At Least Nikole Hannah-Jones Is Honest About the 1619 Project’s Goals

COMMENTARY Progressivism

At Least Nikole Hannah-Jones Is Honest About the 1619 Project’s Goals

Feb 28, 2023 5 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Mike Gonzalez

Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum Senior Fellow

Mike is the Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum Senior Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
Nikole Hannah-Jones speaks during The 1619 Project: Exclusive Screening & Pop-Up Exhibit launch party at The GRAMMY Museum on February 01, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. Timothy Norris / Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Key Takeaways

The architect of the “1619 Project” isn’t trying to hoodwink anybody—she admits that she’s rewriting history to make Americans stop admiring their country.

Historians have disputed almost every aspect of her narrative.

Her “new information” is neither new nor information but is wildly exaggerated claims used strategically for a political purpose, amplified by a complicit media.

Give Nikole Hannah-Jones credit for candor. The architect of the “1619 Project” isn’t trying to hoodwink anybody—she admits that she’s rewriting history to make Americans stop admiring their country, reconsider capitalism, and convince them to subvert all of society.

“The project directly challenges the narrative of American exceptionalism,” Hannah-Jones said in a talk in Fairfax, Virginia, this month. “We as a country need to believe that we were founded on these pure ideals.”

Her project aims to disabuse you of this view. She wants to dismantle “this mythology of America, this idea of American exceptionalism.”

To achieve this mass deprogramming, the country needs a fundamental conceptual overhaul, and since nothing is more primordial than what we believe about ourselves, the very heart of that must be struck. Hence, why her conversation in Fairfax was labeled “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story.”

The talk was presented as a conversation at the county’s public library between Hannah-Jones and Fairfax County Chief Equity Officer Karla Bruce—a format the New York Times “journalist” demanded.

>>> What the 1619 Project Is Really About

From its beginning in 2019 in the New York Times magazine, the 1619 Project has sought to replace the founding date of the country, the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, with 1619, the year she says the first slaves arrived in Virginia aboard the pirate ship the White Lion. This, she maintains, is the nation’s real founding.

Historians have disputed almost every aspect of her narrative. Peter Wood, the head of the National Association of Scholars, said the 20 Africans aboard the White Lion were actually indentured servants who were later freed.

Of her critics, she said that “the backlash was inevitable.” That’s because “if there’s racial progress, it would be met by racist progress.”

Hannah-Jones, thus, remains as defiant as she is foul-mouthed — her talk had to be bleeped here and there because of her liberal use of curse words—and as she is mendacious—she claimed Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) doesn’t want slavery taught in schools, a claim even PolitiFact has debunked.

And she is always eager to use her deliberate distortion of American history to make the case for “reparations,” as she did during her Fairfax talk, by which she means paying black citizens a great deal of money as a form of retribution for the tragedy of slavery hundreds of years ago.

How much? Her new Hulu miniseries puts a round number on it: $13 trillion.

But Hannah-Jones’s ambitions don’t end at reparations. At her Virginia talk, she again made clear that she has a fundamental problem with the free market system—even though it produces the wealth that she seeks to appropriate and her ungodly $35,350 speaking fee.

She claimed, “Powerful people don’t want people making those connections [between slavery and capitalism] because narrative drives policy, and if we start to say the inequality I see, right, whether it be class or race, is because we are a society built on anti-blackness that the legacy of slavery of labor exploitation, of racial capitalism shaping our society, then we support different policies.”

To support alternatives to “racial capitalism,” Hannah-Jones then must get enough people to buy into her simplistic proposition that all inequality in society is due to systemic racism.

“If I think everyone has the same opportunities in America and where black people struggle it’s because of their own pathology, then I support regressive individualistic policy that doesn't change the structure or hierarchy or inequality in our society,” she explained to her fawning moderator and an even more obsequious audience in the mostly white leafy suburb 20 minutes from Washington, D.C.

This is why, she freely admitted, she is rewriting history. When Bruce asked, in one of the few questions she managed to sneak in during the 55-minute “conversation,” about how Hannah-Jones’s detractors see this as “an attempt to rewrite American history,” Hannah-Jones interrupted her with, “That’s true.”

“I hope that this doesn’t sound demeaning to anyone,” Hannah-Jones said condescendingly. “But I realize a lot of people don’t understand what historiography is. … Historiography is always unearthing new information and making new interpretations of old information.”

>>> “1619 Project” Is Back and As Slanderous as Ever!

Never mind that her “new information” is neither new nor information but is wildly exaggerated claims used strategically for a political purpose, amplified by a complicit media, and accepted as gospel truth by a guilt-ridden audience.

“I like to say the 1619 Project is the red pill in The Matrix. You read this book and suddenly you start to question your reality and you realize all of this was created. And then you try to subvert it. I want y’all to do that,” she said.

If it were just one reporter at a New York newspaper saying this, nobody would pay any mind. But the 1619 Project has become a cottage industry, invading school curricula and library talks. Hence the Hulu miniseries.

Nor is this an isolated event. The campaign to replace the American system of free trade and representative democracy with—we can gather from the literature—central planning and a “participatory democracy” that squashes the distribution of power has gone very far already.

This campaign, of which the 1619 Project is but the spearhead, targets not just America’s economic wealth but its social wealth as well. As the French man of letters Ernest Renan said at a famous lecture at the Sorbonne in 1882, “A heroic past, great men, glory (by which I mean genuine glory)—this is the social capital upon which one bases a national idea.”

That, and nothing less, is what’s at stake.

This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner

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