Schools are teaching the “1619 Project” – the New York Times Magazine‘s “historical research” project that claims the American experiment was never about anything but slavery.
Completely as predicted. Robbie Soave at Reason:
School districts in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Buffalo, New York, have decided to update their history curricula to include the material, which posits that the institution of slavery was so embedded in the country’s DNA that the country’s true founding could be said to have occurred in 1619, rather than in 1776.
“One of the things that we are looking at in implementing The 1619 Project is to let everyone know that the issues around the legacy of enslavement that exist today, it’s an American issue, it’s not a Black issue,” Dr. Fatima Morrell, associate superintendent for culturally and linguistically responsive initiatives for Buffalo Public Schools, told Buffalo’s NPR station.
The project, shall we say, is widely unaccepted by historians:
Many historians, though, have questioned The 1619 Project’s accuracy. Five of them penned a letter to The New York Times expressing dismay “at some of the factual errors in the project and the closed process behind it.” These historians said the project’s contention that the American Revolution was launched “in order to ensure slavery would continue” was flat-out wrong.
Another historian, Phil Magness of the American Institute for Economic Research, has criticized Matthew Desmond’s 1619 Project essay, which claimed that modern American capitalism has its roots in plantation slavery. Magness has persuasively argued that this claim lacks verification, and that Desmond relied on bad data about cotton-picking rates in the pre-Civil War south.
“Desmond’s thesis relies exclusively on scholarship from a hotly contested school of thought known as the New History of Capitalism (NHC),” wrote Magness in a second article. “Although NHC scholars often present their work as cutting-edge explorations into the relationship between capitalism and slavery, they have not fared well under scrutiny from outside their own ranks.”
But I’m going to take issue with Soave on one part, though:
Some conservative critics have overreached: Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called The 1619 Project “propaganda” and suggested that the Times was trying to brainwash readers. That line of attack goes too far, but there are valid criticisms of the project’s ideological slant.
I can’t – and don’t want to – speak for the authors’ intent. But the fact that it is being used to gaslight the next generation about what American is about means it is propaganda, whatever its intent.