Without these things, they truly have nothing.
The “1619 Project” is described by Times editorial board member Mara Gay in the following words: “In the days and weeks to come, we will publish essays demonstrating that nearly everything that has made America exceptional grew out of slavery.” In a formal statement, the Times editorial board elaborated: “The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims 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.”
In other words, in its very conception, the 1619 Project is an historically illiterate lie, whose self-evident purpose is to erase the actual foundation of the nation born in 1776 and memorialized by Lincoln as a “new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Hannah-Jones’ explanation of the project to make 1619 America’s Founding instead of 1776 or 1787, describes the event in these words: “In August 1619, just 12 years after the English settled Jamestown, Va.,… the Jamestown colonists bought 20 to 30 enslaved Africans from English pirates. The pirates had stolen them from a Portuguese slave ship that had forcibly taken them from what is now the country of Angola. Those men and women who came ashore on that August day were the beginning of American slavery. They were among the 12.5 million Africans who would be kidnapped from their homes and brought in chains across the Atlantic Ocean in the largest forced migration in human history until the Second World War.”
This description is a tissue of fictions beginning with the insinuation that 12.5 million Africans were shipped to America in the Atlantic Slave Trade. The proper figure is 330,000 – bad enough – but a sign that American slavery even in the Western Hemisphere was significantly less than Hannah-Jones and her enablers would like it to be. More strikingly, the statement that this was “the beginning of American slavery” is false on its face. It was a continuation of English – not American practice. And the 20 Africans brought to Virginia in 1619 were not slaves.
As the distinguished African-American Princeton historian, Nell Painter, observed in a critique of the 1619 Project, the Africans brought to Virginia in 1619 were indentured servants, meaning that they would be free within a set number of years, usually five to seven. In fact the majority of laborers in the Virginia colony were indentured servants, almost all of them white. Moreover, neither the 20 indentured servants who arrived in Virginia in 1619 nor the vast majority of actual slaves who came later were “kidnapped” by white Englishmen or any other whites. They were bought at slave auctions centered in Ghana and Benin from black African slave owners. The 20 indentured servants who arrived in Virginia in 1619 had been captured and indentured by black African warlords as spoils of war. All of these facts undermine the Times’ attack on America’s founding, so Hannah-Jones omits them.
The ideological character of the 1619 Project is manifest in the subtitle of Hannah-Jones’ historically illiterate introduction: “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.” This claim is based first of all on a grammatical misunderstanding of the word “ideals,” and then on an extravagant distortion of the historical record. “Ideals” are by their very nature aspirations not facts. The Founders’ ideals were actually commitments they made which they and their heirs did carry out.
In the second place, Hannah-Jones characterization of the founders as pro-slavery in her introduction is just an offensive slander. In the words of C. Bradley Thompson’s scholarly study of the founders attitudes, America’s Revolutionary Mind: “Not a single revolutionary leader ever publicly praised slavery as a positive good. Benjamin Franklin, speaking as president of the Pennsylvania Society of Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, described slavery as ‘an atrocious debasement of human nature.’ George Washington, a slaveholder, told a friend, ‘There is not a man living, who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of [slavery].’ At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, James Madison told his colleagues, ‘We have seen the mere distinction of color made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man.’”
Hannah-Jones’ claim that the Founders led a revolution to protect slavery is also transparently false. The year 1787 saw the passing of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which established settlement of the region that would become Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. It was a geographical area as large as the existing 13 states. Article IV outlawed slavery in this unsettled land. What rationale would the allegedly pro-slavery founders have for doing that?
Ahh, but the Left’s goal, in this and every other case, is not to arrive at honest answers via a scrupulous and impartial examination of historical fact. It is to distort, conceal, and mislead so thoroughly that such uncomfortable questions are never asked at all. Their interest has never been in advancing or spreading knowledge, but in suppressing it. Horowitz knows full well what the real point is:
The 1619 Project is an outrageous, racist, falsification of American history. A metastasizing curriculum in America’s schools, it is a dagger aimed at America’s heart, at its self-esteem and self-understanding, at its national pride. It aims to destroy America’s shield against its real world enemies. These enemies are legion because tyrannies around the globe hate democracy in general and America in particular, as the most tolerant and most inclusive nation among all nations with large internal minorities.
No American needs to bother looking “around the globe” to find those enemies; there are legions of them right here among us, mindlessly seeking to destroy the very host that nurtures and sustains the witless parasites.
For comparison, there is not a black, brown or Asian nation that has elected as its commander-in-chief a white countryman the way white American majorities elected Barack Obama – not once but twice.
Again: their argument isn’t with us, and it never really has been. It’s with reality—with history, with science, with human nature, with truth itself. It’s an argument they’re eternally doomed to lose, but they always create a lot of havoc and misery before they’re finally taken down.