I last wrote of the New York Times’ “1619 Project” on February 9 of 2020 in The 1619 Project: Academic Fraud. I began that article—which I recommend you re-read—with discussion of Michael Bellesiles, who wrote a book titled Arming America: The Origins Of A National Gun Culture. It was praised by all the right—left—people because it was the eternal anti-liberty/gun narrative, but this time, backed by purportedly genuine scholarship.
Bellesiles claimed to have scoured historical documents, including wills and probate records, and even produced quotes from the founders that seemed to suggest they were as anti-liberty/gun as the modern Democrat/Socialist/Communist Left. Bellesiles won perhaps the most coveted honor in the history profession, the Bancroft Prize. Bellesiles, and the anti-liberty/gun Left were riding high. They finally had the scholarly study that would, once and for all, do away with that annoying Second Amendment.
Alas, it was not to be. Even before the publication of the book, honest historians had questions about Bellesiles’ data and methods. No one could replicate his results. It didn’t take long to discover Bellesiles took quotes out of context, made up sources and data, and could not produce any of his notes, data sets or other documents mandatory to genuine scholarship. The Bancroft Prize was rescinded—the only time to date—the book’s publisher withdrew it and Emory University, where Bellesiles’ taught, sought and got his resignation.
About 20 years later, there is another academic fraud, but one of broader scope, one that threatens to sunder the cultural ties that make us one nation: The 1619 Project. To find all of my articles relating to this issue, enter “1619 project” in the SMM home page search bar. There are many similarities to Bellesiles’ book, but dangerous differences. It too won a formerly prestigious award:
The Pulitzer Prize for Commentary was awarded yesterday to Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times ‘[f]or a sweeping, deeply reported and personal essay for the ground-breaking 1619 Project, which seeks to place the enslavement of Africans at the center of America’s story, prompting public conversation about the nation’s founding and evolution.’ Andrew McCarthy delivered a prize-worthy comment on the award via Twitter…
I expect the Pulitzer to be rescinded as soon as the Nobel Committee rescinds Barack Obama’s Peace prize. Regular readers know the 1619 Project is D/S/C propaganda masquerading as historical scholarship. It seeks to convince Americans—particularly the young—America was founded on slavery, and slavery has tainted all since 1619, leaving modern America an irredeemably racist, hateful and evil nation full of white supremacists and bigots. Contemporary race hustlers, and D/S/Cs in general, use it as they tried to use Bellesiles’ book. However, as Mark Hemingway at Real Clear Politics writes, there is some resistance:
One interesting rebuttal is coming from the newly formed 1776 Project, which seeks to ‘uphold our country’s authentic founding virtues and values and challenge those who assert America is forever defined by its past failures, such as slavery.’ The group of predominantly black scholars and writers was organized by anti-poverty crusader and MacArthur ‘genius grant’ winner Bob Woodson, and features thoughtful essays rebutting the 1619 Project from heavyweight intellectuals such as John McWhorter, Clarence Page, and Shelby Steele.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the primary pusher of The 1619 Project, resisted back:
Earlier this week, Nikole Hannah-Jones, a New York Times Magazine staff writer and the driving force behind the 1619 project, took note of the rival effort. ‘I want to say this is my response to the 1776 project,’ she tweeted, followed by a picture of her pointing at her bottom row of gold teeth with her pinky, a dismissive and deeply unserious hip-hop gesture. She followed that up with a ‘serious’ tweet where she suggested that her African-American critics at the 1776 Project didn’t actually care about the enslaved children at the time of America’s founding. (She later deleted the tweets.)
Response to 1619 is not a “he said/she said” matter:
To be sure, there’s been so much substantive criticism of the 1619 Project that it would be impossible to respond to all of it in good faith. Gordon Wood, Sean Wilentz, James McPherson, Wilfred McClay and a who’s who of American historians have all lined up to criticize the history and ideological motivations behind it.
Simply put: 1619’s analysis of history is false. It’s the historical version of fake news.
Nonetheless, when Wood, Wilentz, McPherson, and two other eminent historians, Victoria Bynum and James Oakes, co-signed a letter asking the Times to correct ‘factual errors’ in the 1619 Project and outlined their ideological concerns, the Times editors’ response was telling. The paper expended a lot of verbiage ducking any responsibility the ‘paper of record’ might have to accurately portray history while claiming no specific historical agenda other than to ‘expand the reader’s sense of the American past,’ whatever that means.
What it means, of course, is it’s not only acceptable to lie about history, when upholding contemporary D/S/C social justice narratives are involved, it’s mandatory. Who is Nikole Hannah-Jones, the self described “Beyonce of journalism?” The Federalist helps to explain:
The New York Times’ architect of the anti-American “1619 Project” Nikole Hannah-Jones decided to just say it out lout, explicitly rejecting the idea that destroying property fits the definition of ‘violence.’
‘Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence,’ Hannah-Jones said on CBS, to which the anchors offered no challenge.
‘It’s a great point that you make Nikole,’ responded CBS’ Vladimir Duthiers.
Apparently Hannah-Jones is referring to the kind of destruction of property that is non-violent. She also conveniently fails to mention proponents of slavery and segregation—virtually all Democrats—did their best to disarm Black Americans. When Black Americans were armed, and not afraid to use their guns, the Klan fled like the cowards they were and are.
More recently, perhaps encouraged by the chaos in American cities, Hannah-Jones more fully revealed her true colors, as reported in The Federalist:
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the lead essayist on New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, wrote a letter to the editor in Notre Dame’s The Observer stating that ‘the white race is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world.’
Of course. For a brief dose of actual history, see this article by Paul Mirengoff of Powerline.
The 1619 Project has been exposed, convincingly, as a historical fraud. No real scholarship was ever expended in its production. Rather, Various contemporary “activists,” journalists (I know: one-in-the-same) and race hustlers merely threw a thin veil of pseudo-history over their contemporary social justice narratives in the hopes 1619, like Bellesiles’ book, would give their unfounded policy objectives the authority of fact, as opposed to merely their “truth.” Joe Biden spoke well for them when he said “we believe in truth over fact.”
And that, gentle readers, is the danger for our children, our future and our nation.
Bellesiles lost the Bancroft Prize. Hannah-Jones’ Pulitzer Prize will never be rescinded. Notice, please, the prize was awarded for “commentary,” yet The 1619 Project is being aggressively marketed in America’s schools—well into the elementary grades, as objective, historical fact, as, finally, the real truth truth about the founding of America. Sadly, it is finding a multitude of teachers anxious to bring this “truth” to their students.
I’ve written before of a young teacher who made it clear he saw his teaching position as a ministry, and wanted to preach—not teach—accordingly. Fortunately, my principal was a professional and gave the young man a choice of teaching or preaching, preaching to be done on someone else’s dime, time and premises.
The point is a teacher’s most valuable commodity is class time. In teaching history, there is so little time to teach the basics—actual facts–that coming generations might not make the same mistakes. There is precisely no time to teach social justice narratives, which have no place in a professional, honest curriculum. There is absolutely no time to lie about the past.
That it is necessary to say these things should alarm every American, not just Americans with school-aged children. The 1619 Project is only one means by which D/S/Cs seek to wield absolute political power, power that can never be taken from them.
With schools on pause, and six weeks or more before the resumption of school in some form or fashion, now is a good time to ask every local school district whether they are intending to use The 1619 Project. If they dissemble, conceal, or lie, or if they admit they will use it, they must be exposed, shamed and stopped by any lawful means necessary, including replacing school board members and superintendents. If not, we must admit we’re willing to allow our schools to become nothing more than political indoctrination camps.
Should that be the case, God help us, because we won’t help ourselves.