Top historians slam New York Times ‘1619 Project’ as it infiltrates public school curriculum

By Shelby Talcott

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.

“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.

Wood said no one approached him about the project and that “none of the leading scholars of the whole period from the Revolution to the Civil War” appeared to have been consulted either. Wood continued on to provide evidence that he said negates multiple points made in The NYT’s project.

American Civil War historian and Pulitzer Prize winner James M. McPherson was also interviewed by WSWS on Nov. 14, and he called the project lacking in “context and perspective.” Like Wood, McPherson was never made aware of the project until it came out.

“Because this is a subject I’ve long been interested in I sat down and started to read some of the essays,” McPherson 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.”

McPherson also countered some of The NYT’s points throughout the project. He, like Wood, said the outlet never approached him. He added that lead writer of the “1619 Project” Nikole Hannah-Jones’s claim that “anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country” did not “make much sense” to him.

“I suppose she’s using DNA metaphorically,” McPherson said. “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.”

“But the idea that racism is a permanent condition, well that’s just not true.”

Historian James Oakes was also interviewed by WSWS on Nov. 18. He said that “their work has prompted some very strong criticism from scholars in the field.”

“These are really dangerous tropes,” Oakes said about some of the claims the project makes. “They’re not only ahistorical, they’re actually anti-historical. The function of those tropes is to deny change over time. It goes back to those analogies.”

Oakes added that some of the project’s assertions are just “ridiculous” and he, too, provides contextual evidence to disprove some of The NYT’s “reframing.”

NYT reporter Ida Bae Wells, who is working on the project, dismissed the historian’s viewpoints of the “1619 Project.” She tweeted that McPherson did not read the entire project and therefore should not be taken seriously.

“They are using a scholar who did not feel inclined to study the work he is dismissing in order to attempt to make an argument about the faultiness of the scholarship in the 1619 Project,” Wells tweeted Nov. 26. “What they are actually doing, without knowing, is demonstrating why this project must exist.”

“As a black woman, I literally cannot *imagine* sitting down for a recorded interview on a major work that I haven’t bothered to read thoroughly. I wld have either declined the interview or read the project & gathered detailed thoughts about it. That he did not speaks for itself,” she also tweeted.

Wells also wrote that since McPherson is a Civil War historian, his viewpoint also doesn’t matter because “the 1619 Project scans 400 years and is absolutely not a history of the Civil War.” She did not give an opinion about the other historians who disputed the project. The project, which Wells herself said “scans 400 years,” would include the Civil War as it began in 1861.

The New York Times did not respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Haxorjoe

10 thoughts on “Top historians slam New York Times ‘1619 Project’ as it infiltrates public school curriculum

  1. And was given unprecedented access courtesy of manchurian traitor Hussein to himself, White House and State Dept allowing him to remove evidence:

    Soo sleazy…Killary and Hussein are hovering around White House like sharks for cover…crimes are abt to be exposed…looks like pants on fire…as*es catching…Biden, Killary and now possibly Hussein seem to think running for potus…or family member, is the ticket to avoiding 3 hots and a cot?

  2. Democrat Party cannot win the national without the black vote and support…(or hispanic community).

    This is a soviet-style revisionism s courtesy of George Soros infusion of cash in an attempt to destroy our nation and all we stand for.

    It won’t work…the party of slavery and the KKK is losing badly. Democrat Plantation is losing its victims as racial minorities and women prosper as a result of the Trump economy.

    Dignity, self-respect and money talk…stupid selfrighteous scolds are ignored…bc their former supporters all have jobs and are busy working.

  3. Who cares about the New York Times? It lost whatever creditability it ever had years ago. Let’s move on.

  4. Wouldn’t it be fair and balanced to include the other North American colony of the period – Plymouth Plantation? Of course not. That story doesn’t satisfy the NYT’s racist narrative. The Pilgrims had no slaves, they created the governance construct of private property and thrived of their own accord after nearly starving to death from the throws of their initial Mayflower Compact – a governance of commonwealth (i.e. socialism).

    Jamestown, on the other hand, maintained the commonwealth governance of the English Crown and would have failed too, as the Roanoke colony did earlier, were it not for the injection of slaves and continued material support from Britain.

    The Pilgrims, on the other hand, had no additional support and their innovative free market capitalism won the day. That’s why the NYT doesn’t mention them.

    • Well said, Mr. Eshelman! The effort to rewrite America’s history is just another weapon in the Left’s attempt to deconstruct, in the eyes of coming generations, the historical liberties which have made America the unparalleled human success which only the envious and the Bolsheviks, (excuse the tautology) could deny.

      • Unfortunately, its not just ‘an effort’ to rewrite history. The public school monopoly, strengthened by Act 46, is the globalist’s propaganda tool. In Vermont, its become entrenched with a legislative super-majority elected by well organized government, social, education and health workers.

        But there’s still a way for individual parents to break free of that monopoly.

        16 V.S.A. § 822 (c)(1)
        A school district may both maintain a high school and furnish high school education by paying tuition to an approved independent school or an independent school meeting education quality standards if the school board judges that a student has unique educational needs that cannot be served within the district or at a nearby public school.The judgment of the board shall be final in regard to the institution the students may attend at public cost.

        All children have ‘unique educational needs’. Elect sympathetic local school boards. Restore liberty and freedom.

        • Post Script: Put on your tin-foil hats. In keeping with my personal conspiracy theory – 16 V.S.A. § 822 (c)(1) will soon be revised by Vermont’s super-majority legislature to close what it perceives to be a loophole in its educational stranglehold.

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