The New York Times has done a fabulous job of supporting the leftist agenda over the years. However, it seems that one of their latest projects is not only slightly biased but according to several prominent historians, wholly “anti-historical.”
The NYT’ 1619 Project, as it is called, was released earlier this year “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,” according to their website.
As you can imagine, the project has seen some backlash, especially as it is now being offered to some schools as part of their curricula. Although, it should be noted that some of its most critical responses have come not from white conservatives with a pollical agenda but from world-renown historians who, like most other credible sources, were not consulted by the project.
One site, the World Socialist Website, recently conducted interviews with a few of the nation’s most prominent and critically acclaimed historians to gather their reactions to the project. The name of the site excluded; we think these interviews speak for themselves.
These scholars claim that while “slavery and the contributions of black Americans” are, in fact, a significant part of our history and no doubt has helped to shape our nation, history cannot simply be rewritten to support any one cause, political agenda, or even belief system.
Gordon Wood is one such historian. Wood is quite easily considered to be one of the foremost experts on early American history and in particular the American Revolution, which as interviewer Tom Mackaman says, “the ‘1619 Project’ trains much of its fire on.” He is also professor emeritus at Brown University and is the author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on the American Revolution.
As such an expert on the topic, it would seem likely that he would have been approached by the NY Times during the research phase of their project. And yet, Wood says, “no one ever approached me. None of the leading scholars of the whole period from the Revolution to the Civil War, as far as I know, have been consulted.”
And Wood was not the only scholar to have a similar experience. James McPherson is a Princeton history professor who has also won Pulitzer Prizes for his work that specializes in the American Civil War. When he was asked by WSW if he was consulted for his expertise, McPherson’s answer was a resounding no. In fact, he said he didn’t know anything about the project until he picked up his Sunday paper one day.
He said, “I didn’t know anything about it until I got my Sunday paper, with the magazine section entirely devoted to the 1619 Project. Because this is a subject I’ve long been interested in, I sat down and started to read some of the essays. I’d say that, almost from the outset, I was disturbed by what seemed like a very unbalanced, one-sided account, which lacked context and perspective on the complexity of slavery, which was clearly, obviously, not an exclusively American institution but existed throughout history.”
He continued, saying, “And slavery in the United States was only a small part of a larger world process that unfolded over many centuries. And in the United States, too, there was not only slavery but also an antislavery movement. So I thought the account, which emphasized American racism – which is obviously a major part of the history, no question about it – but it focused so narrowly on that part of the story that it let most of the history out.”
Wood essentially said the same thing.
He stated, “I was surprised, as many other people were, by the scope of this thing, especially since it’s going to become the basis for high school education and has the authority of The New York Times behind it, and yet it is so wrong in so many ways.”
He explained himself by saying that co-author Nikole Hannah-Jones “claims the British were on the warpath against the slave trade and slavery and that rebellion was the only hope for American slavery. This made the American Revolution out to be like the Civil War, where the South seceded to save and protect slavery, and that the Americans 70 years earlier revolted to protect their institution of slavery. I just couldn’t believe this.”
Indeed, it’s unimaginable the lengths people will go to, even with all of history proving them wrong.