Skip to comments.Down the 1619 Projectís Memory Hole
Posted on 09/21/2020 6:55:28 PM PDT by dontreadthis
The history of the American Revolution isnt the only thing the New York Times is revising through its 1619 Project. The paper of record has also taken to quietly altering the published text of the project itself after one of its claims came under intense criticism.
When the 1619 Project went to print in August 2019 as a special edition of the New York Times Magazine, the newspaper put up an interactive version on its website. The original opening text stated:
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 countrys history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. [emphasis added]
The passage, and in particular its description of the year 1619 as our true founding, quickly became a flashpoint for controversy around the project. Critics on both the Left and Right took issue with the papers declared intention of displacing 1776 with the alternative datea point that was also emphasized in the magazine features graphics, showing the date of American independence crossed out and replaced by the date of the first slave ships arrival in Jamestown, Virginia.
For several months after the 1619 Project first launched, its creator and organizer Nikole Hannah-Jones doubled down on the claim. I argue that 1619 is our true founding, she tweeted the week after the project launched. Also, look at the banner pic in my profilea reference to the graphic of the date 1776 crossed out with a line. Its a claim she repeated many times over.
But something changed as the historical controversies around the 1619 Project intensified in late 2019 and early 2020. A group of five distinguished historians took issue with Hannah-Joness lead essay, focusing on its historically unsupported claim that protecting slavery was a primary motive of the American revolutionaries when they broke away from Britain in 1776. Other details of the project soon came under scrutiny, revealing both errors of fact and dubious interpretations of evidence in other essays, such as Matthew Desmonds 1619 Project piece attempting to connect American capitalism with slavery. Finally back in March, a historian who the Times recruited to fact-check Hannah-Joness essay revealed that she had warned the paper against publishing its claims about the motives of the American Revolution on account of their weak evidence. The 1619 Projects editors ignored the advice.
Throughout the controversy, the line about the year 1619 being our true founding continued to haunt the Times. This criticism did not aim to denigrate the projects titular date or the associated events in the history of slavery. Rather, the passage came to symbolize the Timess blurring of historical analysis with editorial hyperbole. The announced intention of reframing the countrys origin date struck many readers across the political spectrum as an implicit repudiation of the American revolution and its underlying principles.
Rather than address this controversy directly, the Timesit now appearsdecided to send it down the memory holethe euphemized term for selectively editing inconvenient passages out of old newspaper reports in George Orwells dystopian novel 1984. Without announcement or correction, the newspaper quietly edited out the offending passage such that it now reads:
The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the countrys history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.
Discovery of this edit came about earlier this week when Nikole Hannah-Jones went on CNN to deny that she had ever sought to displace 1776 with a new founding date of 1619. She repeated the point in a now-deleted tweet: The #1619Project does not argue that 1619 was our true founding. We know this nation marks its founding at 1776. It was not the first time that Hannah-Jones had tried to alter her self-depiction of the projects aims on account of the controversial line. She attempted a similar revision a few months ago during an online spat with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.
But this time the brazen rewriting of her own arguments proved too much. Hannah-Joness readers scoured her own Twitter feed and public statements over the previous year, unearthing multiple instances where she had in fact announced an intention to displace 1776 with 1619.
The foremost piece of evidence against Hannah-Joness spin, of course, came from the opening passage of from the Timess own website where it originally announced its aim to reframe the countrys history around the year 1619 as our true founding. When readers returned to that website to cite the line however, they discovered to their surprise that it was no longer there.
The Times quietly dropped the offending passage at some point during the intervening year, although multiple screencaps of the original exist. The Internet Archives Wayback Machine suggests the alteration came around late December 2019, when the 1619 Project was facing an onslaught of criticism over this exact point from several distinguished historians of the American founding.
It wasnt the only edit that the newspaper made to further conceal its previous denigration of 1776. Prompted by the discovery of the first deletion, Twitter users noticed another suspicious change to the projects text. The print edition of the 1619 Project from August 2019 contained an introductory passage reading:
In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed.
The website version of the 1619 Project now reads:
In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the English colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed.
This additional reference to the 1619 origin point, underlined in the original print version, is no more.
Whatever the exact occasion for the changes, the Times did not disclose its edits or how they obscured one of the most controversial claims in the entire 1619 Project. They simply made the problematic passages disappear, hoping that nobody would notice.
Phillip W. Magness is a senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, and author of The 1619 Project: A Critique. You can follow him on Twitter @PhilWMagness.
She left out the fact that Africans sold their own people..WONDER WHY THE BLACK WRITER DID THAT??????? KILLS THEIR NARRATIVE ABOUT RACIST WHITES......
nyslimes cheated and lied!
This is my shocked face. It looks like my unsurprised face.
First legal slave owner in the Americans was a black man.
Weren’t many of the slavers in Africa of Islamic background?
I always got a kick out of the movie “Amistad” and Cinque, the slave in the film going to court to demand his freedom. The fun fact about the movie after the courts free him ? He goes back to Africa and opens up a slave stand to ship more of his captured fellow Africans to the Americas and perpetual bondage.
Spielberg, of course, left that part out at the end.
Colonial law, the first slave under English colonial law.
The real first slaveholders were not the whites. They were the American Indians. (E.g. The Cherokee.)
As pointed out above, it was blacks who sold other blacks as slaves. It should also be pointed out that Africans (muslims) captured and held American white sailors as slaves in north Africans, and at previous broad periods of time (700AD to 1430AD approx) conducted slaving raids on White Europe.
We should have picked our own cotton bump.
Kamal harris’s family were slave owners
Professors and historians call for withdrawal of ‘1619 Project ...www.youtube.com
The letter released Tuesday says the Project erased false claims in an attempt to deceive the public.
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