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Top Historians Slam NYT ‘1619 Project’ As It Infiltrates Public School Curriculum

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Multiple historians slammed The New York Times Magazine’s “1619 Project,” calling the reframing of history false and disturbing, as others are pushing for it to continue being added into public school curriculum.

The “1619 Project” is made up of multiple stories and poems about racism and slavery. It suggests America’s “true founding” was when the first slaves arrived in 1619 and “aims to reframe the country’s history.” Written by journalists and opinion writers, the project has already received criticism from many conservatives.

Historian and Brown University professor Gordon Wood called the project “wrong in so many ways” in an interview with World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) published Thursday. (RELATED: 2018 NYT Interview: Epstein Thought People Would Get Over Pedophilia Like They Got Over Homosexuality)

“I had no warning about this. … 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,” Wood said in the interview.

The “1619 Project” has already been implemented into some public schools around the country, like Chicago, and has lesson plans available for schools to begin teaching its student this reframed history. The Pulitzer Center Education Resources and Programs, which provides lesson plans for the “1619 Project,” did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.:snip:

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@Geee

Related be careful you might learn something....I did.

11.30.19

Despite how progressives may try to rewrite history, the truth is the Pilgrims were America’s first abolitionists. In fact, they also planted seeds for our equality, free market, freedom of religion, education, due process, private property, and much more! One year shy of the Plymouth Rock landing’s 400th anniversary, America has embraced Jamestown as our nation’s birthplace. Glenn sits with historians Leo Martin and David Barton, and Tim Ballard, CEO of The Nazarene Fund, in a house known as Plot No. 1, where the first Thanksgiving was held. Together, they tell the true tale of the Pilgrims – why they came here, their personal relationship with God, and their strong emphasis on family. THESE were the seeds of our nation.

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Dec. 2 2019

Thanksgiving is always a good reminder to be grateful for our friends, families, and FREEDOMS. We live in the greatest nation, but the idea of the American Dream has changed over the decades (specifically since FDR took office). Now, men are creating an American NIGHTMARE instead, focusing on what's best for the common good rather than what's best for individual rights. It's time to choose which one we want our kids to experience in generations to come.

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World Socialist Web Site

An interview with historian James McPherson on the New York Times’ 1619 Project

Tom Mackaman
14 November 2019

The World Socialist Web Site recently spoke to James McPherson, professor emeritus of history at Princeton University, on the New York Times’ 1619 Project. McPherson is the author of dozens of books and articles, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom, widely regarded as the authoritative account of the Civil War.

Q. What was your initial reaction to the 1619 Project?

A. Well, I didn’t know anything about it until I got my Sunday paper, with the magazine section entirely devoted to the 1619 Project. Because this is a subject I’ve long been interested in I sat down and started to read some of the essays. 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 slavery in the United States was only a small part of a larger world process that unfolded over many centuries. And in the United States, too, there was not only slavery but also an antislavery movement. So I thought the account, which emphasized American racism—which is obviously a major part of the history, no question about it—but it focused so narrowly on that part of the story that it left most of the history out.

So I read a few of the essays and skimmed the rest, but didn’t pursue much more about it because it seemed to me that I wasn’t learning very much new. 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.

Q. Are you aware that the glossy magazine is being distributed to schools across the country, and the Chicago public school district has already announced that it will be part of the curriculum?

A. I knew that its purpose was for education, but I haven’t heard many of the details of that, including what you’ve just mentioned.

(Snip)

Q. You mentioned that you were totally surprised when you found Project 1619 in your Sunday paper. You are one of the leading historians of the Civil War and slavery. And the Times did not approach you?

A. No, they didn’t, no.

Q. We’ve spoken to a lot of historians, leading scholars in the fields of slavery, the Civil War, the American Revolution, and we’re finding that none of them were approached. Although the Times doesn’t list its sources, what do you think, in terms of scholarship, this 1619 Project is basing itself on?

A. I don’t really know. One of the people they approached is Kevin Kruse, who wrote about Atlanta. He’s a colleague, a professor here at Princeton. He doesn’t quite fit the mold of the other writers. But I don’t know who advised them, and what motivated them to choose the people they did choose.

Q. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the lead writer and leader of the 1619 Project, includes a statement in her essay—and I would say that this is the thesis of the project—that “anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country.”

A. Yes, I saw that too. It does not make very much sense to me. I suppose she’s using DNA metaphorically. She argues that racism is the central theme of American history. It is certainly part of the history. But again, I think it lacks context, lacks perspective on the entire course of slavery and how slavery began and how slavery in the United States was hardly unique. And racial convictions, or “anti-other” convictions, have been central to many societies.

But the idea that racism is a permanent condition, well that’s just not true. And it also doesn’t account for the countervailing tendencies in American history as well. Because opposition to slavery, and opposition to racism, has also been an important theme in American history.

(Snip)

 

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FYI

About the ICFI

The World Socialist Web Site is published by the International Committee of the Fourth International, the leadership of the world socialist movement, the Fourth International founded by Leon Trotsky in 1938. The ICFI consists of Socialist Equality Party national sections throughout the world.

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