History & Culture / Instagram / Politics

“1619” and CRT Aren’t Just “Divisive”—They’re FALSE

AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

1619 project

As another school year comes to a close, education – and particularly how American history is taught in the classroom – continues to be a critical battleground in the Culture Wars. Since its publication more than two years ago in the New York Times, the 1619 Project, organized, edited, and partially written by Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, has remained at the center of this controversy, serving as a flagship for the left’s wholesale effort to indoctrinate students into believing that the United States and its greatest heroes are irredeemably evil and racist. While conservatives have gone on offense against this narrative, making Critical Race Theory a household term, often lost in the debate over the “politicization” of education is the fact that not only is the 1619 Project and its view of history socially destructive, but its central claims about American history are also demonstrably false.

When the 1619 Project first began making its case in a series of essays, it was met with high praise from mainstream media pundits and left-wing politicians, but skepticism and outright condemnation from actual historians, who immediately objected to glaring inaccuracies and falsehoods littered throughout the project. In a letter to the New York Times, several prominent historians from top American universities slammed the 1619 Project as a “displacement of historical understanding by ideology,” writing that they were “dismayed at some of the factual errors in the project and the closed process behind it.”

As one example among many, the scholars point to the project’s assertion that the American Revolution was fought primarily to “ensure slavery would continue.” This is the crux of Jones’ argument – that everything in American history and contemporary society revolves around preserving slavery and a racist system which disadvantages women and people of color. “Yet,” the letter reads, “every statement offered by the project to validate [this claim] is false.” The Declaration of Independence, far from a document intended to preserve the system of slavery, “proclaimed universal equality, for blacks as well as whites,” something which, as the historians’ letter also notes, Frederick Douglass recognized in calling the Declaration of Independence a “GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT.”

In a 2019 interview about the 1619 Project, Gordon Wood, one of the world’s most celebrated historians of the American Revolution and a signatory of the New York Times letter, expounded on his criticisms of Jones’ claim that the Revolution – and thus the establishment of the United States itself – was an effort to defend the institution of slavery. In fact, Wood argues, the opposite is true. “It’s the American Revolution that makes [slavery] a problem for the world,” Wood says. “And the first real anti-slave movement takes place in North America…The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world.”

Although Wood is widely recognized as one of the leading experts on the American Revolution, he was never asked to consult on the project. In 2020, another prominent expert of the American Revolution, Professor Leslie M. Harris, also revealed that she had been consulted, and had warned the Times that Hannah-Jones’ account of the Revolution was filled with factual errors.

James McPherson, another leading scholar of American history who, like Woods, was not consulted by Hannah-Jones or the New York Times, also blasted the 1619 Project for its assertion that “black Americans have fought back alone” to end racial discrimination and segregation in the United States.

“From the Quakers in the 18th century, on through the abolitionists in the antebellum, to the radical Republicans in the Civil War and Reconstruction, to the NAACP which was an interracial organization founded in 1909, down through the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, there have been a lot of whites who have fought against slavery and racial discrimination,” McPherson said.

McPherson also noted that Hannah-Jones makes barely a mention of the Civil War in her work, dismissing the conflict which saw more than 600,000 American dead as not doing much to improve the condition of black Americans. But, McPherson argues back, while Jim Crow and segregation were far from fulfilling the promise of America, “at least children couldn’t be sold apart from their parents, wives couldn’t be sold apart from their husbands, and marriage was now a legal institution for freed-people.” In ignoring this basic and obvious truth about how the condition of black Americans improved as a result of the Civil War, Hannah-Jones both undermines her own credibility and diminishes the incredible sacrifice of generations of abolitionists, black and white, who fought to eradicate slavery in the U.S.—not to mention the countless soldiers who gave their lives for that cause in the Civil War.

Phillip W. Magness, a leading economic historian, has also thoroughly discredited the 1619 Project’s “explicit anti-capitalist political message,” which he contends is “rooted in a fundamental misreading of economic history.” While the project argues that modern American capitalism is based on financial practices developed in the slaveholding south, Magness writes that most of these practices “predate plantation slavery by several centuries.” Furthermore, the claims made in the project plainly do not match up with the stated sources, to the point where the “thesis falls apart for want of evidence.”

Following this criticism, the New York Times stood by Hannah-Jones and stubbornly refused to correct historical inaccuracies in the project. Hannah-Jones herself dismissed the dissenters as “old, white male historians,” as if the age and race of those calling her out invalidated their critiques. In a letter of his own responding to the aforementioned historians’ letter, Times editor Jake Silverstein writes that he does not believe “that the request for corrections tothe 1619 Project is warranted.” Silverstein then goes a step further, doubling down on the claim that equality for black Americans has never been achieved – “not in 1776, not in 1865, not in 1964, not in 2008 and not today.”

Despite all this, schools throughout the country have continued to teach the 1619 Project, notjust as one interpretation of American history, but as an authoritative source and factual retelling of the country’s origin story. According to the Pulitzer Center, more than 3,500 classrooms are using the 1619 Project in their history curriculum. Though President Trump promised to penalize schools that taught the 1619 Project as part of their curriculum, the Biden Department of Education has explicitly endorsed the project as a resource educators should draw upon to “create inclusive, supportive, and identity-safe learning environments.”

To reverse this dangerous trend, conservatives – and indeed anyone who cares about the elevation of truth over falsehood – should not only highlight how the project promotes hate and division, but continue to emphasize that the 1619 Project, and Critical Race Theory more broadly, are wrong on matters of basic historical fact. The reason to oppose teaching these concepts in the classroom is not just that we do not like “focusing exclusively on America’s flaws,” as some conservatives like to say—it’s that the narrative the left is pushing is an abject lie. American history is the greatest story of progress and triumph over evil in the history of the world – a truth so obvious that it cannot be denied, despite the immense cultural and political power that has been directed at doing exactly that.

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_

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Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

Racism is a product; racism is a business, that’s all. They’re salesmen. These people are the “Elmer Gantrys” of racial animosity for a dollar.

1 month ago

There is no truth in either CRT or the 1619 Project. Campaigning Democrate Joe Biden made an identifying statement during his run for election, which clearly describes the design of the socialist Democrate party. “You can’t confuse truth with fact”. That is his truth and the truth for people who adopt the same beliefs that they have been forced into a life of disappointment and unrealized success by others. It is not my doing, I didn’t study in school because I don’t need it, I didn’t show up to work on time because I needed space, I stole from others, I hurt people, it’s not my fault and you owe me, because! These conditions are truth and it is also a truth that unless these people accepted responsibility for their actions they will lose even more. They are being lied to by power hungry rule-or-ruin elitist, Democrates and since the democrates agree with this lack of responsibility behavior, these people beleive in them!Biden’s statement totally sums up the rule-or-ruin actions of the socialist DNC and the desperate Democrate run for power. The socialist elite have never been about anything other than power and wealth. That was true when people with this elitist mentality first stepped on American soil. After all the work and dangers to settle and build America were over come by the freedom loving and faithful people who came here from around the world. These elitist types safely traveled here, from Europe, Asia, Middle East, South America and Africa, after all the work and dangers to settle and build America were over come by the freedom loving and faithful people who settled here from around the world. New Americans came here, from every race and ethnicity, leaving their homelands to escaping that rule-or-ruin elitist mentality that distroyed their homeland; the same mentality now adopted by the DNC and the Democtatic party.You have to fight stupid and that takes a plan; however, you can work with ignorance by showing them the truth, facts, and you can stop the elitist the same way.The New York Times has stocks, advertisers and stock holders. Their truth is that they have to stay in business. If you have a stock portfolio that holds any New York Times stock, sell it. If you are retired and have a 401K or other retirement account you have to take an RDM every year. Instead of selling off other stocks to satisfy the RDM sell off any New York Times holdings first. Next look at the advertising in the New York Times. Start selling off these stocks next and keep doing that until the stockholders vote to fire editors like Jake Silverstein and then up the management ladder until, they adopt a new platform, the Truth!Jake Silverstein is an elitist and they don’t survive well in the light, so put a spotlight on him and all of the others who support the Democrate socialist rule-or-ruin agenda. You can change ignorance but you have to get rid of stupid. You see, stupid knows better (the truth) and does it anyway (lies for power).

1 month ago

The first slaves in the new world were White. Mostly young women and children form the slums of London, Ireland and Scotland! That’s where the term “Kidnapped” comes from.
Please peruse the excellent book “They Were White and They Were Slaves.” By Michael A. Hoffman 11 a definitive study of world wide slavery

1 month ago

I agree with TheHoneyBadger by banning teacher unions it will put money in everyone’s pockets through lower real estate taxes. The teacher’s pension is paid for by our property taxes yet those paying the tax have no say in how high it goes because most of it is for supposed education

1 month ago

FDR was right for once! Government employees should not be able to unionize. Ban the NEA and all other teachers’ unions!!!

1 month ago

The truth is that some form of bondage-slavery or serfdom- was the norm for the common people all over the world until the Industrial Revolution, and beyond. America may not be perfect, but no other country tries any harder to give everyone equal opportunity. It may not happen overnight, but things do change.

Stephen Russell
1 month ago

Teach 1619 but 1619 BC era
Make jokes about CRT, who speaks for Vulcan Americans??

Robert Dapper
1 month ago

Teaching this false history, is further justification, to remove the NEA.

1 month ago

I understand the marxist democrats minister of truth just resigned……finally realized there is NO truth in the marxist democrat party!!
Now that’s funny!!
How pathetic are these morons??

1 month ago

It amazes anyone that the anti American, racist, marxist democrat party lies?????
EVERYTIME the divisive democrat party speaks they distort the truth and change the name to cover their dishonest,divisive policies!
Example – the Florida ” don’t say gay bill”, a COMPLETE and INTENTIONAL LIE, to make it sound distasteful or discriminatory!
The democrat party have been the same corrupt,hateful group for 50 years – WAKE UP PEOPLE!
Throw them out!

Mario Capparuccini
1 month ago
Reply to  Garye

Very well said. The Democrats must lie. Who would vote for these people otherwise? Everything they do is a failure. Everything they say is a lie. They could say that we should honor our mother on Mother’s Day and I would wonder what agenda they were trying to push. Or, they might say that mother is a sexist term and we should say birthing person. You are right. Throw them all out.

1 month ago

Birthing person, that is good but you are more right than wrong !

1 month ago

Mario you are 100% correct, or ….some of the people who vote havelock the ability to think and reason because they have listened to the dishonest media and marxist democrat propaganda for too long????
Both are BAD for America!

PS: Pray for the innocents, the abortion crowd has NO rational thought!

THX 1138
1 month ago
Reply to  Garye

Not fifty years but more like, very close to two hundred years.
The Democrat Party has existed since 1828. It’s initial acts of trying to destroy this country from the inside out began in the 1830s with the “Trail of Tears” with the confiscation of Native American lands/properties to distribute to White settlers while forcing the Native Americans to relocate West to unfamiliar areas.

While the times have changed, even to this very moment, the overall spin is the same.
Infiltrate the political arena, change or make laws to create hardships whilst sitting back to rake in the wealth, prosperities and properties of others who toiled to create forcing them either onto “reservations” or into low income neighborhoods where either way, they can be more easily watched over as the depend more and more on the Federal Government for their existence.

After almost two hundred years of this, along with all of the racial bigotry, all I ask is, when have we had enough of the Democrat Party? Because clearly, it has never existed for the people it has long claimed to go to bat for.

1 month ago
Reply to  THX 1138

Thx – I stand corrected.
You are correct .
Long enough to expose EXACTLY what they are!

THX 1138
1 month ago
Reply to  Garye

You’re doing just fine, there Garye!
You are right on point with all the rest.
Carry on!

1 month ago
Reply to  Garye

They are living by Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing! These Communists are trying to bring down the greatest country in the world. I do not see these Elites sending all of their extra money to the IRS.

There has got to be a hidden motive by the Elites out there somewhere. It is probably, in the end, the main motivator for evil, money.

But they continue to distract us with BS like this so we do not have time to figure it out.

1 month ago
Reply to  PIDL

Deceive,distract ,destroy America = marxist democrat party!

1 month ago

Obama said it first that he( or at least the people that managed him) wanted to fundamentally change the United States. Everything “they” do is toward that goal. Truth and facts do not matter. The idea of letting children decide which is right, is complete nonsense. Boys that age, as my daughter likes to point about her teenage son and his friends, do not have a frontal lobe.

1 month ago
Reply to  TerryFaro

Lol……Terry by democrat standards how does one even tell?????
Right you are!

Pete from St Pete
1 month ago

The argument I hear in the leftist Tampa Bay Times is that the 1619 project and CRT should be taught in schools along with conventional history so students will hear all sides of the issue and can make up their own minds. However, I don’t think anything that isn’t based on facts should be presented to young impressionable minds that haven’t learned how to separate fact from fiction yet. They will have plenty of time to learn of dreamed up theories that ignore facts later in life.

1 month ago

Super great idea! We should definitely confuse the minds of impressionable children with masses of Disinformation!
We should also teach preschoolers that black is sometimes white, green can be yellow if only you want it to, and purple is orange on Tuesday.
When learning how to read: the word “the” can be “a” or “it”, but only on Friday. On Wednesday: A is Z, B is Y, C is X, etc.
Clearly, basic reading, writing, history and math is wildly racist and a complete rot of disinformation.

If this all makes sense to you…God please help our children!

1 month ago
Reply to  Jeanine

That is why they are “dumbing down” American children. They want to be able to control them. The left does not want them to be able to contradict their lies.

They have politicized the educational process, not teaching children what they need to know, but what they want them to know. This is called indoctrination, not education!

These people know the only way to bring down America is to make the children think America is bad!

We have got to get control of our schools and school boards. We can do it. It will just take time, just like the many decades that this process has taken by the left. This did not happen overnight. And will not happen by itself.

1 month ago
Reply to  PIDL

The children are the marxist democrat party’s target , indoctrinate ( aka. brainwash) before their old enough to clearly think and reason.
It’s the only way anyone could believe the democrats lies,immorality and treason!!

Tim Toroian
1 month ago

NO KIDDING! Don’t forget that the 1619 project started as a magazine article with any academic review. And the operative word regarding CRT is the word THEORY. It should have10 years of unbiased academic review and study.

Allan E Brem
1 month ago

Dems are staying true to form. They probably have biden coming up with a proclamation about their Decade of Decadence and remain in character by attributing it to everyone on the Right.

Sarah S.
1 month ago

Why bother with facts when there is an entertaining story to tell? So sad that so many people bought this garbage hook, line and sinker.

1 month ago
Reply to  Sarah S.

People believe what they want to believe. Tell the oppressed that the white man is all of their problems and they will believe it. Tell the undereducated that it is not their fault they did not get the education they needed, and they believe the lies.

The world has changed. And it becomes more clear every day by the blatant lies that are being spread by the Democrats and MSM.

I heard yesterday that electric energy prices are going to need to be increased again by about $40 a month on the Springfield TV station. They just raised them last winter!

They also said there may be rolling blackouts this summer! And how can we add a new extra load on the power grid of millions of electric cars if we cannot heat and cool our homes now?

It is clear now that the Democrat agenda is to bring down the power grid from within, not some outside country trying to bring down our electric grid.

The people of America need to open their eyes! But I am preaching to the choir. People of the older generations that are on here have enough experience to see what is going on.

But the people will believe what they want to believe. And they do not want to believe a bunch of outdated old codgers.

In the end, they will get what they deserve!!!!! NOTHING. Because the government will take it all.

Robin Boyd
1 month ago

It’s important we understand historical events accurately in order to learn from past mistakes. There never was an all White versus all Black attitude. White citizens opposed slavery while Black Africans profited from them. Fight racism! Stop allowing racists to continue dividing us based on our ethnic makeup.

Ralph S
1 month ago

History = His story = Her story = Hysteria = hyperbole = hyper baloney = another product of the “WOKE” elite morons. They can’t get their story straight. Just like they can’t tell their PROnouns from their CONnouns. All the quacks don’t come from ducks.

1 month ago

I wasn’t intending to bring politics into my comment but, with what’s happening in our society today it’s unavoidable. Growing up on Long Island, I never encountered RACISM until my days in High School. During those years BLACK STUDENTS were either very popular or despised mostly based upon their abilities in sports or, just the fact that they were DIFFERENT! It wasn’t until college that I had one on one contact with BLACK STUDENTS. At first, I found them to be always on the defensive and reluctant to really be themselves around me and other WHITE STUDENTS. They always banded together as if to show a unified defensive front. However, slowly but surely, we got to know each other and became friends.

As an adult, I was lucky enough to have friends and associates that are BLACK and throughout the entire 33 years of my career, I can only recall two instances when I was disappointed in them. As I grew older and I hope wiser, I began to realize how badly BLACK AMERICANS were being used and abused by THE DEMOCRAT PARTY. Before I continue, I DO NOT WANT ANYONE TO THINK THAT I CLAIM THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS WITHOUT FAULT WHEN IT COMES TO RACIAL DISCRIMINATION! But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that BLACK AMERICANS living in DEMOCRAT run cities are living in POVERTY AND CRIME INFESTED CONDITIONS! Has anything changed? THE ANSWER IS YES, FOR THE WORSE! Nothing will ever change until BLACK AND WHITE AMERICANS JOIN TO TOGETHER AS ONE UNITED FRONT AGAINST THE CORRUPTION AND TYRANNY THAT’S TAKING PLACE IN OUR INNER CITIES! One last thing, I’m sad to say that we cannot depend on the accuracy of THE NEWS as it’s reported today by the MEDIA! WE’RE ALL AMERICANS AND WE NEED TO START ACTING LIKE IT!

1 month ago
Reply to  THOMAS

Amen very well said!

Jake the snake
1 month ago

This is how we all know the schools no longer care about education.

They can not identify false history. The students are failing math, science reading and writing.

The teachers are perverts who would rather talk to a 6 year old about sex than teach addition.

It is time for 100% school vouchers. Dont want to teach the kids math, english and reading. Great they can take their money elsewhere.

1 month ago

the left always misjudge the intelligence of others to be less than themselves; it defines them as genuine elite ignorants.

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