The leftwing billionaire-funded center slipped premade 1619 Project lessons into thousands of schools immediately after the publication of the original 1619 Project, a special issue of The New York Times Magazine on Aug. 18, 2019. The mishmash of essays, articles, literary writing, and photographs claimed to reframe our nation as a “slavocracy” that began in 1619 — the year about 20 Africans arrived in Jamestown — not 1776. Per the formula of critical race theory, the rest has been a race struggle between white oppressors and black victims.
In the webinar, New York Times Magazine editor Jake Silverstein moderated a “conversation” between 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones and Donnalie Jamnah, a former high school English teacher hired by the Pulitzer Center to coordinate with educators. This webinar further confirmed that The 1619 Project is an indoctrination tool.
The webinar advised educators that although a law may prohibit requiring The 1619 Project, it may not necessarily forbid its use as an alternate reading. And though a school board may ban The 1619 Project, teachers should find out if the board has the authority to do so. It directed educators to an upcoming event in February that would present student work and share information about “how teachers have protected themselves.”
The December virtual event was a continuation of the outreach that offers educators downloadable curricula, ongoing continuing education, and $5,000 teacher grants. Such efforts to subvert laws intended to protect students from propaganda is funded, ultimately, by taxpayers, through tax subsidization of nonprofits and their billionaire funders, and through salaries for teachers and librarians.
Questionable Collaboration with For-Profit Companies
The webinar also revealed the questionable collaborative efforts between for-profit companies (The New York Times) and nonprofits (the Pierre Omidyar- and Mark Zuckerberg-funded Pulitzer Center). On behalf of The New York Times, Madeline Felix in her introductory remarks gave a sales pitch and encouraged the 6,000-plus viewers (including K-12 teachers, librarians, community college instructors, homeschooling parents, and nursing school personnel) to purchase the newspaper at the discounted campus-wide rate.
Librarians have become especially useful for getting materials to students outside of the formal class setting. They are important in ensuring that libraries have the two 1619 Project books recently published by Penguin Random House — “Born on the Water,” a picture book, and “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story,” a 600-page expansion of the original work. In another display of for-profit/nonprofit coordination, Penguin Random House is using a consortium of bookstores, a nonprofit that distributes “diverse books” (partially funded by Penguin Random House!), and Hannah-Jones via Twitter to encourage fans to purchase copies to donate to libraries, schools, organizations, and after-school programs.
The two books (both copyrighted by The New York Times) are clearly intended for use in schools. Penguin Random House offers teachers of all grades a guide for the books, which are produced by the educational arm of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Learning for Justice.
Author Says Historical Critiques Equal Censorship
Hannah-Jones insisted that objections to the use of her materials in classrooms is censorship because the historical accuracy could not be a legitimate concern.
Informed by her reading of such anti-Trump tracts as “How Fascism Works” by Jason Stanley, she interpreted the efforts to keep her “journalism” out of classrooms as part of the larger effort towards “authoritarianism” and fascism. It is no coincidence, she said, that the states “censoring” her work were also enacting laws restricting abortion and voting. Hannah-Jones has become a political pundit, appearing on MSNBC to describe how “1619 explains” current events, such as January 6. (White supremacy, like everything bad, began in 1619.)
The political intent of the expanded 1619 Project is clearer than ever. Most of the historical errors of the original Project remain and are even compounded. The endnotes and references are intended to put on a scholarly gloss. The quasi-historical/political essays, creative prose, “poetry,” and photographs serve as preparation for the final essay’s argument for reparations.
Defenders Deny Project Is Divisive
To Silverstein’s recounting of the claims that the project is “divisive” and makes “kids feel bad,” Jamnah said nonsense. Anything that could make white students feel evil was “not in the project.”
Jamnah apparently sees nothing objectionable in this sentence from the original project and repeated in Hannah-Jones’s essay, “Democracy,” in the book, intended for high-school students: “In response to Black demands for [their] rights, white Americans strung them from trees, beat them and dumped their bodies in muddy rivers, assassinated them in their front yards, firebombed them on buses, mauled their dogs, peeled back their skin with firehoses, and murdered their children with explosives set off inside a church.”
“White America” also constructed “a savagely enforced system of racial apartheid” that also provided “inspiration” for Nazi Germany’s racial policies. Nor did Jamnah object to kindergartners being read “Born on the Water” and hearing about how “white people” “kidnapped” “our people,” “forced them into the bottom of an evil ship” and about how “white men” “traded another’s child, another’s momma and daddy.”
As Jamnah revealed by referencing 170 teachers and administrators who are developing materials for several subject areas for kindergarten through college, The 1619 Project is intended to saturate the educational experience of Americans at every stage and in every subject. (Already, students who have been subjected to it in high school find themselves studying it again in college classes.) By sheer reach alone, The 1619 Project will have the effect of replacing 1776, despite Hannah-Jones’s protestations to the contrary.
As teachers spend weeks and weeks on The 1619 Project, valuable time is lost for studying real history, civics, and literature. This is not to mention the human waste in emotionally scarred and ignorant young adults readied to ravage cities in a reprise of The 1619 Project riots of 2020.
We need to remain vigilant, even in states that have passed laws forbidding the use of The 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory in public classrooms. Publishing corporations are raking in profits producing materials that American taxpayers clearly don’t want.