframe the institution of slavery, and how we’re still influenced by it today – from the workforce management system created to harness enslaved labor and the incredible wealth that came from its unsparing efficiency to the music that you may very well be listening to now,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson wrote in an essay in September.
Today our IB and AP juniors @EasternHS led a school-wide workshop inspired by the NYT #1619Project to memorialize the 400th anniversary of the start of slavery in the 13 colonies and recognize the ongoing fight for racial equality pic.twitter.com/pkFgdMdpCt
— Eastern IB (@EasternIB) November 25, 2019
Public school teachers in Washington, D.C., New York and other places are also putting the lessons to use.
ICYMI: As @NYCSchools tout culturally responsive education, an inside look at one school using @nytimes #1619Project to reframe slavery @facinghistory @nhannahjones https://t.co/0Z3fNUPoha pic.twitter.com/8Qo3bW0cAX
— The 74 (@The74) December 2, 2019