A national parents’ coalition has denounced the “1619 Project” curriculum jointly developed by the Pulitzer Center and The New York Times as part of a misconceived bid to revise U.S. history, arguing that it undermines the fabric of society.
The 1619 Project threatens to “destroy the freest and most prosperous nation in human history” by claiming that America’s founding was based on racism, slavery, and systemic oppression, instead of on ideals such as individual liberty and natural rights, according to remarks made by the U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) group to Breitbart News.
USPIE told the outlet that because of the project’s central claim that such evils are embedded in America’s founding, “there can be no change in policy and no possible transformation that would make the nation redeemable.
“Under the view put forth by the Times and its project, the only possible conclusion is that America must die so that something new can replace it,” USPIE stated. “That is the objective. And now, The 1619 Project is being taught in our public schools!”
Historians have widely criticized the 1619 Project, with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon Wood calling it “so wrong in so many ways.” Another Pulitzer Prize-winner, James McPherson, the dean of Civil War historians, argues that it presents an “unbalanced, one-sided account” that leaves out key historical facts.
President Donald Trump in September warned that the Department of Education would investigate the use of the “1619 Project” in schools, saying that institutions that use the alternative narrative of U.S. history could lose federal funding.
In his remarks, the president echoed the sentiment of legislation proposed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that would ban federal funds from being used to support the teaching of the tenets of the project.
“The New York Times’s 1619 Project is a racially divisive, revisionist account of history that denies the noble principles of freedom and equality on which our nation was founded,” Cotton said in a statement.
“Not a single cent of federal funding should go to indoctrinate young Americans with this left-wing garbage.”
USPIE also argued that the notions driving the 1619 Project are one of the factors in the current conflict over the result of the 2020 presidential election.
“The battle over who will be president continues,” USPIE told Breitbart. “One of the reasons this battle is happening is because one party is working hard to re-write history to convince Americans that our country is bad and does not deserve the peace and prosperity we enjoy.”
The Pulitzer Center, while providing a series of lesson plans for use in classrooms, says its project “challenges us to reframe U.S. history by marking the year when the first enslaved Africans arrived on Virginia soil as our nation’s foundational date,” referring to the date of 1619.
That’s in contrast to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the traditional date when the foundational principles of the United States were framed.
Some of the activities for children include directing them to read an essay by NY Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, which contains the central assertion that “the year 1619 is as foundational to the American story as 1776 … black Americans, as much as those men cast in alabaster in the nation’s capital, are this nation’s true ‘founding fathers.’”
The curriculum urges students to read the essay and consider such issues as, “What evidence can you see for how ‘some might argue that this nation was founded not as a democracy but as a slavocracy?'”
Thomas Mackaman, a history professor at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, told The Wall Street Journal that, in his view, the American Revolution didn’t establish a “slavocracy,” as Hannah-Jones suggests, but it instead “brought slavery in for questioning in a way that had never been done before” by “raising universal human equality as a fundamental principle.”