The Patriot Post® · Even Leftist Historians Rebuke 1619 Project

By Brian Mark Weber ·

Just last summer, The New York Times launched its 1619 Project on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first African slaves to North America. If you’ve forgotten what this project is all about, here’s a good overview of its radical and transformative agenda.

The authors of the Times’ project don’t care much if American adults refuse to buy into the hogwash that our country’s entire independence movement was nothing more than a ruse for holding onto slavery. What’s more important is making sure tomorrow’s leaders are programmed and ready to take down Western history, culture, and values in one fell swoop, hence the focus on spreading the 1619 Project through America’s school curriculum.

When the project was first released, the criticism came from constitutional scholars and conservatives who actually learned real American history during a time when teaching students to love their country wasn’t controversial. These critics were quick to denounce what the 1619 Project attempted to present as truth. But now even some communist academics and historians have had enough with the project.

The Times revisionists know they’re in trouble when even the most extreme leftists think they’re making stuff up.

The Washington Post’s Katie Mettler writes, “Five historians recently wrote to the New York Times Magazine, asking the architects of its comprehensive 1619 Project, which tells the founding narrative of America through the lens of slavery, to issue several corrections. They argued that assertions in the 1619 package about the motivations that sparked the Revolutionary War and President Abraham Lincoln’s views on black equality were misleading.”

One of the issues with the 1619 Project is the claim that the Revolutionary War was fought by the colonists in order to protect slavery, not to establish a society founded on God-given rights and individual liberty. This is easily dismissed with some middle-school-level research into primary historical documents and events.

The Founding Fathers took swift steps to prevent the spread of slavery in the new nation, including the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. And several states soon began to eradicate slavery within their borders. Frederick Douglass, who endured the horrors of slavery during his early years before escaping to freedom, referred to the new American Constitution as a “glorious liberty document.”

All the abolitionists inspired by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution must have had it wrong all along.

In a letter to the editor of the Times Magazine, five historians asked that the Times, “according to its own high standards of accuracy and truth, issue prominent corrections of all the errors and distortions presented in The 1619 Project.” Furthermore, the five demanded, “We also ask for the removal of these mistakes from any materials destined for use in schools, as well as in all further publications, including books bearing the name of The New York Times. We ask finally that The Times reveal fully the process through which the historical materials were and continue to be assembled, checked and authenticated.”

They added, “Those connected with the project have assured the public that its materials were shaped by a panel of historians and have been scrupulously fact-checked. Yet the process remains opaque. The names of only some of the historians involved have been released, and the extent of their involvement as ‘consultants’ and fact checkers remains vague. The selective transparency deepens our concern.”

Who could argue with this? After all, shouldn’t transparency be central to a ground-breaking piece of work like the 1619 Project, something that has the power to change the way millions of Americans think about their country’s history?

Times Editor-in-Chief Jake Silverstein was quick to react to the historians’ request for accuracy and evidence. But his response merely summed up why the 1619 Project should be rejected by historians, teachers, and students alike. Silverstein wrote, “We are not ourselves historians, it is true. We are journalists, trained to look at current events and situations and ask the question: Why is this the way it is?”

In other words, The New York Times wants to alter the American people’s understanding of history and of our nation’s founding documents based on the political viewpoints of journalists.

“We did not assemble a formal panel for this project,” Silverstein added. Of course they didn’t. Doing so would have undermined their agenda and made it even more challenging to concoct and promote this pseudo-history.

Now that criticism of the 1619 Project is coming from all sides, maybe it’s time to leave history up to the historians.