The garbage piece of historical fiction known as the “1619 Project” was published in the New York Times Magazine last year. The wildly-inaccurate “history” project was spearheaded by writer Nikole Hannah Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her efforts, despite massive objections from the historical community.
In the first installment of the project, Nikole Hannah Jones laid out the central theme of the series by writing: “Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.
By 1776, Britain had grown deeply conflicted over its role in the barbaric institution that had reshaped the Western Hemisphere. In London, there were growing calls to abolish the slave trade. This would have upended the economy of the colonies, in both the North and the South.”
Since its publication, the Project has made it into the curriculum of 3,500 schools across all 50 states, including the large school district of Chicago. These students are going to be taught an objectively false narrative, claiming, among other things, that America was founded in 1619, not 1776, to protect the institution of slavery. They’ll also be steeped in the idea that there is nothing redeemable about the principles embedded in our founding documents that led eventually to freeing of the slaves and the end of legalized segregation.
Fortunately, Senator Tom Cotton isn’t having it, and is doing something about it. He is proposing a bill to ban schools from teaching the 1619 Project in their classrooms.
The Washington Post reported, “Last week, the conservative lawmaker proposed a bill seeking to ban schools from adopting the project as a part of their curriculum. The series of essays, poetry, and fiction peddled the false notion, he alleged, that America is a ‘systemically racist country’ with slavery irredeemably trapped inside its core.
“As the Founding Fathers said, it [slavery] was the necessary evil upon which the union was built,” he told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette over the weekend. “The union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”
The fake history project has drawn condemnation from leading American history scholars who sent a correction request to the New York Times. The correction request was signed by Victoria Bynum of Texas State University, James M. McPherson (who wrote a seminal book on the Civil War called the Battle Cry of Freedom), Sean Wilentz of Princeton University, James Oakes of the City University of New York, and Gordon S. Wood of Brown University.
They wrote the following in their correction request:
“We applaud all efforts to address the enduring centrality of slavery and racism to our history. Some of us have devoted our entire professional lives to those efforts, and all of us have worked hard to advance them,” the professors wrote in their request. “Raising profound, unsettling questions about slavery and the nation’s past and present, as The 1619 Project does, is a praiseworthy and urgent public service. Nevertheless, we are dismayed at some of the factual errors in the project and the closed process behind it.”
Senator Tom Cotton deserves respect for taking a stand against this project that seeks to undo the true nature of our history. Sadly, it’s unlikely that the feckless Democrats in Congress will join him, and a generation of students will suffer as a result.