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tv   Peter Wood 1620 - A Critical Response to the 1619 Project  CSPAN  March 13, 2021 11:00am-12:36pm EST

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>> peter wood, 1620:a critical response to the 1619 project. you should go to amazon or another provider immediately. the book came out in november. it has been on amazon for some months now. this is both a proper history of america frankly and everything missed hot by the
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1619 project and an account of what precisely the new york times and other organizations have been doing in the last year as they taught the 1619 project which tends to emphasize all the negative in american history without context and contains some great historical whoppers though i must say peter wood is nuanced about things they do right and gives them do credit for things that are being done properly which is one of the nice things about the book. we have three notable scholars to talk about the book, "1620: a critical response to the 1619 project," followed by peter wood himself, followed by q and a, moderated by me. i will say the names of the scholars first and talk about the q and a.
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phillip magness, senior research fellow, american institute for american research, author of the 1619 project:a critique. the president of the alexander hamilton institute which cosponsored our conference last year on slavery or freedom which is precisely another scholarly critique of the 1619 project. ian rowe, senior fellow the woodson center and resident scholar of the american enterprise institute and the woodson center in 1776 united, doing wonderful work to provide an alternative to the 1619 project including a great model curriculum and peter wood is president of the national association of scholars author not only of "1620: a critical response to the 1619 project" but diversity, a be in the mouth which is going to be a real issue.
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before we go first, people should put comments in the chat or the q and a but net the bottom. the participants may do them. we go first to ian rowe who unfortunately must depart at 3:00 pm. >> it is an honor to join this group. i'm doing a zoom call, my covid vaccine shot appointment is at 3:00 pm so i am literally sitting in front of the facility, i have to leave at 3:00 but i am honored to be part of this discussion. and the ceo of a network of charter schools in new york city in the heart of south
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bronx on the east side of manhattan, more than 2000 students in low-income backgrounds, almost exclusively black and hispanic students, thousands of people on the waitlist for schools and parents, many of them first generational recent immigrants, nativeborn americans just wanted the best for their kids, wanted their kids to have a shot at the american dream. kids understood science and math, set very high standards, something very important, kids growing up in a country is not a very good if not great,
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growing up in a country that is not hostile to their dreams, that there has been a rich history of kids just like them, kids from low-income backgrounds who embraced certain ideas of america in order to move to prosperity. and and america's founding ideals were false, then anti-black racism, runs in the very dna of a country. these are powerful statements, to tell kids what was possible for new york times 1619 project
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was rejecting those ideas. i partner with bob woodson, an incredible leader for the last 40 years, and have embraced the ideals and institutions of marriage, faith, hard work, and people who have fought their own solutions by embracing ideals on the 1619 project, the 1619 project was criticized by historians, leadership of the new york times was safely rejecting, unbelievably knowledgeable historian because they were white and dismissing these comments out of hand, genuine people saying there might be some value but you've got some facts wrong. the new york times, the 6019
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project just rejecting those on racial lines so we thought it was important that there be a movement led by black scholars, activists, educators, individuals who said not everyone believes what you are saying, that there is power in ideas, there's power in faith and family and free enterprise and billions and millions and millions of people in the black community and people of all races have embraced those ideals to move from persecution to prosperity and the 1619 project it became clear, peter writes about this in the 1620 book the new york times is determined to make the 1619 project more than a single magazine issue, they took out full-page ads, started
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advertising, created a curriculum, created entertainment deals to create content. the new york times determined to undermine the idea the founding of the country was 1776 and it was founded as a slaveoh-- the initiative we launched the initiative, got to do more than write essays, we've got to create a tangible product. one thing we can say the 1619 project has done, it is revealed there is a strong interest from educators across the country in a greater understanding of the african-american experience in the united states. let's create a compelling and empowering alternative so we are determined to create a curriculum which will become 3 k-12 at the high school level and the idea is to present, not
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shying away from the history of slavery and telling the whole story, warts and all, the unbelievable stories of american resilience. african-american resilience in the face of unimaginable atrocity that were overcome, stopping us from achieving those same great outcomes now, when the level of institutional racism was not what it was in years past but for example booker t. washington had a vision for building a network of schools in the time of segregation to exclusively educate black kids, who go to predominantly white school so he partnered with julius rosen wall who at the time headed sears roebuck, the retailer,
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and they built 5000 schools throughout the south exclusively to educate black children and made strides in literacy. an incredible feat of the african-american community, partnering, to advance forward. has amazing as the schools are, the board of education decision, and the row small schools, such an incredible story, not a single word in the 1619 project. to tell the full story of the african-american experience, released the first component of the 1776 united curriculum.
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there were 7000 downloads of the curriculum from people who describe themselves as educators. there is interest in this area, we can't let 1619 project standards on. to show a more complete story of the african-american story. and and close out of hand. let me say, the greatness of america lies not in being more enlightened, but in her ability to repair her faults but i always love that quote because embedded within it is this
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idea, america like any individual, with the 2 within themselves for some betterment, our founding documents, the mechanisms by which we constantly become a move toward this idea of a more perfect union. >> thank you so much. i will go into alphabetical order, >> going back to life, in 2019, it struck my attention, my own intellectual and academic background as an economic historian looking at the
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mechanisms of how slavery operated in the nineteenth century. to reading the 1619 project when it came out, what struck me was the lack of fidelity to factual accuracy that run through several essays in the project, nicole hannah jones athlete is a in what became the focus of my own work and my response to it which was matthew desmond on the economics of slavery. in reading through peter's book, on the response premised on factual analysis on american history, it was a roadmap to understanding where the 1619 project goes astray but is a detailed and nuanced road mac that explores these controversies. as an economic historian i jumped into the 1619 project debate from a different angle but most of the main critics
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focused primarily on nicole hannah jones's as they were mine focused on matthew desmond's contribution about the role of capitalism, american capitalism and slavery. i wanted to recount my own experiences as i waited through this debate because it involved direct exchanges with nicole hannah jones, jake silverstein, the editor of the new york times magazine, but i attempted originally was a scholarly attempt to get them a suitable direction to where they went off track, made factual mistakes. jumping into the desmond essay, how heavily ideological its purpose seemed to be. the general argument was that slavery had infused american capitalism with a brutality that extends all the way from the end of slavery in 1865 up to the present day, very
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conveniently mapped onto political objectives that looked like they were a lot more directly attuned to something like the 2020 presidential elections and they were to an honest scholarly investigation of american history. in other words they were blaming modern-day progressive grievances with healthcare policy and the tax code and environmentalism on capitalism and saying it the right from a legacy connected to slavery and as i began to work through this essay, i noticed it was dependent on a very suspect school of historical literature referred to as the new history of capitalism. matthew desmond, author of the essay was a sociologist with no academic background in the subject matter whatsoever but was relying almost entirely upon secondary literature that burst onto the scene in 2010,
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to resituate understanding of slavery, ideological objections to capitalism and saying capitalism was infused with the taint of slavery and carry that forward to the present day. looking into this literature it becomes apparent that many scholars who were arguing this claim are doing so from the perspective not of measured historical analysis or economic expertise or competence but an ideological hostility to the free market system, free enterprise in the united states. therefore it is a clear objective of theirs to latch that onto slavery and claim that slavery taints the history of capitalism. this collides directly with historical fact with empirical analysis and intellectual history. anyone who has studied the abolition movement in the united states can see directly
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that many of the abolitionists themselves were intellectually aligned with the precursors of free-market capitalism, free-market thought. they were intellectual descendents of adam smith, the wealth of nations, and abolitionist himself. and frederick douglass, and they had secondary causes and interests of their own. and move the economy, they saw themselves as aligned with market capitalism as an opponent of slavery. on the proslavery side, the southerners, example after example, of prominent slaveowners arguing free-market capitalism was an exit stencil threat to slavery. one of the main combatants on
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the proslavery side that debated the abolitionists and rose to prominence in the decade before the civil war and a lengthy track where he declares from the outset that capitalism is at war with the institution of slavery, the doctrines of adam smith should be cast into the fire because they threaten to undermine the slave system. take into account the knowledge we had historically of how these movements played out in the nineteenth century, lighted with the narrative of the 1619 project. i immediately responded by drafting an essay of my own that raised these points, noting in particular the 6019 project's economic narrative, resemblance to king cotton theory of economics in the mid-nineteenth century, the cotton was the centerpiece of
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the american economy, slavery was the centerpiece of the american economy, you threaten when you threaten the other. the premise of the confederate and economic theory during the civil war as a debunking in real time. they were reviving this narrative though using it in a way to attack capitalism. i immediately contacted the new york times, submitted on two separate occasions to issue appropriate corrections, show where they went wrong, the best academic literature on the subject. even showed an instance where the 1619 project misquoted another author, the growth and cotton economy was derived from more efficient beating practices of slaves and the source they were using was something different, this was
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technological improvement. straightforward factual error, the paper was uninterested in that because it violated their ideological narrative. i approached nicole hannah jones, send your letter to this email address, goes by over the course of several weeks, contacted her again, denied they received it. the editor of the new york times magazine, for economics. what i noticed over the course of that is a phenomena and peter documents through the book, multiple experts in subject areas of the 1619 project, a 400 year history but specific subject areas that every single time they get scholarly and responsible things that reach out to the paper and seek appropriate corrections we were all brushed
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aside, the input, double down on the error and seek the area post talk and got some controversy. they edited the 1619 project on the website of the new york times itself to obscure the controversial claims. what this aggregates toward is the pattern peter shows thoroughly in his book, there will be a political narrative and continue to push even when it goes with historical evidence, historical fact and the best scholarly literature, the 1619 project has become explicitly anti-scholarly project, has become an editorial project that aims to push a political story at the expense of historical truth
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which is the irony of this because it put itself forward as an attempt for historical education about slavery bringing attention to historical nuance that are glossed over a minute in k-12 history, what it does is repeats the same errors and move them in a different direction with its own political spin. the response is there is a worthwhile effort to be made by historians, bringing them together as a roadmap pushing back with fact and evidence, pointing out the errors where the 1619 project straight and educating the readers through the controversy, educating readers that show them counter evidence, things that were
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intentionally or unintentionally, and the counter evidence, the scholarly interesting version, is not advancing electoral politics, aiming to deepen our understanding as readers of the past, reflecting on the past of the american story that doesn't necessarily obscure or gloss over the problems and complexities of american history but not a nonideological objective to ship tear down the nation and its economy which has come through the way the times presented itself. >> took a second to get to my
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unmute button. >> thank you very much for inviting me to speak today. i want to confine my comments to two issues, the 1619 project's discussion of the history of slavery and import of the 1619 project and projects like it for the study of history. in august of 2019 the new york times devoted its sunday magazine section to rolling out a deftly an orchestrated initiative to rewrite american history through the distorting prism of critical race.. nicole hannah jones orchestrated the 1619 project and furnished it with what she calls its intellectual
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architecture. her fervent introduction to this so-called reimagining of the past denounced the founders and framers as race hypocrites, she rejected any notion of american greatness by attributing nearly everything that has truly made american exceptional as having been grounded in slavery and racism. prosecuting against july 4th, 1776, as the nation's true birthday she argued instead for august 20th, 1619, as an appropriate commemorative replacement, for it was then, she observed, with a certainty that belies the evidence, that a cargo of several dozen africans landed in colonial virginia thereby stamping the land for the first time with a, quote, original sin of slavery.
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oblivious a regardless of her own biases, hannah jones recruited to her plan of demolition more than 30 writers. the overwhelming majority of whom were and assert men's of left-leaning journalists and writers of poetry and fiction. the 100 page special issue punctuated with a trigger warning to advise readers of the gruesome interior contains within, a shameful history. the implication is what the project will be telling you is something unnamed oppressors consciously from minorities and others. truth be told, probably no field of history in the united states during the last half-century has generated a more impressive body of scholarship, then the study of slavery. in which giants strode the land.
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david brian davis, orlando patterson to name a for you. the world has now easy access to a database that provides more quantitative information about the atlantic slave trade that exists at the same time, the study of slavery has spread out from analyses from every conceivable perspective which overlap with every humanistic and social scientific discipline. slavery citations compiled from a global perspective, slavery in abolition, one of the
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slavery's publishing annual supplements. of all the untruths, exaggeration and embellishment obtained in the 1619 project the one about slavery's dirty laundry being hidden is among the most outrageous, egregious and insidious. the 1619 project's discussion of slavery has learned little from the best slavery scholarship. it prefers pronouns want to explanation. among the 30 plus contributors hannah jones brought to the task of rewriting history only four qualify as historians. only one of the four could fairly be said to have made her mark in the burgeoning field of slavery studies. in a work that pronounces discussed, the declaration of independence and the constitution, not one of the
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writers can claim any demonstrated accomplishment in the field of 18th-century political and intellectual history. in pronouncing the past, hannah jones and other contributors, and this burden themselves from the discipline of history by cherry picking materials as activists do to make the past usable in advancing a political agenda. harsh judgments of events flutter out with little sensitivity with historical context. keywords remain undefined, the absence of a scholarly apparatus makes tracking down sources to crucial statements in essay after essay onerous if not impossible. the subversive ambitious in
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this of the project appears in full sway near the end of the issue. without any public airing of the accuracy of the claims made by the project, the pulitzer center, a progressive nonprofit, with partner with the times prior to the publication of the special issue. they mean line the 1619 project concoctions into the veins of the educational system. far from attempting to pursue the truth on the time-tested standard. and they have negative attendance by hannah jones and the new york times to have
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educators substitute ideology for scholarship in schools. .. devastating criticism from major historians like gordon would and the discovery of hannah jones is only shadiness in handling these criticisms has led to demands her pulitzer be rescinded. they seem not to have slowed the insinuation of the 1619 project into american classrooms, however. the activities of the center shall not a trace of the intense criticism of the project. indeed, it's been recently announced on the pulitzer website that the phoenix school district is the first in arizona to use the 1619 project
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curriculum. more than 2000 students come the site claims, will engage with the material which interrogates a favorite word of the cultural marcus-- marxists the legacy of slavery in the united states. in large part because of what has happened to our education in this country during the last 50 years, the decline in standards, curricular chaos, politicization of classrooms, it's become increasingly difficult to mount a defense against the substitution of ideology for scholarship at every level of the educational system. indeed, we are told that everyone ideological and since there's no truth the very act of a pursuing it is a waste of time. as evidenced by the millions of dollars pouring into places like the pulitzer center america's corporate and financial leaders have joined forces with the post
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modern luddites. they seem too willing to subsidize educational racketeering, perhaps the misguided hope that it will deflect away criticisms of their own operations. as i have written elsewhere, pupils whether traditionally underprivileged or not who lack of historical skills and imagination they say steve kline -- climbing trying to grasp complexity of worlds not own, populated by strangers about whom judgments must be made according to appropriate standards. adjudging peoples of the past, according to intellectual and moral horizons as they could not possibly have known will not do. a country that cannot separate ideology from scholarship will not remain a free society. a society whose a system of higher education actively
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disabled-- disabled young women and men in defending the best of the heritage, that takes issues off the table before you enter the classroom, that increasingly courses people to actively spit on the graves of their and stuff-- ancestors before they are allowed to speak cannot survive. no, we are not all ideologues, ideology is this fax, it insinuates and insulates itself from criticism. ideology has a preconceived and. peered ideology pretends to be a liberationists when it actually serves to suffocate spirit. ideology allows people to take positions without ever having to give them in a deep critical thought. bottom line, only by renouncing ideology like the 1619 project
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can we begin to see accurately the past. in 2020, a great historian harvard bernard behling died at age 97. a few months after he published, believe it or not, his last book. it contains a number of the sobering questions on the discipline of history. i will close with what he had to say. he understood it-- history as a particularly demanding craft and believe me it is. it certainly is difficult when done properly. historians, he thought, must at best be honest storytellers. in the practice of history, he concluded, and direct quote one assumes that the reality of the past can be subjected to useful inquiries, that among the
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responses to those inquiries on the sum of use can be shown to be more accurate depictions of what actually happened than others and that the establishment in the some significant degree of a realistic understanding of the past free of mass, wishful fulfillment in partisan delusion is essential for social sanity, on quote, so behling illuminated better than most scholars the contours of 17 and 18th century american history, his final book hints at his growing concern about the rampant opportunism and pernicious theoretical fetishes that was corrupting the discipline he loved into which he has-- had committed his professional life. as an antidote to the 1619 project contribution to the
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prevailing social insanity, peter woods 1620 is the best single volume treatment, truth in lending, i read peter's crew-- book and manuscript and praised in the following words: those of us in here i quote who remain attached to the principles of the founders need to read peter's volume for like a highly trained commando, he is advanced to the front lines to clear away the dangerous rubbish put forth by the 1619 project with critical skill and in clear prose he's opened multiple avenues of assault on a misguided enterprise that in trying to rewrite history deserves to end up on its ash heap. take you very much. >> and thank you so much.
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wonderful hearing from you. i'm going to go to president peter would. you are still muted, i think. >> i will someday master this wonderful technology. thank you, david and thank you in-- ian, let me acknowledge right away the gracious tribute to me. i was very dependence in writing this book on a range of historian rick i myself am not a historian or, anthropologist and i stand outside this field with some appreciation of what historians do, so let me say right away that what this book
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represents is an act of synthesis in which i tried to take account of what many historians were saying i'm a not necessarily just historians on the side of it being severe critics of the 1619 project, but as many as i could reach you came to me to be knowledgeable and who could contribute to what i wanted to provide, which was an assessment of the project that would give something to people who are themselves not historians, general readers would want to dip into, so those who don't have the time to read through piles of rather difficult historical text and primary documents that of what the whole thing is about, i tried to answer the need for that. i would say that phil's original writing-- he beat me too the punch in getting the first book
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out on critiquing the 1619 project, his collection of essays, 1619 project of critique came out in june, i believe it was of last year and pass an analysis of the economic arguments in the 1619 project it's unexcelled. i drew on it shamelessly in portion to my book that deals with economics and i should say as well that to write a book like this was a condom intellectual adventure, not being a host story ends i was in many cases for the first time send down the path of following footnote after footnote to discover sources that i never before seen and i learned a lot of history and writing the book and i hope that's the benefit that comes through to the readers. i have an opportunity here for just a few minutes to provide i
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think a kind of scattered shot comment. i have done something upwards of 110 interviews on talk radio of the last few months. on used it to a certain kind of questioning that i know how to deal with, but it doesn't always let me get the things i want to talk about. one thing i would like to bring up is that the 1619 project was meditated as a political statement by "new york times". it came in the after wash of the "new york times" disappointment that the more investigation-- robert mueller investigation of president trumps investigation that the ties to vladimir putin didn't hold up. they turn to what would be the next thing and they decided it was going to be to emphasize
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donald trumps alleged racism. that was in a brand-new theme for them. they had dealt with it after the charlottesville riots, had brought it up from time to time, but it wasn't their primary complaint about him. the call hannah jones had begun her work on the 1619 project in january so it was not itself a response to this call. the two came together very nicely for the times and august 18, 2019, issue of the sunday "new york times" magazine became the kind of clarion call for what the times is going to do in the political season that followed. the 1619 project itself is not a political purpose. it's a suited to be published in the call hannah jones began speaking where she made it clear that one of her objectives was
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to greater political atmosphere which it would be possible to get the united states congress to pass and distribute reparations to descendents of slaves. this soon morphed into a more general theme and one that could genial to me that i even wrote a book about it which is anger in america, i had written this oddly titled book anger in america now that came out in 2017 and that's by-- my one actual contribution to history because i took two years trying to delve into the sources of how americans regarded and treated anger in centuries past and what was the turning point where we began to think of anger is something that was in hollering to in something we should be proud about. 1619 project was almost a perfect system education of my earlier thesis that anger had become a kind of flamboyant
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self-preservation that lends itself to advancing political causes in a way rather different from the anger's past and that anger itself was something new and casted in the foreman given at a new kind of evaluation, was pretty much of their own epic. nicole hannah jones-- nikole hannah-jones is a figure who exudes anger, her first line is one distain for her opponent. she's a user of twitter and twitter wanted to center people for making outrageous ad hominem attacks, she would be a candidate for that, but twitter is a bit selective of how it applies that kind of standard of civility. in many cases, nikole hannah-jones, this angry woman, found when that post george floyd riots broke out in this country that there was a possible connection to her own
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work and when charles kesler suggested in an op-ed piece that the riots could be called 1619 riots, she seized on that and said yes, that's what they are. others clearly heard her because statues began to be toppled in american cities around the country, george washington, abraham lincoln, frederick douglas even, 1619 was a tag that said this is a 1619 moment. yes, we are talking about a work of the sometimes scholarship, sometimes just essays work that came out in august 2019, but moreover became the seat of a movement and it's the movements that has tremendous destructive energy in its. i can certainly play the part in
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the 2020 election, not that i particularly want to talk about that. i think given the times involvement and how nikole hannah-jones positioned herself, it's aboard to recognize that this is the work of advocacy in the work that was intended to inflame, but it's also become a curriculum, a point to be, i think, quite concerned about. the curriculum extends into many of our nations a schools. very early on, the chicago, public school, buffalo public school another major cities embraced it. the pulitzer center was not content with trying to market it to school districts, so did that as well. the ticket directly to teachers and conventions of teachers unions, many thousands of teachers adopted it, so your children might be attending a school district that doesn't
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know it even has the 1619 project in it because the teachers aren't waiting for the school board or their superintendent to say yes, this is something to teach. they are just teaching at. what are they teaching? well, what they are teaching is something which is at least in some cases not true. now, we just had a pretty good round up of some of the untruths in it, but i want to focus on one which i have a hard time convincing people in so i will tell the audience you should be interested in that. it's called the 1619 project because of slaves were brought to virginia, august, 1619. by the accounts nikole hannah-jones gives in her read essay, it sounds very much is about was the beginning of cattle slavery in america. will, there saw bro problems with that. first of all slavery was in america long before any european got here.
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native american tribes practiced slavery against each other and eventually against europeans. portuguese and spanish had been bringing african slaves to the new world for more than a century before 1619. some of those slaves ended up in what is now the united states and in georgia. slave rebellion had taken place in the center before that in georgia, so slavery was here, but when they arrived in jamestown virginia, was that different? it was different in one way that seems out work-- opera to sue this project, which is the colony of virginia that point it not have a legal status input slavery and the white lion, which was not really a slave ship but it ship that had captured along with its companion pirate ship the treasurer several spanish slave ships and the caribbean, captured 60 slaves, most of them
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did up in bermuda, but as low-- lower number were brought north to virginia where they were traded for food and supplies to west-- what virginians did with them was convert them as far as we can tell into indentured servants like a lot of other english indentured servants. within a few years, those captive had served their in denture and were released. some became prosperous landowner's. we know at least in one case, intermarried with the white population and gave full legal rights which we know because of court records showing them prevailing in court cases. slavery as horrible as it was did not really exist in virginia in the year that nikole hannah-jones placed it there, so this whole project begins with what at best is a wild exaggeration of the past. if you really take a close look at what happened in the 1619, it's a rather odd form of racial
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integration and not be getting of cattle slavery that lies some 40 or 50 years down the road. in fact, one of the first virginia families to actually practice cattle slavery or some of those-- one of those individuals who came over on the white line and became prosperous landowner and ended up enslaving black africans themselves a generation later, so there we are hurt the project that begins with such a wide diversion from historical record seems to me too be suspect from the start. when he gets going and declares that the ideals of our liberty and justice were simple conventions meant to mask of a desire about white colonists to engage in a systematic oppression of blacks, we are getting into a territory of
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speculation and conjecture. i don't want to deny that something like systemic racism arose in american life eventually and is pernicious and it lasted a long time and cost our country in enormous anguish to get rid of it, but we did. the ideals of liberty and justice for ideals that inspired much of life. frederick douglas especially after feeling first the declaration of independence was not for him, realized it was and as he became a friend of lincoln , he became a major proponent of the values that eventually led to the genuine liberation of the defendants of those of slaves-- descendents of those a slaves. i can't claim to be on charge of any of the history. i'm not the kind of person that goes out and dig original documents out of archives, i'm a storyteller, to that extent on
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something like nikole hannah-jones except unlike nikole hannah-jones, i actually care about the authenticity and accuracy of the materials that i'm quoting from. i have invited nikole hannah-jones to debate with me and she has not responded at any point. i do find that the times readiness to self edit its document, discovery by the way which we hope fill magna, this readiness to make mistakes and then cover them up and not admit they were mistakes goes further into the realm that we are now dealing with a project that is fundamentally dishonest. i realize there are questions coming in and it went to leave time for those. i do want to add just a little bit more here. number one, among my past times has been some years to go and
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collect old history textbooks. i happen to have one right here, exploring american history in which is to save you about to the textbooks in which americans taught history from late 19th century through the 1950s, you will find a great deal of racist writing attempts to diminish or treat slavery has no bad thing or no big thing, slaves were well treated etc. that's shameful that history teaching was part of our past and we should acknowledge that, but to claim that the real history of slavery has never been taught is false hence the 1950s beginning in the 1950s there has been a tremendous effort to make the recognition of the african-americans have a vital part of the history we tell ourselves in the history we teach our children. by the time you get to the
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1980s, our textbooks are thick with african-american history as they should be. there is no dispute here at all that we want to accurately incorporate our history of the black experience. it belongs there. it belongs there told accurately. it belongs there told in the spirit of recognizing that out of that horrible experience of slavery eventually became spirit of freedom in pursuit of equality, a quality that makes americans americans, not the story-- i don't want to simply be a blinder champion of a falsely patriotic history, but one of the things that came out of the reaction to the 1619 project was president trumps proposal for a 1776 project, not to be confused with bob woodson's 1776 unite and we have just been through the latest political episode of this on
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martin luther king day in january, the 1776 commission issued its pulmonary report. it's really just a 20 page preface to its a document and another 20 pages of upended seas, but lays out the case that it's needed to be included in our understanding of our history and our civics peered two days later, on inauguration day, president of biden abolish the 1776 commission and the banished the short report to the archival documents of the trump administration. i have been doing my best to try to keep that thing alive but. i think 7076 commission was a good idea. i think 76 unite might have a stronger version of what a real civics curriculum would look like i'm very concerned at this point that 1776 has become a
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better tag, a better launching place for how we should understand what our civics instructions should look like and what our understanding of our own history should be. the world of our american historians is engraved pet-- is in grave peril i would say at this point when you teach young children who have no basis at all to resist what they are being told and take on the authority of their teachers which is second only to the authority of their parents that america became as a slave autocracy, that's nikole hannah-jones's word and since the beginning we have nothing but a nation founded on racial oppression and white supremacy. we are laying the groundwork for a generation which will simply hate our country. we really cannot have a nation founded on mutual hatred and division and presenting
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documents like this, to the world as though it's true history strikes me as very dangerous thing for us to do if we care about having any kind of cohesive nation going forward. my preaching will stop there and i will welcome the questions that will ensue. thank you. >> i'm actually going to switch to a quick question directed to be in-- in before he leaves. one of our question areas is chair of the aclu foundation of southern california. he ask, if he can agree there were unimaginable atrocities as part of systemic racism, why isn't it accurate to refer to the original sin of slavery and i might just been say how would you teach it in your charter schools? >> thank you for that question.
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i think there is no disagreement that slavery and a host of unimaginable atrocities in the united states enter out the world. it's not inconsistent with the phrase physiology that original sin of slavery, i think we are all frustrated by the framing of the 1619 project was that america's record of slavery as if none of it existed in the rest of the world. there are unimaginable atrocities-- that's our justification, but to make it appear that america was unique in this terrific practice them into not give honor to america's true uniqueness in eliminating these practices, unlike most other nations, that's what's the problem here.
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if you choose to cherry pick history and go searching for episodes of poor in the disc-- four in desire to leave together a narrative painting the country is irredeemably racist, you can do it, but you are being dishonest, so the reason that we again, 7060-- 1776 unite, we say this can't stand particularly if we are offering our curricula-- by the way, in a sum of the worst performing school districts in the country, chicago, buffalo, rochester, districts in which somewhere between 11 to make 20% of the kids are reading at grade level. you now want to compound the issue they are facing in terms of pure academics teaching them a history of this country that's telling them that they don't have a shot, that the country is
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hostile to their dreams. it's the height of un-american is him tell the complete story of america, warts and all. it's actually an inspiring one, not because it's blindly patriotic, because it actually acknowledge the unimaginable atrocities they did occur in the united states as they did in other countries around the world yet, america has the unique story-- eliminating those atrocities and leveraging the founding ideals as the vehicle through which the people who were on the receiving end of those atrocities haven't moved from persecution to prosperity. that doesn't mean you don't have racism today. there aren't other factors, but we all need to collectively address, but to paint the country is irredeemably racist and again so thank you for the question. i don't think there is anything
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about acknowledging unimaginable atrocities and recognizing the original sin of slavery. we didn't need the 1619 project for that. >> thank you so much. because i know you have to run, i want to say thank you very much, whenever you go off to your next appointment. thank you so very much for joining us. >> thank you, it was an honor to be part of that conversation. peter, thank you for the book. 1776 unite will be in touch with you to see how we can forge together going forward. thank you. >> thank you. the quest it wasn't just to doctor roe. how many other people want to answer mr. rose question cracks. >> can i chime-- >> yes. >> and imaginal atrocities occur in the world to have nothing to do with slavery.
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in 1776, the overwhelming majority of people in the world lived in abject servitude. one of the things that is grossly lacking in the 1619 project is sensitivity to contacts in making judgments according to appropriate standards. all the worlds great religions at one time or another gave a authoritative approval to the institution of slavery. it was not for millennia regarded as-- [inaudible] but actually by christians slavery was seen as something that was appropriate one way to discipline or order a sinful world.
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the term slavery as original sin , and i can document this, began in 1818, from james of poughkeepsie new york who was the person responsible for the amendments to the enabling bill for missouri's entrance into statehood. to the best of my knowledge and others, that's when the term original sin for slavery first entered public discourse. when we look back at 1776, we must look at an appropriate context to. for example, let me give you one example, 1619 project prohibiting legally prohibiting slaves from reading. carter woodson and african-american giant scholar is one of our best authorities that what percentage of slave population could read, he puts
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it at 15 to 20%. if we look at what the literacy rates for russian certs or european peasants, it's far less than that. in fact, because the law, many whites including masters and mistresses made the attempted to teach slaves how to read and write. the historical documentation on this is plentiful. again, go back to the point that context and appropriate standards of comparison. the 1619 project specializes in making judgments by an possible standards. utopian standards, standards of abstract perfection in a world of human beings those are inappropriate. in judging our past, they are inappropriate. >> thank you. doctor magnus or doctor would?
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>> one thing i would add to that this is a theme i think unfortunately runs throughout the entire 6019 project itself is a projection of false novelty about what it's up to, what it's doing and this is a recurring that 1619 project is revealing a store that's never been told before and some the academic literature making the same claim about so these are stories that of never been told before and get several of my co-pay unless in their opening remarks the history of slavery has been documented in excruciating detail. it's probably one of the most vibrant areas of scholarly production over the last 70 years. is a something that has a very full and well-developed and continuing to develop scholarly literature, one of the great tragedies is you have a journalistic project that is shoving aside 70 years of solid research, nuanced research
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search reveals the whores of the institution and pushing it aside selectively when it conflicts with its own political narrative , so in a way that most like marching backwards in its scholarly approach to a time where nuanced no one the matters and the only dominant theme is the political narrative it's advancing. that gives me chills were what it means for the future of historical research, historians need to be detail oriented. they need to be nuanced and investigate new avenues of evidence, return to all documents that have been neglected or set aside and explore those in excruciating detail, not having an overarching narrative driven primarily by politics. >> thank you. doctor wood, do you want to add to that? okay. i have a question of my own, we are now up to make 2021, not
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long since the book was published, a little longer it since it's been written, how much has changed that we are now in 2021 and it's a different political constellation. what are the new challenges, what would need to be added to what we need to say about the project of the 1619 project and about the solutions that need to be given to address the 1619 project? >> i guess i will-- doctor wood, would ask you first must doctor mcnamara-- >> i'm happy to take that up. while i do think the circumstances have changed radio -- a great deal, the biden administration appears to be very synthetic to the 1619 project making references to it. i would expect that the half of the presidency is likely to come
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into our schools encouraging even greater adoption, more intense interest in this thing, which leaves those of us skeptical of it or even more than skeptical, pronounce critics have it, having to deal with a situation in which we are wrongfooted to start with, so where do we begin to push back? i think the best for this is the realization that schools are still by our constitutional system left to localities in the state. we should work with the states and localities. as i have gone around talking with who knows how many tens of thousands of people by talk radio, my constant theme is go to your school board, find out what's being taught and if the school board is in favor of the 1619 project, get yourself a new
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school board members or run for it yourself. that's really the only lever of power that the public has against this. i have in front of me a document from the pulitzer center, 1619 project education network has been formed, and it is offering $5000 grants. many of them 45000-dollar grants my math says that's $200,000 to teachers who will help promote the 1619 project. there is also a hundred dollar stipends for fellows of this program. i have no way to really tally up with the "new york times" has a spent in promoting this. it must be well in excess of $10 million. it around for the first time in the newspapers history, a major
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television ad, 60 second television ad in february of 2020. it's done numerous full-page ads in some papers, no expenses spared to get this into the hands of teachers and to persuade whatever people take their lead from the "new york times" that this is the real history that needs taught and to oppose it is to stand in the way of history and be complicit with white racial suppresses amenities like that, so the wind is against us. if you want to teach real history, one of the things that you must do to begin with is learned some real history. if you are under age 40 or so you're probably than through school system privileges things like howard zinn history of the
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us, and that it's more important 1619. well, the howard zinn project as it's called adopted the 1619 project and a shoveled it into what it runs its engine of promoting howard cynicism and if you are family howard zinn, he's a former member of the american communist party who tar at du and i was there and was a proponent of this kind of cherry picking in which everything bad about america is foregrounded and everything else has disappeared in people's history of the united states, for example, there's not a single mention of the mayflower compact, one of the signaled documents in our history. that's why my book is titled 1620, the mayflower compact gave
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up one of the original versions of self-government in the country respectful of differences of religion in a status, it's seminal to know about if you want to know about america. it's not taught. if you are taking your history from zen or nikole hannah-jones and her comp years, so i think we are left with a very perplexing situation, i can blame the historians who have been spending the last 70 years dealing with the institution of slavery without seeming to make a dent in the thickheaded ignorance of teachers of this world who want to tell us nothing but bad news about who we are. i will let the teachers were kind of that. >> i guess i could jump in here. one observation i have made sense the 1619 project itself came out, was that in theory
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easily could've turned into a productive scholarly conversation for those first few days or weeks in august, 2019, when it emerged. i think that what a lot of critics tended to do start off with myself, gordon would another historians jumped in wanting a scholarly conversation about where it aired, what are some other narratives. in the year i guess now approaching a year and a half since i happen, the 1619 project has moved into them more nakedly political projection. it's been small steps as has been mentioned, nikole hannah-jones it has a bad habit of cherry picking history. i have probably the unique position of being on both sides of the cherry picking. in the first few weeks after 6019 project came out she somewhat unwittingly was citing my 2011 co-authored book " colonization after emancipation" a history of abraham lincoln's involvement in the colonization movement
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relocating former slaves that to liberia, probably the main scholarly work written on them and she started citing that in defense of more politicized claims it she was making, not quite accurate but she nonetheless decided it and then someone pointed out to her that i was the co-author, the critics of the 1619 project of this book and she suddenly dropped it and pretended i'm persona non grata now, so it's a standard based not on what historical evidence has advanced, but rather the politics of the person she's engaging, that's unfortunately intensified as peter mentioned one of the more recent episodes of the 1619 project happened after most of our publications came out, after peter's book was out to press and that was the discovery i made of the editing of the 1619 project website. it's actually happened after the
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event of the natural-- natural-- national archives group of scholars came into play the groundwork for what became the 1776 commission. peter was there another distinguished historic sins participated, but the next day nikole hannah-jones gave an interview on cnn or she was asked about this claim that the 1619 project was trying to supplant 1776 with the year 1619 as the true founding and suddenly she made this politicized argument the nine at which he claimed it was never the intention at all. what happened? several journalist started noting multiple times she was on record saying explicitly that was the intention. i found evidence of this myself and started remembering, wait a minute, the "new york times" website and also made that claim that 1619 is to displace 1776 as a reframing of american history, so i went back to the "new york times" website where the 16th
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19 project originally appeared and lo and behold it had been sent down the memory hole and disappeared. the text had been selectively edited to clean up and sanitize what had been a previous controversy all claim of the project. that exploded into the mainstream political discourse from one of her colleagues at the "new york times", bret stephens, basically called out nikole hannah-jones in his column and apparently promote-- provoke something of a war in the "new york times" newsroom over whether editorial writer should be lied to do this even though it's a clear-cut case of manipulating the record that they had left behind the project well, as we moved forward on this comeback controversy has been set aside by the defenders of the 1619 project as even if it was a valid critique, it's immaterial to you know bar the old term from the bear report remember in the two thousands and introduced the concept called truth, something that's
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truth but not necessarily honest, not necessarily straightforward invalidity, but touches upon a theme that certain people in the intellectual class and elise went to advance as if it were true even though it's engaged in deception. nikole hannah-jones in the 1619 project have embraced that tactic moving forward to where they are in a post- truth discourse to nonetheless cultivate a spitz-- specific narrative they wish and desire to be true for political reasons and that means you can set aside evidence of even alter and change her own record of publication to fit the new narrative to advance the politics forward. on for shelley, we are entering into an era where it's progressing at the time is unchecked and it's a real mark against not only nikole hannah-jones, jake silverstein for permitting this in the magazine, but editors and executives of the paper, that they even stood behind with a breach of historical integrity,
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breach of journalistic ethics and a breach of everything a paper or record should attempt to stand for. >> i would also say that there is no way in the near future nikole hannah-jones in particular is going to give up positioning because she's become a celebrity. she is earning enormous sums now on speaker circuits. a president fellow at my alexander hamilton institute, mary gray about his writing a book on the 1619 project and has fanned out some remarkable things about the kind of sums she's paid by colleges and universities across the country for peddling this garbage. someone also asked about howard is then, mary gray bauer is the author of the best book exploring the fake history of howard's then and if anyone
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knows that this book is used as a mainstream text in the schools they should drop a copy of mary gray bauer's book on howard's then and the superintendent's office. the book as he turned-- peter's nose and most scholars know even those on the left that don't want to admit public is that sin is no historian and in fact i think in any block quote you choose from the book you can find egregious errors. that's how bad this is. >> thank you. i went to go to an early question from the comments-- question answers. rod miller, i don't trust much from the "new york times" for years but they're not an active in the institution how has 1619 been received in the academy? has gained much traction? doctor magnus, i will ask you
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first appeared. >> it's been a true disappointment to see some of the academic reactions. although, i say the academy's split. there's a group of older historians in the fascinating here as they transcend the entire political spectrum. they range from people more conservative or libertarian or free market, probably the end of the spectrum i come from and many of our panelists as well all the way up to old guard marxist on the other hand, one of the more vocal critics of the 1619 project in an outfit known as the world socialist website and they were the original instigators that got james macpherson, gordon would, sean valens to do interviews to critique the project in the first place, so it's not strictly an ideological corner of the academy, but these are mostly older guard historians and other scholars there were trained in an era that had fidelity to facts and evidence
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and close ratings of documents. and whether you are conservative as could exist in the academy to an outright marxist, people trained in that mythological approach do object to fax misrepresented. they have been vocal. where the split has occurred is with the younger generation of historians, mostly of the left, not exclusively, but mostly of the political left, but rather than being old guard liberals adhering to facts, these are people that embrace critical theory and critical theories notion that everyone has their own personal truth that can advance even when it conflicts with the facts it unfortunately, is quite present in the academy. it's moved in a pronounced leftward direction in the past 15 to 20 years based on what used it to be an unfortunately is the younger generation of the critical theory folks who
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embrace the political objective of the 1619 project even to the point they're willing to set aside fidelity to evidence and historical facts in the way they analyze it. unfortunately, i think it's the larger group in the academy at the moment in the sense they are willing to tolerate the 1619 project's violation of basic ethical and scholarly norms because they agree with the overall political message. what that means going forward is the state of the history profession is in very bad shape to the point that a generation or two ago it would be inconceivable to see a scholar on the right, left or anywhere in between tolerate this abuse of evidence. now it's excused and overlooked and even politely embraced when it's advancing a political narrative that the academy seems to want. >> i agree with everything he just said. i've seen it, witnessed it at hamilton college where i taught
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for 40 years. i'm even more concerned about the ability of the 1619 project to penetrate and insinuate himself into the high schools because teachers are underpaid, you can see what the center is doing, it's offering up money and understand, this is very well funded, extraordinarily well-funded. they are willing to buy usage into the schools where it will further erode corrupt a discipline that as i indicated is deeply in trouble. >> happen to have-- now been-- a
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retired princeton university history professor who objected quietly to the project's portrayal of the 1619 african slaves, but she wrote so that i signed on to one of those letters that the groups of historians were putting forward to complain about how inaccurate the 1619 project was, she writes, i would be signing on to the white guys attack to something that was given a lot of black journalists and writers a chance to speak up in a big way, so i support the 1619 project is a kind of cultural event. that's astonishing to me that a princeton historian with a well, i know it's false, but it feels good, so i don't want to turn my back on people who are benefiting from this beautiful lies are not paid do anything. alex lichtenstein is a professor
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at human university in bloomington and at least at the time he was riding was the principal editor of the american historical review circulated a statement titled 1619 and all that, a kind of reference offering a comprehensive dismissal of any and all criticism that other historians have been making of the 1619 project. he describes it as-- well it just represents the common sense of what americans should be learning about our pasts. a public scuffle between journalists and members of our profession, he wrote, it was all anyone asked me about at the american historical association annual meeting during the first week of january, 2020. so, he turns to his pages of the journal here to send out a
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permission slip to all the members of the history profession, don't worry about this, whatever mistakes are in their, not to be bothered with, here's the mainstream history profession in its collective voice saying, let's not worry about it. leslie harris was the african-american historian who the "new york times" hired to fact check the 1619 project, a person with some integrity. she told the silverstein and nikole hannah-jones before they published that those claims about the american revolution having been fought to protect american slavery against the threat the british going to abolish it were absolutely false that they should fix that, they didn't fix it. she knew within days of it being published that they didn't fix
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it. she stayed silent for six months and finally mustered the courage to come forward in "politico" and say oh, i warned them about that, only after she went public did the times go back and make a tiny two word adjustment to that outrageously false claim. they changed it to: some of the patriots fought the war in order to protect slavery. the correct answer is none of, not a single historical document , diary, letter, newspaper report, anything reports-- a supports nikole hannah-jones's claims and yet she clings to it, so where are we with the history profession in this? well, we know there are maybe 30, 40, can't quite put a number
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to it, major historians in the country who have bravely set themselves forward in opposition , some of them buying cover, but nonetheless that's a minimal number of historians given the sheer size of the profession in this country. most aren't just dead silence. i'm happy to be corrected about that. >> you are not wrong. >> exactly the problem. >> thank you. it's now 3:28 p.m. i'm going to ask for concluding comments from the three of you and i will just say anyone who didn't have your questions answered, please send them to me randall at i will be glad to pass your comments on to the participants
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of the panel. again, this is in the chat, yes this is a recorded webinar-- it will be live on the nas youtube channel within 24 hours and frankly usually within six hours. so, it will be available quite soon and having said all that, is very concluding? i guess doctor for chet first. >> i think i said pretty much of it other than to say for people that are concerned there are alternatives out there. nas is alternative, my alexander hamilton institute's alternative , there are a variety of independent organizations out there that are attempting to counter this left word lurch in the academy which has been going on for a very long period of time and a positive that may come out of this is that at the
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grass roots level it's more and more-- as more more parents she was having to the education of their children, they themselves working with these independent organizations will get themselves increasingly educated , not only in materials, but in what is at stake, so there are ways, but it's going to be difficult. there's going to be a lot of energy and effort into it and a lot of sweat the history given in order for changes to be made. understand, especially because of wall street and the corporations and the enormous sums that they are pouring into initiatives like the 1619 project, it is not going to be easy. >> thank you. doctor magnus? >> preface by noting that we are
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facing a situation that i think we should be duly pessimistic about for the short-term. the trajectory of the 1619 project looks like it's on the ascent, but went to direct my comments to the long-term is just a final observation. historical error at this type including blatant misrepresentation of fact do not persist for the ages they do not persist over the long arc of history. few generations of scholars will look back on this episode and i have full confidence of this and see it as a time that's a black mark on the "new york times" reputation. they will see it as a time for scholarship went astray. we know many instances of this, consider the times and vomit to cover up stalin's role in the ukrainian famine in the 1930s, is now viewed as one of the great embarrassments of the "new york times" history because it basically ran a series of articles running interference
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for the soviet union's government as it was starving millions of people to death. that won a pulitzer prize to at the time because it was the fancy political narrative the times when to to tell, but history has judge that harshly and as we look forward we are basically keeping a record of the transgressions against the truth that this project has engaged in making petersburg has done that admirably. they're still more to be written, more to research, still along trajectory of scholarship on the history of slavery. it's been gone going for 70 years and remains a vibrant area of intellectual exploration. that's writing for the long-term, writing for the ages and that's going to be the thing that finally holds the 1619 project another political misrepresentations to account. >> thank you. doctor wood, i think you get the closing remarks. >> i have spent a good portion telling people not to be swayed
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by their anger and turned into pathways of intrepid behavior and language, i'm not only-- i think we better get pretty angry right now in that we are about to witness a generation or two of our children being taught a form of history which is going to alienate them from their country. if you can browse yourself to go out and do something about it, our political class is not going to do anything about it and our educational leadership is not going to do anything about it. critical race theory, crt is the buzz word of the hour endorsed by the current president of the united states. we are faced with-- in the short-term it's a a pretty dire situation, people need to rouse
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themselves to that dire situation by becoming the experts at the experts refuse to be, equate yourself with history i have been heavily reading the last six months amount of a black history because i think i need to know and i think that's a commendable exercise to be urged on everyone who wants to engage this project and get out of this by simply turning a blind eye to what the "new york times" has done. we have got to be good, knowledgeable, honest and fair minded critics. it will require some suitable anger, so thank you and i really appreciate bill and bob and ian coming on this program with us and support all of their organizations and hours also.
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>> thank you so much, everyone and i believe i'm going to close the tab and this will be ending our. thank you very much, everyone, for listening. >> live tv on c-span2, creed by merck table-- cable television companies. ♪♪ >> tonight about tv in prime time, audrey cronin explains how advancements in technology have driven increase outbreaks of terrorist activity. crime writer provides a history of female: artists for jonathan of huffington post explains the history of the a for the care act and what's next for healthcare coverage in the us. claremont review of books editor charles hessler


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