The Washington Post has revealed that Hannah-Jones, the founder of the "1619 Project" became furious when faced with criticism from one of her colleagues over the revisionist project that attempts to link the founding of America to slavery, and suggests that the "true" founding in America was in 1619. Bret Stephens wrote about his dismay with the "1619 Project" in the paper of record that ran the essays in the first place, The New York Times.
Hannah Jones reportedly became furious when Stephen's oped came out. "She sent vitriolic emails to both Kingsbury and Stephens ahead of publication. She also tweeted that efforts to discredit her work 'put me in a long tradition of [Black women] who failed to know their places.' She changed her Twitter bio to 'slanderous and nasty-minded mulattress'— a reference to the trailblazing journalist Ida B. Wells, whom the Times slurred with those same words in 1894."
The New York Times' "1619 Project" emerged into a landscape of discourse that welcomed it uncritically. The leftist media pundits and advocates that took up the scholarly essays on slavery and civil rights were proponents of the project. The mistakes were only noted after the essays made their way through the intellectual and media community.
By the time the full scope of this revisionist history project hit the White House, it had already been lauded and praised to the point where it had received a Pulitzer Prize.
Now that the dust has settled, and the intelligentsia isn't falling all over themselves to say nice things about the project with so many major historical errors, critics are calling for the revocation of the Prize. Glen Loury, as well as additional scholars, came out against the project due to its factual errors.
They wrote: "Prominent historians, most of them deeply sympathetic to the Project’s goal of bringing the African American experience more fully into our understanding of the American past, nevertheless felt obliged to point out, in public statements beginning in September 2019, the Project's serious factual errors, specious generalizations, and forced interpretations. Hannah-Jones did not refute these criticisms or answer them in a respectful or meaningful way. Instead, she dismissed them."
At the time, The New York Times defended the work with full editorial voice, writing that "historical understanding is not fixed; it is constantly being adjusted by new scholarship and new voices." What was revealed that was even more troubling was that the NYT intended to make the full text of the "1619 Project," errors and all, available for educators to use in their history classes.
Yet it wasn't until March that they corrected the falsehoods, and even then, it was the addition of two words that they felt was sufficient to address the many problems in Hannah-Jones' opening essay.
The "1619 Project" was a passion project for its creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who came up with idea after the year 1619 stuck in her head from Lerone Bennett's Before the Mayflower, wanted to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the landing of the White Lion merchant vessel, holding 20 African souls, on North American shores.
Stephens' opposition to the "1619 Project" wasn't the first oped of that nature this year that aroused her frustration with The New York Times oped editors. After the NYT published an oped by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Hannah-Jones blasted it, saying:
"If chattel slavery — heritable, generational, permanent, race-based slavery where it was legal to rape, torture, and sell human beings for profit — were a 'necessary evil' as @TomCottonAR says, it's hard to imagine what cannot be justified if it is a means to an end.— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) July 26, 2020"
That tweet, like most of the other's on her feed, has been deleted. Cotton's criticism of the problems in the "1619 Project," has now been echoed by scholars, pundits, journalists, historians, and the sitting US President, who launched a commission of his own called the 1776 Commission to advocate for the teaching of an American history that focuses on what the US got right in its more than two centuries of maintaining as free and fair a democracy as the world has ever known.
The Washington Post notes, too, that Hannah-Jones has walked back some of her ire at the reporting of the project's problems, writing that "she acknowledges that for all the experts she consulted, she should have sat down with scholars with particular focus on colonial history, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War."
"I should have been more careful," Hannah-Jones said, "because I don't think that any other fact would have given people the fodder that this has, and I am tortured by it. I'm absolutely tortured by it."
Hannah-Jones is plagued by her initial refusal to be careful with the facts of the story she was telling, and to instead focus on how the project, and the history, felt to her. But that’s exactly what the problem with critical race theory has been. It’s not about facts, it’s a theory about the material reality of society that is based on emotional reactions, and historical problems that, while serious and long-lasting, are not manifest in America today to even remotely the same extent.
It appears that, when confronted with facts, ideologues like Hannah-Jones have no other recourse than to respond with vitriol and personal attacks.
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