1619 Project is not History

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History is a study of written records from the past evidencing what people did and what happenings occurred. History is made up of artifacts, reliable sources, and oral and written narratives. Accountable history only begins when history is written down.  I always tell my students that we cannot be exactly sure about Ancient History dates and happenings because we have no written account as evidence. Even having a written account does not mean the history is unbiased.  Therefore, one must use moral judgement, research and collaborating sources to provide evidence.  Heredotus, named “The Father of History”, could not read hieroglyphics himself, but he did accept Egyptian tales to be a “history” for the Egyptians.  “Such as think the tales told by the Egyptians credible,” he says,  “are free to accept them for their history. For my own part, I propose to myself, throughout my work, faithfully to record the traditions of the several nations.” 1 His book of History, written in 440 B.C. is therefore evidence of happenings in that time period.

When I heard of the 1619 Project, I started to research the evidence they used to form their account of History.  I immediately found out that the project was a work of a journalist and was never to be used as History.  This quote is from Nikole Hannah-Jones, “I’ve always said that the ‘1619 Project’ is not a history. It was a work of journalism that explicitly seeks to challenge the national narrative and, therefore, the national memory.” 2  The 1619 Project was unveiled by The New York Times in 2019.  It seems to me that the 1619 Project simply wants to erase the United States narrative of all of our races historical evidence with the exception of those who came to this country as slaves.

The Pulizter Center has provided a means to distribute curriculum based on the 1619 Project. Their mission statement on their website states, “Founded in 2006, we are now the largest single source of money for global enterprise reporting—and the only one incorporating this reporting into comprehensive educational programs that extend the impact of the reporting and allow students and the public to engage directly on the issues…”.3 From this time forward the Pulizter Center can use it’s “reporting” to manufacture curriculum, but reporters cannot go into the past and create new written accounts of our history. To me, the means and the medium are suspect.

In my 15 years of homeschooling, I have often struggled to find unbiased reliable sources to use for History curriculum.  Through my research I have found the history books listed on my site to be the most reliable accounts of American History for elementary children;  The Landmark History of the American People (originally published in 1968) and American History Stories (originally published in 1908).

There are many good informational sources if you are inclined to do further research, but I do not see anything in my research that would provide accurate evidence to support this newest erasure of our nation’s history.  The 1619 Project mentions no other races’ historical trials and triumphs after coming to America. In my limited time and with my research in hand, I will not give the 1619 Project another glance.

I will, however, continue to research historical documents that give evidence of our American History. For example, in our nation’s current situation I have found solace in a speech written by Abraham Lincoln in 1838.  He was addressing a group of young men at a lyceum in Springfield Illinois.  The speech was entitled, “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions.”  His address was sparked by a mob’s recent burning of a slave in St. Louis. Here is the excerpt I was most moved by:

“They were the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence.–Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws: and, that we improved to the last; that we remained free to the last; that we revered his name to the last; that, during his long sleep, we permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting place; shall be that which to learn the last trump shall awaken our WASHINGTON.

Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”4

The foundation that we have been given must endure and our respect for the evidence of our constitutional society and our laws cannot be forgotten, re-written or erased. I encourage you to share this blog with others and to keep vigilant to your purpose of gaining wisdom for yourself and your children.

1  Vuibert, Arsenius John Baptist,  An Ancient History, From the Creation to the Fall of the Western Empire in A.D. 476 (Library of Congress, at Washington DC),  page 33

2   David Randall, Kick the ‘1619 Project’ Out of Schools, This article was originally published by American Greatness on August 7, 2020

Pulitzer Center website

Abraham LincolnThe Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions:  Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois,  January 27, 1838