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1619 Project Assault on American History Targets K-12 Education

1619 Project Assault on American History Targets K-12 Education

Traditional buildings in Jamestown, Virginia. (Jennifer Thompson/Dreamstime)

By Wednesday, 15 July 2020 10:03 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Ideological attacks on America’s history are being incorporated into a growing number of public K-12 school programs throughout our country portray America as a hopelessly racist culture. The central theme relies upon a hotly contested school of thought known as the "New History of Capitalism" (NHC) which asserts that modern American capitalism is forever rooted in plantation slavery of the pre-Civil War South.

This "1619 Project" was launched as a proposed school curriculum in 2019 with several New York Times Sunday magazine essays expressly intended to "reframe the country’s history" by replacing 1776 as America’s founding date and substituting 1619.

That was the year 20 or so African slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia.

Nikole Hannah-Jones who conceived the project and wrote the introductory essay offered a dismally dark vision where America’s Blacks futilely struggle for equal rights against persistent white racism which "runs in the very DNA of this country." She also claims that President Lincoln, our nation’s Great Emancipator, "opposed black equality."

The Hannah-Jones essay attributes "one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare that their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery as abolitionist sentiment began rising in Britain."

Princeton historian Sean Wilentz who has criticized the 1619 Project’s "cynicism," circulated a letter to Times Editor Jake Silverstein. The letter objected most particularly to poor factual scholarship of some of Hannah-Jones works. It was signed by James McPherson, Gordon Wood, Victoria Braun, and James Oakes, all leading historical researchers.

The letter referred to "matters of verifiable fact" that "cannot be described as interpretation or 'framing,'"and said that the project reflected "a displacement of historical understanding by ideology."

The signatories demanded that the Times make corrections.

Prof. Wilentz told The Atlantic that "to teach children that the American Revolution was fought in part to secure slavery would be giving a fundamental misunderstanding not only of what the American Revolution was all about but what America stood for and has stood for since the Founding."

Wilentz also noted that "The fight for black freedom is a universal fight: it’s a fight for everyone. In the end, it affected the fight for women’s rights — everything. That’s the glory of it. To minimize that in any way is, I think, bad for understanding the radical tradition in America."

Berkley historian Steven Hayward believes that the Hannah-Jones claim of Revolutionary War fighting to preserve slavery is totally at odds with the facts. As he put it, the American Founding had an "indispensable role in making slavery a central political problem for the first time in history."

Or as black Northwestern University historian Leslie Harris told Politico, "Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies."

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon Wood characterized the 1619 Project as being "so wrong in many ways." Wood said, "It still strikes me as amazing why the NY Times would put its authority behind a project that has such weak scholarly support."

James McPherson, another Pulitzer winner, said the Times presented an "unbalanced, one-sided account" that "left most of the history out." McPherson critically dismissed the project’s “implicit position that there have never been any good white people, thereby ignoring white radicals and even liberals who have supported racial equality."

Disturbingly, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that is unaffiliated with the Pulitzer Prizes, reported that it has released 1619 project-related materials to more than 3,500 classrooms, and schools or school districts in Chicago; Newark, N.J.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Washington, D.C. have produced 1619 Project-related events.

Some districts have gone a step further by developing special programs wholly dedicated to a study of the project. The Carroll School in Brooklyn, NY, which serves K–5 students, is working to secure a federal Title 3 grant to fund the creation of an "after-school enrichment program" based on the project.

A foundational 1619 lesson plan titled "Exploring the Idea of America" asks youngsters to look for evidence of American "slavocracy" in their lives and surroundings.

One set of questions, for example, asks students to support the claim that the country was founded as a slavocracy, "What examples of hypocrisy in the founding of the U.S. does Hannah-Jones supply? What evidence can you see for how 'some might argue that this nation was founded not as a democracy but as a slavocracy'?"

Other lesson plans include "Mapping Your Community’s Connection to Slavery," in which students are asked to pick an article from the project and use it to develop a pitch "for a news story about how this topic intersects with race in your community."

As observed by the New York Post’s Editorial Board, "If this effort succeeds in shaping the nation’s youth — tomorrow’s leaders — it will be a grievous blow to this country’s noble experiment in liberty, in which Americans have always fought to make promises of the Declaration of Independence true for all its citizens."

The Post carried a headline banner in its appraisal, declaring, "Curriculum Based on New York Times’ Wildly Wrong '1619 Project' would be educational malpractice."

They got that assessment wildly right.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. Larry has written more than 600 articles for Newsmax and Forbes and is the author of several books. Included are: "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure and Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.

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Berkley historian Steven Hayward believes that the Hannah-Jones claim of Revolutionary War fighting to preserve slavery is totally at odds with the facts.
newyorktimes, curriculum
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2020-03-15
Wednesday, 15 July 2020 10:03 AM
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