The 1619 Project is a journalism project spearheaded by Nikole Hannah-Jones, a New York Times journalist. In 2019, Hannah-Jones launched a project to re-examine the legacy of slavery in the United States, timed for the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia. The project launched an important dialogue about “Critical Race Theory.”
Opposition to the 1619 Project has been so intense that the University of North Carolina back-tracked and refused to grant tenure to Hannah-Jones, apparently due to outside political pressure, based on her work on the 1619 Project. It has been reported that there is a Republican-led push to limit the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory.
Hannah-Jones received a Pulitzer Prize for the 1619 Project, and won a MacArthur award, yet she has been refused tenure, even though the university had previously praised her skills very highly. Hannah-Jones is considering filing a lawsuit against the University of North Carolina.
Central to the argument against the 1619 Project is the notion of “critical race theory.”
The 1619 Project, which has been adopted by school systems in several states, was created to mark the date enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to American soil. The project’s goal is to place “the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
Recently, in a letter, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to encourage public schools to strip from their curricula projects that he claims promote “revisionism” of U.S. history. McConnell said the 1619 Project and other programs strive to “reorient” U.S. history “away from their intended purposes toward a politicized and divisive agenda.”
“Actual, trained, credentialed historians with diverse political views have debunked the project’s many factual and historical errors, such as the bizarre and inaccurate notion that preserving slavery was a primary driver of the American Revolution,” the letter says.
Hannah-Jones’ response, in an MSNBC interview, reportedly was her belief that Senator McConnell is “just saying that the truth is too difficult for apparently our nation to bear and that we’re far too fragile to be able to withstand the scrutiny of the truth.” Her response makes a lot of sense.
When looking at this situation with clear, unbiased eyes, it becomes apparent that America is not yet ready to air her dirty laundry. America is in huge denial. This is probably one of the reasons why so many white Americans do not, or cannot, jump on the bandwagon in an acknowledgement of the impact that slavery had, and continues to have, on Black Americans.
If the truth be told, the maltreatment has been so extreme that it has adversely impacted Black people who came to the United States far after slavery ended. They were subjected to Jim Crow policies and more. American slavery was so perverse that it created a ripple that is having an impact down to this very day!
That those in the highest halls of power refuse to acknowledge the damage that slavery has done is beyond belief, and reveals that the American establishment is dishonest and disingenuous.
This is becoming more and more obvious, even as the wheels of voter suppression are churning more feverishly than they have in many years. The white Republican establishment is determined to hold onto power, even if it means that they will have to lie, cheat, and steal to achieve it.
Fortunately, it is not all up to them. The universe responds to intention and demand. If the Black community can reach a point of really working together to fight this attack on human freedom and dignity, the malicious Republican plotters and other hidden enemies will not meet with success.
A unified approach on the part of Black people can ensure that reparations will be forthcoming. They are clearly owed to us. In this regard, if we act on one accord, it would not be a matter of “if” reparations are going to be given, but in what form they will take!
And finally, we hope that Nikole Hannah-Jones is successful in repelling the really blatant disrespect and maltreatment that is coming her way due to her desire to reveal the truth about America’s tainted history and its impact on Black Americans! A Luta Continua.