When The New York Times rolled out its 1619 Project, they insisted its aim was to radically change the way American students were taught American history. They championed the idea that our nation’s founding took place with the first instance of slavery in the colonies in 1619. But without comment, fanfare or explanation, The Times has abandoned this core point in their project leaving some to call their ethics into question.
In a September 18th, 2020, interview on CNN, the project’s chief author, Nikole Hannah-Jones, recanted and went so far as to deny that The Times ever made the argument that the true founding of the United States began in 1619 as opposed to 1776.
When asked about the criticism that President Trump has leveled at the 1619 Project, Hannah-Jones responded, “Of course, we know that 1776 was the founding of this country. The Project does not argue that 1776 was not the founding of the country.”
An examination of Hannah-Jones’ tweets shows that she has, indeed, made this statement in an official capacity. In a tweet dated August 21, 2019, she states boldly, “I argue that 1619 is our true founding…”
And a cursory examination of the project’s original text, circa August of 2019, proves Hannah-Jones’ declaration that the alternative founding date was never embraced to be false:
“The 1619 Project is a major initiative from the New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
The 1619 Project has been turned into curriculum in several locations around the country including New York and Chicago. The adoption of this radical departure from traditional curriculum on US History prompted President Trump to form the 1776 Commission tasked with promoting patriotic education in our schools.
In his announcement of the commission, the President said he sought to establish, “a national commission to promote patriotic education. It will be called the ‘1776 Commission [and] will encourage our educators to teach your children about the miracle of American history and make plans to honor the 250th anniversary of our founding [in 2026].”