- Aug 30, 2014
Multiple historians have slammed the NYT "1619 Project" as others are pushing for it to continue being added into 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.
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
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.
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.
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.” ... “What they are actually doing, without knowing, is demonstrating why this project must exist.”