For a time, The 1619 Project was on track to become a standard racial education curriculum throughout the United States. It has the backing of The New York Times, which initially published it. Its author/editor, Nicole Hannah-Jones, is feted by other leftist journalists and talk show hosts. She has received a Pulitzer Prize. Online resources are available to guide teachers as they introduce 1619‘s radical ideology into their classrooms.
According to Education Next, “The Pulitzer Center’s [publisher of the online materials] annual report says more than 3,500 classrooms used the materials.” It also points out that “Random House Children’s Books announced plans to publish four 1619 Project books for young readers—one young adult, one middle-grade, and two picture books.”
Despite all the support from the education and media establishments, the program is in trouble. People are beginning to see through its Marxist-inspired travesty of American History.
Reaction Against the Project
The 1619 Project has taken a severe hit, courtesy of the usually liberal State of Washington. Those fighting 1619 in their school districts should look to the tactics used there.
The most effective organization involved in this turnaround is the Washington Policy Center (WPC). It describes itself as “an independent, non-profit think tank that promotes sound public policy based on free-market solutions.”
On October 28, 2020, the WPC released and distributed a “policy note” titled, The 1619 Project: Sloppy Scholarship and Distorted History Under Consideration for Washington Schools. Its “Key Findings” included:
- The 1619 Project represents poor research methods and contains factual errors.
- Lincoln scholars have found The 1619 Project has serious gaps in teaching about the Civil War era.
- The 1619 Project violates the ethical standards of journalism and published academic research.
- The 1619 Project presents an inaccurate understanding of the past, denies students access to the rich texture of American History, and teaches students to hate their country.
Armed with this information, the organization visited all Washington State school districts. All of them rejected 1619.
The WPC benefitted from the work of the National Association of Scholars (NAS). Its president, Peter Wood, wrote a book criticizing 1619. According to Jennifer Krabbany, editor of The College Fix website, “Peter Wood’s new book 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project accomplishes two things in one. It meticulously debunks claims made in the New York Times 1619 Project and offers a positive, more accurate narrative of America’s true foundation.”
When interviewed, Dr. Wood took dead aim at 1619‘s central premise. “Our ancestors did one remarkable thing that no one else in the world did, which was they created an abolition movement and ended the institution of slavery.”
In August 2020, NAS hosted an online event titled 1776 v. 1619: Two Visions of American History. The speakers were Dr. Robert Woodson and Dr. Wilfred McClay. Dr. Woodson is the guiding spirit behind an anti-1619 effort called 1776 Unites, which is developing its own set of materials. Dr. McClay is the author of Land of Hope, a textbook that presents a far more accurate American history narrative than the false one 1619 tries to impose.
Where are the Catholic Voices?
A single victory in one state does not mean that this war is over. Not all the resources mentioned here perfect, None present a genuinely Catholic sense of the proper relationships among people throughout History. However, any of them are vastly preferable to the deliberate propaganda of 1619.
Noticeably absent from this struggle is the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA).” Their mission statement states, “NCEA strengthens Catholic school communities by providing professional development, formation, leadership and advocacy.” However, there is no word on its website that would warn administrators and teachers in Catholic schools to avoid 1619. One page does provide “Catholic School Resources for Combatting Racism.”
That page does feature a link to the infamous “Message to Staff & Clients from Catholic Charities President & CEO Rob McCann.” In this statement, Mr. McCann of Catholic Charities Eastern Washington accuses himself and Catholic institutions of systemic racism. He confessed that “I am a racist. How could I not be? Living in America, where every institution is geared to advantage people who look like me?”
Mr. McCann’s “confession” illustrates everything that is wrong with 1619 and its basic philosophy of system racism. The claim that the Church is racist is false. Informed as it is by the love of God and neighbor, Catholic teaching is the easiest, quickest, and surest path to harmonious relationships among humanity’s various races and ethnicities. The Marxist egalitarianism of The 1619 Project is as removed from the Catholic sense as Hell is from Heaven. It is fueled by hate, not by the love commanded by Christ.
Weapons for the Ongoing Struggle
The victory in Washington shows that the project can be defeated. Indeed, it is a dangerous program. In December 2017, The Atlantic published an interview with Nicole Hannah-Jones. Jeffrey Goldberg asked her, “If you were the dictator of America, would you outlaw private schools?” Her response, “The answer to your question is yes, you would have to. If you truly wanted to equalize and integrate schools, you would have to.”
Everyone can be grateful that Nicole Hannah-Jones is not the dictator of the United States. However, if American schools “educate” a whole generation of students according to the tenets of 1619, her response might not be so far-fetched. Thanks to the Washington Policy Center, the National Association of Scholars, and others, parents and concerned citizens have weapons that they can use to fight against 1619. This information is readily available.
It is up to Christian parents to use these tools.