Saturday, March 28, 2020

"Distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods": Where does 1619 state that Africans themselves were central players in the slave trade? That's right: Nowhere


At the Star Tribune, Katherine Kersten takes the 1619 project head on.
In August, the New York Times launched the “1619 Project” with great fanfare. The self-proclaimed goal of the project — a series of more than 30 essays and artistic productions — is to “reframe” history, convincing Americans that our nation’s “true founding” occurred not in 1776, but 400 years ago, in 1619, when 20 or so slaves came ashore in the Jamestown colony.

 … In fact, the 1619 Project gets the truth exactly backward. America is exceptional, not because it once allowed slavery — a universal, unquestioned practice throughout most of human history — but because its founders launched a great and unprecedented experiment in democratic self-governance. Our history, with fits and starts, has been one long progress toward freedom, lighting a beacon to which people of all races have flocked.

The Times’ project is the latest chapter in the American left’s ongoing campaign to rewrite history. This movement approaches history, in all its messy complexity, not as a search for truth but as a vehicle for advancing a political agenda.

The 1619 Project aims to recast Americans’ concept of their nation as one founded on freedom, equality and opportunity into one irremediably corrupted by slavery, inequality and racism. Using distortions, half-truths and outright falsehoods, the Times promotes a narrative that our founding ideals, allegedly false from the beginning, remain so, by extension, today.

 … The 1619 Project’s simplistic and misleading “good guy/bad guy” narrative rests on several central falsehoods.

First, it portrays slavery as an evil for which Americans bear unique responsibility and should feel overwhelming guilt, even today.

In fact, until recently, slavery and human bondage were the norm throughout the world. Slavery was a bedrock institution in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and Asia, and among the Incas and Aztecs in the New World. In the early 1800s, an estimated three-quarters of the world’s population endured slavery or serfdom of some kind.

Today, approximately 40 million human beings remain trapped in slavery in countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China and various parts of Africa.

By focusing uniquely on the U.S., the Times creates the impression that most slaves in the Atlantic slave trade were brought here. In fact, that was true of only about 5 percent. The other 95 percent were transported to Latin America and the Caribbean, with about 40 percent going to Brazil.
The 1619 Project also errs in laying blame for the slave trade almost exclusively on white Europeans and Americans. In fact, Europeans were latecomers.

The Arabs’ treatment of black Africans can aptly be termed an African Holocaust,” according to historian John Dewar Gleissner. “Arab slave traders removed slaves from Africa for about 13 centuries, compared to three centuries of the Atlantic slave trade.” Arab traders primarily sent slaves throughout the Middle East and Asia, as far as China.

Moreover, from 1500-1700, there were more white Europeans enslaved on North Africa’s Barbary Coast than black slaves sent from West Africa to the Atlantic world, according to historian Stewart Gordon. Whites were enslaved in the Ottoman Empire decades after American blacks were freed. In the 1840s, 10 percent of British naval power was devoted to trying to end the Arab slave trade in the Indian and Atlantic oceans.

The Times is essentially silent about another fact that doesn’t fit its narrative: Africans themselves were central players in the slave trade.

“Buying and selling human beings had been part of many African cultures … long before the first white people landed” on their shores, according to a September 2019 article in the Wall Street Journal, “When the Slave Traders Were African.”

Once Europeans became involved, they generally waited on the coast for Africans traders — sometimes supplied by slave-trading ethnic groups like the Efik of Nigeria — to bring slaves to them. Even at the height of the Atlantic slave trade, Africans kept more slaves for themselves than they sent to the Americas.

The anguished debate over slavery in the U.S. is often silent on the role that Africans played,” according to the Journal article. There is little national discussion of this topic in Africa today, and some Africans remain proud of their family’s slave-trading heritage, the article notes.

When President Bill Clinton apologized for slavery during a visit to Africa, Uganda’s president replied, “African chiefs were the ones waging war on each other and capturing their own people and selling them. If anyone should apologize, it should be the African chiefs.”

In light of this history, the American founders’ statement in 1776, in the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” was a bold and radical claim. This ideal, if not yet social reality, reflected Christian and Enlightenment principles, and sprang from a dawning mid-18th century European moral awakening which maintained that all human beings have an inherent dignity and natural rights.

James Madison, from Virginia, branded slavery a “national evil,” and Ben Franklin, of Philadelphia, was president of an abolition society. The founders knew they couldn’t free the slaves and win their own independence at the same time, given Southern opposition. But the Declaration laid the moral, political and social foundation for slavery’s eventual extinction.

Six of the former 13 colonies abolished slavery shortly after the Revolutionary War. In 1787, the Northwest Ordinance barred it in the nation’s vast new territories, and Congress abolished the slave trade in 1808, as soon as the Constitution allowed for it. The abolition movement grew in influence, even as the invention of the cotton gin made slavery more profitable.

The Civil War, in which approximately 360,000 Union soldiers gave their lives, ended slavery. In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln speculated that the bloody war was the punishment God had exacted from our nation for its toleration of slavery. The 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution quickly followed, abolishing slavery and guaranteeing former slaves legal equality and the right to vote.

In the South, “Jim Crow” legal discrimination grew in power, but in 1954 the Supreme Court banned school segregation in Brown vs. Board of Education. This was followed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At the time, all Supreme Court justices and all senators were white. The 1960s saw expansive “Great Society” social welfare legislation.

In truth, America’s national story is one long quest for civil rights.

The 1619 Project charges that “our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written” and that the founders didn’t actually believe them. Ironically, this was precisely the view of defenders of slavery — like John C. Calhoun.

Calhoun said of the Declaration of Independence, “There is not a word of truth in it.” And U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, who handed down the infamous Dred Scott decision, wrote that “it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included” in the declaration’s ideal of equality.

On the contrary, Frederick Douglass, a towering civil rights hero and former slave, lauded the Constitution as “a glorious liberty document,” while the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. hailed the declaration as a “promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.”

The Times is wrong, too, in its outlandish claim that American economic prosperity — even today — derives from slavery. This notion is a revival of the Civil War-era Southern planters’ claim that “Cotton is King.”

If the Times were right, the South would have won the Civil War.

George Orwell, author of the novel “1984,” pointed out that lies, repeated often enough, can come to be seen as truth.

The 1619 Project’s mantra that America is racist to its core dovetails with the divisive racialist ideology — so influential today — that urges Americans to view one another as members of racial groups first, and as individual human beings second. This cynical vision threatens to undermine the very principles and institutions that offer greatest opportunity to all who seek freedom and prosperity, including black Americans.

 … Only in Western civilization has the worldwide institution of slavery been questioned and reformed. Critics like the Times adopt the standards of equality and natural rights — which arose only in the West — and then revile those who created them.




Related: 1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

• "Out of the Revolution came an anti-slavery ethos, which never disappeared": Pulitzer Prize Winner James McPherson Confirms that No Mainstream Historian Was Contacted by the NYT for Its 1619 History Project

• Gordon Wood: "The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world" — another Pulitzer-Winning Historian Had No Warning about the NYT's 1619 Project

• Clayborne Carson: Black Historian Kept in the Dark About 1619

• If historians did not hear of the NYT's history (sic) plan, chances are great that the 1619 Project was being deliberately kept a tight secret

• Oxford Historian Richard Carwardine: 1619 is “a preposterous and one-dimensional reading of the American past”

• World Socialists: "the 1619 Project is a politically motivated falsification of history" by the New York Times, "the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party"

• Allen C Guelzo: The New York Times offers bitterness, fragility, and intellectual corruption—The 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory

Fake But Accurate: The People Behind the NYT's 1619 Project Make a "Small" Clarification, But Only Begrudgingly and Half-Heartedly, Because Said Mistake Actually Undermines The 1619 Project's Entire Premise

• Leslie Harris on 1619: Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies

• Sean Wilentz on 1619: the movement in London to abolish the slave trade formed only in 1787, largely inspired by… American (!) antislavery opinion that had arisen in the 1760s and ’70s

• 1619 & 1772: Most of the founders, including Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, despite many of them owning slaves; And Britain would remain the world's foremost slave-trading nation into the nineteenth century

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: Slavery was legal in Britain in 1776, and it remained so in all overseas British colonies until 1833

• James Oakes on 1619: "Slavery made the slaveholders rich; But it made the South poor; And it didn’t make the North rich — So the legacy of slavery is poverty, not wealth"

1619: Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …

 • 1619: No wonder this place is crawling with young socialists and America-haters — the utter failure of the U.S. educational system to teach the history of America’s founding

• Denying the grandeur of the nation’s founding—Wilfred McClay on 1619: "Most of my students are shocked to learn that that slavery is not uniquely American"

• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History


• Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619

Friday, March 27, 2020

Oxford Historian Richard Carwardine: 1619 is “a preposterous and one-dimensional reading of the American past”


The author of an award-winning biography (Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power) and a professor emeritus at Oxford University, Richard Carwardine is hardly impressed with the 1619 project, as he tells the World Socialist Website'sTom Mackaman.

Q. Let me begin by asking you your reaction to the 1619 Project’s lead essay, by Nikole Hannah-Jones, upon reading it.
A. As well as the essay I have read your interviews with James McPherson and James Oakes. I share their sense that, putting it politely, this is a tendentious and partial reading of American history.
I understand where this Project is coming from, politically and culturally. Of course, the economic well-being of the United States and the colonies that preceded it was constructed for over two-and-a-half centuries on the labor and sufferings of slaves; of course, like all entrenched wielders of power, the white political elite resisted efforts to yield up its privileges. But the idea that the 1619 Project’s lead essay is a rounded history of America—with relations between the races so stark and unyielding—I find quite shocking. I am troubled that this is designed to make its way into classrooms as the true story of the United States, because, as I say, it is so partial. It is also wrong in some fundamentals.

I’m all for recovering and celebrating the history of those whose voices have been historically muted and I certainly understand the concern of historians in recent times, black and white, that the black contribution to the United States has not been fully recognized. But the idea that the central, fundamental story of the United States is one of white racism and that black protest and rejection of white superiority has been the essential, indispensable driving force for change—which I take to be the central message of that lead essay—seems to me to be a preposterous and one-dimensional reading of the American past.
 … I am pleased, but not surprised, that some African-American historians are stepping forward to challenge the narrative that appeared in the New York Times .
Q. Let me ask you about the treatment of Abraham Lincoln. Nikole Hannah-Jones homes in on two episodes: the meeting on colonization with leading African-Americans in 1862, and the well-known quote from the Lincoln-Stephen Douglas debates in which Lincoln disavows social equality for blacks. Could you comment on these two episodes, their presentation by the New York Times, or situate them in the evolution of Lincoln’s thinking as regards race and slavery?
A. There is indeed an evolution, but first I’ll make two broad points. One is that context is all. Illinois was in 1858 one of the most race-conscious states of the Union. Alexis de Tocqueville concluded that white hostility towards blacks was strongest in the northwestern states. The black laws of Illinois were amongst the fiercest in the country. Lincoln knew that he could not be elected if he were seen as a racial egalitarian. I’m not suggesting he was a racial egalitarian, but we should take into account the political context that prompted his clearly defensive statements, at Ottawa and Charleston, that he was not seeking black political and social equality. Those statements of his are very few in number, grudging, and at times, I think, even satirical—as when he says that blacks are not “equal... in color.”

When Lincoln addressed the issue of slavery in his speeches from 1854 to 1860, he was on strong ground: slavery was widely disliked and the prospect of its spread was unwelcome to his political audience. But on the issue of race the Republicans were vulnerable. Their call for an ultimate end to slavery had to explain the consequence for black-white relations, and that of course made Lincoln extremely vulnerable to Stephen Douglas’s racism, and his assault on Lincoln as the “lover of the black”—though he would have used a worse epithet, wouldn’t he? So, in reality, Lincoln could only win an election in 1858 by making some concessions to the prevailing racial antipathies of whites. These two statements have understandably, and reasonably, attracted attention. They demonstrate that Lincoln, to secure a Republican victory that would advance the antislavery cause, fell short both of what blacks aspired to and of what the small minority of white racial egalitarians endorsed.

It seems to me that what’s really striking, however, is what Lincoln positively demands for blacks at this time. He embraces them within the Declaration of Independence’s proposition that all men are created equal. By “all men” he means regardless of color, and that’s where he gets into a tussle with Douglas. Douglas insisted the Declaration of Independence was never intended to apply to black people, and of course, Lincoln is emphatic that it does. So for me it’s what Lincoln claims for black people that is striking, and not what he says he will deny them.
With the August 1862 episode, again context is important. It’s a very striking meeting and it’s not Lincoln’s finest hour. Both Nicolay and Hay, his secretaries, said that they thought that Lincoln was at his most emotionally on edge and mentally fraught in the summer of 1862 when the Peninsular campaign had ended in failure, when he had determined on the Emancipation Proclamation but was waiting for a military victory to bring it forward, and when there was increasing clamor for emancipation. Both secretaries said that they had never known Lincoln as nervy as he was then.

The point I’m making here is that at that time Lincoln was under even greater human strain than ever. He knew he was on the brink of taking the most dramatic, even revolutionary, action of any president. He’s nervous. He can’t see what all the consequences will be, but he knows the consequences of not issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. It will leave the Confederacy with the whip hand.

That startling episode of Lincoln’s discussions with the five African-Americans—the first blacks invited into the White House as equals—should be placed in this context. Buffeted from all sides during one of the Union’s lowest points of the war, Lincoln lost the good humor that commonly lubricated his meetings with visitors. His message to them about the causes of the war, and the advantages of colonization and racial separation, has to be seen also in the context of the daunting prospective challenge of embracing four million former slaves fully into the American polity.
Q. Could you discuss the origins of the colonization idea?
A. Promoting the migration of American free blacks to colonies in Africa took institutional form in the American Colonization Society in 1816. In the main its early supporters were white benevolent paternalists who couldn’t see a positive future for blacks in the United States because of the depth of white prejudice, but part of its appeal was to slaveowners who saw the advantage of ending the troublesome presence of free blacks in United States. In time, it alienated pure abolitionists, who thought it a bromide, and slave-masters, who deemed it the thin end of an antislavery wedge; it won the support of a few black radicals, including Henry Highland Garnet, but most black leaders strongly opposed it.

 … So that would be my way of looking at those two episodes, of 1858 and 1862. And then I would add that those are only two of the episodes that bear on the matter. I could choose other episodes which give a very different perspective.
Q. Could you elaborate on that?
A. Where in Nikole Hannah-Jones’s reading of Lincoln, and in her wider perspective, is the voice of the greatest of all African-Americans, Frederick Douglass? He doesn’t appear. Douglass was not uncritical of Lincoln: he famously said that the black race were only Lincoln’s stepchildren. But he also came to extol Lincoln, too, as a white man who put him at his ease, treating him as an equal, with no thought of the “color of our skins,” and showing he could conceive of a society in which blacks and whites lived together in a degree of harmony, that racial relationships in the US America were not irredeemably fixed by its 17th and 18th century past.

 … There are many other examples of Lincoln’s positive views of blacks. You could take his letter to James Conkling in September 1863. Lincoln was invited by Conkling, a Springfield colleague who asked him to go to Illinois to campaign for the fall elections. Lincoln felt he had to stay in Washington, but he wrote a letter for Conkling to read to the Springfield audience … The letter is in part a paean to the bravery of the black soldiers. I consider it his greatest public letter, a powerful statement of how much he admires those African-Americans who have sacrificially taken up arms for the Union.

I’d like to return to what you said about the evolution of Lincoln’s thinking on race. In Indiana and then in Illinois the vast majority of African-Americans that he encountered were uneducated and in menial jobs; they provided the basis for the black stereotypes of the tall tales and ludicrous stories of the time. But once Lincoln reached Washington he found an aspirational black middle class, and in Frederick Douglass he met someone whom he considered his intellectual equal. Add to this the tens and then hundreds of thousands of black sailors and soldiers fighting on behalf of the Union, and it’s no wonder that by April 1865 he was now prepared to advocate for blacks the political benefits of citizenship, including voting rights. These he wanted to extend only to a minority of black Americans—the educated and those in arms—but still this was a step towards the integration of blacks in a multiracial America.

It’s not too much to say that Lincoln was a civil rights martyr. … My concern with the 1619 Project is not that it highlights the often-cited Lincoln remarks of 1858 and the White House meeting of August 1862. They are part of the overall story. They are real and are not to Lincoln’s credit. But they are thoroughly un-contexted, historically deaf, and blind to a broader reality. Which of us would want to be judged on the basis of two snapshots in our lives? If the essence of Lincoln is captured in these episodes, then why does Frederick Douglass, arguably the preeminent African-American of all time, come to admire Lincoln as a great man and leader? Through his successive encounters with Lincoln, Douglass developed a growing respect and admiration for a president who sought to live up to a progressive reading of the principles of the Declaration of Independence—one, by the way, that is very much at odds with the reading of that document in the 1619 lead essay.
Q. I’m glad you’ve raised Frederick Douglass. I think there’s been, from some quarters, this sort of knee-jerk reaction to any criticism of the 1619 Project, and some of this has been playing out on Twitter, where one person said, “You’re trying to silence black voices.” But one of the ironies is that there are very few historical black voices in the entire 1619 Project. As you say, Douglass isn’t there. Neither is Martin Luther King, whose name appears only in a photo caption. To say nothing of wage labor, or any attempt to present the African-American experience as having to do with masses of actually existing people. Instead, the focus is on white racism as this sort of supra-historical force.
A. … Lincoln’s hostility to slavery I judge has less to do with any emotional empathy with the slave and rather more with his profound sense of the injustice of denying to the slaves the product of their labor. “By the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread,” was a biblical text he often invoked in his speeches during the 1850s. So slavery is at odds with the morality, with the ethical principles, of free labor.

Lincoln … has a profound faith in democracy, in the capacity of informed individuals to consider rationally where their best interests, and those of their community, lie. He encourages and manages this system and its overturning of an older, deferential politics. Lincoln, then, has experience of a society where it is possible to rise above the social status of your birth and to hold the same rights in politics and citizenship as any other man. That’s why Marx and others so admired Lincoln, why Lincoln was the darling of overseas socialists, democrats, and radicals—particularly, those in Europe who had fought and lost in the revolutions of 1848.
 … Q. … A centerpiece of your scholarship has been the role of religion in the antebellum. Could you discuss this work?
A. The drive towards immediate emancipation among the abolitionists of the early 19th century, and particularly during the 1820s and 1830s, owes much to evangelical Protestant fervor. I should say, as an aside in the light of Hannah-Jones’ 1619 essay, that, although there were a number of important and brave black abolitionists, taken as a whole the abolitionist movement of the 1820s and 1830s was largely white—as it unavoidably had to be, given black numbers, status and resources—in its membership, its sources of funding, and its agencies of agitation and propaganda.

These white reformers were moved by a powerful sense of the equal humanity of blacks, by the idea of a single Creation, and by the doctrine of disinterested benevolence, the outworking of faith through charitable action. Hence, for example, the setting up of Oberlin College, radical and biracial. This urgent thrust towards immediate emancipation surely poses a problem for those who see racial hostility as the ineradicable DNA of white America. So, too, do the targets of the anti-abolitionist mobs in the 1830s. White advocates of emancipation and abolition were prepared to court martyrdom: this was the fate of Elijah Lovejoy in Alton, Illinois. The 1619 approach reads such biracial progressivism out of the country’s history.

My interest in religion developed through studying slavery and anti-slavery. My first book dealt with transatlantic religion in the nineteenth century, and in particular the considerable impact of American revivalists in British churches, especially those of nonconformist traditions. Oberlin’s Charles Finney, for example, the premier revivalist of his day, made two trips to Britain and his lectures circulated widely; they were even translated into Welsh. The Atlantic acted less to divide than to act as a religious bridge and market.

 … There is a prevailing providentialism amongst Americans of this era: a strong sense that they are operating under God, that God intervenes in human history, and that one has to read the times in the light of God’s Word. It goes some way to understanding the sources of the sacrificial imperative that I’ve mentioned.
Q. Could you explain Lincoln’s attitude on religion?
A. Lincoln had much the same troubled attitude toward the evangelicals as Jefferson. He was unimpressed by Peter Cartwright’s Methodistic revivalism, as well as his Democratic politics.
Q. I’m thinking of the Second Inaugural, which is a wonderful speech, in which he refers to both the North and the South praying to the same God. And maybe this is one of these moments where Lincoln is being ironic?
A. Mark Noll rightly says that the most profound theological statement of the Civil War was when Lincoln noted that both sides pray to the same God, that God cannot be on the side of both—and then reflects that “it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party.” This is what he writes in a private document, “Memorandum on the Divine Will,” dating from 1863 or 1864. It’s significant that he now sees the Almighty as a God who mysteriously intervenes in human history, as opposed to the distant creator God, the God of reason, that he himself invoked as a young man. That was the God of Tom Paine, the clockmaker God who sets the universe in motion and then retreats, leaving the machinery to run itself. …
Related: 1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

• "Out of the Revolution came an anti-slavery ethos, which never disappeared": Pulitzer Prize Winner James McPherson Confirms that No Mainstream Historian Was Contacted by the NYT for Its 1619 History Project

• Gordon Wood: "The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world" — another Pulitzer-Winning Historian Had No Warning about the NYT's 1619 Project

• Clayborne Carson: Black Historian Kept in the Dark About 1619

• If historians did not hear of the NYT's history (sic) plan, chances are great that the 1619 Project was being deliberately kept a tight secret

• Oxford Historian Richard Carwardine: 1619 is “a preposterous and one-dimensional reading of the American past”

• World Socialists: "the 1619 Project is a politically motivated falsification of history" by the New York Times, "the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party"

• Allen C Guelzo: The New York Times offers bitterness, fragility, and intellectual corruption—The 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory

Fake But Accurate: The People Behind the NYT's 1619 Project Make a "Small" Clarification, But Only Begrudgingly and Half-Heartedly, Because Said Mistake Actually Undermines The 1619 Project's Entire Premise

• Leslie Harris on 1619: Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies

• Sean Wilentz on 1619: the movement in London to abolish the slave trade formed only in 1787, largely inspired by… American (!) antislavery opinion that had arisen in the 1760s and ’70s

• 1619 & 1772: Most of the founders, including Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, despite many of them owning slaves; And Britain would remain the world's foremost slave-trading nation into the nineteenth century

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: Slavery was legal in Britain in 1776, and it remained so in all overseas British colonies until 1833

• James Oakes on 1619: "Slavery made the slaveholders rich; But it made the South poor; And it didn’t make the North rich — So the legacy of slavery is poverty, not wealth"

1619: Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …

 • 1619: No wonder this place is crawling with young socialists and America-haters — the utter failure of the U.S. educational system to teach the history of America’s founding

• Denying the grandeur of the nation’s founding—Wilfred McClay on 1619: "Most of my students are shocked to learn that that slavery is not uniquely American"

• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History

• Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

BREAKING (again): Prince Charles Tests Positive for the Wuhan Virus


In the wake of Greta Thunberg's announcement regarding coronavirus, the next VIP globe-trotter to be tested positive the Chinese virus, aka Covid-19, is none other than the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles (update: cheers to Instapundit). At the age of 71, the heir to the British throne seems to be within, or rather close to, the population at risk.

The BBC:
The Prince of Wales has tested positive for coronavirus, Clarence House has confirmed.

Prince Charles, 71, is displaying mild symptoms "but otherwise remains in good health", a spokesman said.

The Duchess of Cornwall has also been tested but does not have the virus.

BREAKING! Greta Thunberg Probably Infected with Wuhan's Coronavirus


Although she was never tested, Greta Thunberg believes that a couple of weeks ago, "it’s extremely likely" that she caught the Chinese virus (üpdate: tack så mycket til Instapundit, whose tongue-in-cheek comment is "SO IS THIS GAIA’S REVENGE?"). See also: Prince Charles. In an instagram post liked by over a million people, the Swedish teen, now 17, writes that
The last two weeks I’ve stayed inside. … Around ten days ago I started feeling some symptoms, exactly the same time as my father - who traveled with me from Brussels. I was feeling tired, had shivers, a sore throat and coughed. My dad experienced the same symptoms, but much more intense and with a fever.

In Sweden you can not test yourself for COVID-19 unless you’re in need of emergent medical treatment. Everyone feeling ill are told to stay at home and isolate themselves. I have therefore not been tested for COVID-19, but it’s extremely likely that I’ve had it, given the combined symptoms and circumstances.

Now I’ve basically recovered, but - AND THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE: I almost didn’t feel ill. My last cold was much worse than this! Had it not been for someone else having the virus simultainously I might not even have suspected anything. Then I would just have thought I was feeling unusually tired with a bit of a cough.

And this it what makes it so much more dangerous. Many (especially young people) might not notice any symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms. Then they don’t know they have the virus and can pass it on to people in risk groups. We who don’t belong to a risk group have an enormous responsibility, our actions can be the difference between life and death for many others.
Please keep that in mind, follow the advice from experts and your local authorities and #StayAtHome to slow the spread of the virus. And remember to always take care of each other and help those in need.
#COVID #flattenthecurve
"My last cold was much worse than this! … I might not even have suspected anything." It almost sounds like Greta is telling her followers: Don't panic, keep calm, there's nothing to worry that much about… Well, you can hardly be consistent all of the time… Or maybe Greta is becoming a Republican and a Trump follower…






The last two weeks I’ve stayed inside. When I returned from my trip around Central Europe I isolated myself (in a borrowed apartment away from my mother and sister) since the number of cases of COVID-19 (in Germany for instance) were similar to Italy in the beginning. Around ten days ago I started feeling some symptoms, exactly the same time as my father - who traveled with me from Brussels. I was feeling tired, had shivers, a sore throat and coughed. My dad experienced the same symptoms, but much more intense and with a fever. In Sweden you can not test yourself for COVID-19 unless you’re in need of emergent medical treatment. Everyone feeling ill are told to stay at home and isolate themselves. I have therefore not been tested for COVID-19, but it’s extremely likely that I’ve had it, given the combined symptoms and circumstances. Now I’ve basically recovered, but - AND THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE: I almost didn’t feel ill. My last cold was much worse than this! Had it not been for someone else having the virus simultainously I might not even have suspected anything. Then I would just have thought I was feeling unusually tired with a bit of a cough. And this it what makes it so much more dangerous. Many (especially young people) might not notice any symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms. Then they don’t know they have the virus and can pass it on to people in risk groups. We who don’t belong to a risk group have an enormous responsibility, our actions can be the difference between life and death for many others. Please keep that in mind, follow the advice from experts and your local authorities and #StayAtHome to slow the spread of the virus. And remember to always take care of each other and help those in need. #COVID #flattenthecurve
A post shared by Greta Thunberg (@gretathunberg) on

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619


Table of Contents:
I) Anti-Americanism and Double Standards in the Era of the Coronavirus
II) The Current Anti-Americanism Is But Part of a Much Larger Picture

I) Anti-Americanism and Double Standards in the Era of the Coronavirus

It's time to remind everybody of one of the initial reasons in 2020 that MSM could "inform" us, again, to what extent Donald Trump is racist (as well as xenophobic): when the news of the Corina virus (belatedly, thanks to the CCP) broke out in early January, the president  almost immediately blocked travel from China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) to the United States. (Later, I was told by a furious European that "America blames Europe for the virus," because Trump banned airplane entry from the EU.)

Five to six weeks later, it turned out that America's president seems to have been prescient, because, one after the other, all other countries not only followed suit, but basically shut down their borders to the entire world, and by March, the entire planet had done the same.

Now, did the press then remain consistent and call the leaders of all other countries racist (and xenophobic)? No, of course not. Did the MSM at least apologize to Donald Trump or did it simply express regret, more generally, some kind of mea culpa, to its viewers? No, of course not. Instead, the media silently dropped the matter.

All that the Left's drama queens are interested in is all of Trump's actions before, during, and after the initial outbreak — but only insofar as they are (or can be presented as) nefarious or, at best, blunders.

Indeed, one reason for dropping the racist (and xenophobic) angle was that the MSM had found a brand-new reason, or angle, to demonstrate that President Trump is racist (and xenophobic): the President referred to the Coronavirus as the Wuhan virus and as the Chinese virus! (Terms that, incidentally, the… journalists themselves had been using for… weeks.)

Listen to Gail Herriot as she mentions the following precedents:
Examples include Asian flu, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, Brazilian hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, German measles, Japanese encephalitis, Lyme disease, Marburg virus, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Pontiac fever, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Spanish flu, Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever, and West Nile virus.
Don Payne gives some more examples:
Trump calls it “Chinese Virus” because it IS a virus... that DOES come from China.

Ever hear of: Spanish Flu? Hong Kong Flu? Asian Flu? Ebola Fever? Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever? Swine Flu? German Measles? Bright’s Disease? Guillain-Barre Syndrome? Down Syndrome? Hansen’s Disease? Parkinson’s Disease? Bird Flu? Lou Gehrig Disease? Legionnaires Disease? Lyme Disease? West Nile Virus? etc.?

A GREAT many diseases, conditions and syndromes are named for the location... or the source... from which the disease originated... the researcher that identified the malady... a notable group, or individual patient, who contracted the disease... etc.

Calling the current outbreak the “Chinese Virus,” is right, proper, traditional and customary. It is NOT racist, demeaning, or prejudicial, to refer to it, using that term.
Tongue firmly in cheek, Evan Sayet mentions "Other disasters, too.....the Johnstown flood, the San Francisco earthquake, the Chicago Cubs", while Don Payne adds that
Anyone avoiding Chinese Food restaurants... or, allegedly, attacking Asians... as a result of hearing that term... is either ignorant, uneducated, pathologically criminal or just stupid, beyond belief.

This follows the typical pattern of the Democrats, and their attack dog media, trying to create an issue, where NONE exists, for the purposes of smearing a President... to create a false justification for calling him a “hateful racist.”

This is a low, dirty, despicable, dishonest, dishonorable and shameful propaganda campaign... nothing more.

Democrats... always stirring the pot... even in a time of national crises.

Unconscionable.
Over at the American Spectator, Scott McKay does not find the term Kung Flu offensive at all. Saying that the the Perpetually Offended do not recognize what is nothing more than a workplace joke, he sets the record straight:
Weijia Jiang isn’t fooling anybody. We know this is all partisan hackery. She isn’t offended by “Kung Flu”; what she’s offended by is the fact Donald Trump is the president and her party and political persuasion is in no particular condition to dislodge him. So she throws “Kung Flu” at the wall, hoping it sticks.
In the perspective of the 10 Ways the Left Has Politicized the Coronavirus Pandemic by Matt Margolis, David Catron adds in the American Spectator that
the Democrats see the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity rather than an epidemic. Having failed to bring down President Trump with ridiculous conspiracy theories involving Russia and Ukraine, they are desperately attempting to convince the public that he is somehow exacerbating the COVID-19 crisis … the current Democratic rhetoric was a grotesquely cynical ploy to mislead and frighten the public for the usual tawdry political purposes
Moreover, the New Neo's third point for calling it the Chinese virus (after "(1) Many viruses are still called by place names signifying their point of origin" and "(2) The virus actually did originate in China") is:
(3) And most of all, the Chinese engaged in a huge coverup of what was happening back when alerting the world in a timely fashion might have prevented COVID-19’s spread (see this).
Which is why the Epoch Times has chosen to call it the CCP virus (otherwise known a the ChiCom virus or the Chinese Communist Party virus).

But the government had complained. No, not the U.S. government, silly. (In that case, the mainsteam media only cares if a Democrat is in the White House.) The Chinese government.

Of course, nothing China's communists (or, for that matter, Russia's communists) do, or have done for the past 20 to 30 years, or for the past 60 to 70 years (including to their own people), has ever seemed to shock or offend many of America's media outlets and their Perpetual Outrage machines.

In that perspective, Sarah Hoyt links to John "Breitbart" Nolte's All the Establishment Media’s Dangerous Coronavirus Lies. In HOW THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA SWEEP THEIR MISTAKES UNDER THE RUG, the Washington Free Beacon editors denounce
the insidious way in which the mainstream media, which have spent the past three years obsessing about the spread of fake news, operate like a cartel [think JournOlism], ruthlessly enforcing standards on outsiders but refusing to police themselves.
As it happens, most of the so-called investigative media outlets — who, again, happen (sic) to be echoing China's commmunist party — have not shown an iota of interest where the virus came from, or who is guilty, or who is at least responsible.

It is the old use of the passive when a far left government are in power — in the U.S. or abroad — suggesting a leftist political project turns out to be some kind of natural disaster. It just happened. Unexpectedly. (Madeline Osburn offers a top-notch example in which one MSM outlet, the Atlantic, seems to have become the water boy for China's Communist Party.)

For a media that has ranted and raved non-stop about so-called whistle-blowers in Washington for the past year or two, they have shown little interest, or none at all, in the scandal of Beijing overlords' silencing of whistleblowers, turning a local outbreak into a global epidemic in the process.

Imagine, now, if you will, if some illness originated somewhere in the United States? What a contrast! Then, you can bet your ass that everybody in the world, first and foremost the American people, would join in calling it the Pittsburgh virus, or the Texas virus, or the U.S. virus.

Indeed, in that case the media — which, remember, is not the enemy of the American people (how can you believe such a thing?!) — would have a field day, and a tidal wave of the harshest criticism imaginable would rain down upon America as well as on the country's system (capitalism). 

These people hate your guts, America.

II) The Current Anti-Americanism Is But Part of a Much Larger Picture

Doesn't all of this remind you of 2019? Here is a hint (via Instapundit): Nike updates Kaepernick slogan, “Believe in something, unless it upsets the Chinese government”

The New York Times spent 2017, the centennial of the Russian Revolution, seeking for anything and everything to laud about the Soviet Union's communists. In September 2019, the "newspaper of record" sent out a commemorative tweet ignoring the Islamist terrorists ("airplanes took aim") and managing to downplay the number of the victims. And (speaking of China as well as of communists) the Times sought to hail Mao Zedong as someone who "began as an obscure peasant" and who "died one of history's greatest revolutionary figures."

But: it spent half of 2019, the 400th anniversary of an obscure (if admittedly heinous) and rather accidental commercial transaction in a tiny Virginia town involving at most 25-30 people (including the 20some African slaves), positing that the previously unknown transaction is more reflective of an entire country and of an entire people than historical documents 157 years (the Declaration of Independence) and 168 years (the Constitution) later that concerned every single one of its two and a half million inhabitants, as well as the power structure of the entire Western world.
Full-length article: 1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History
After a torrent of criticism of the 1619 Project, to which the New York Times smugly failed to react in any substantive manner, the paper was forced to do so after the publication of a devastating article by… the newspaper's… very own fact-checker (!).

In her original essay, Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote, an a sort of an abstract, that
Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery. 
Now she had no choice but to amend it:
Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.
“The clarification is small — just two words — but important,” Hannah-Jones claimed on Twitter.

Noticing that Hannah-Jones's title does not feature a single change, Becket Adams reacts:
Along with not understanding the difference between “all” and “some,” it appears the New York Times reporter struggles also with the definition of the word “small.” Because amending her essay to say that some of the colonists revolted to preserve slavery, as opposed to asserting it was a driving force behind the entire revolt, is a hell of a lot more than a “small” clarification.
Indeed: to add that couple of words (some of), which happen to undermine the 1619 project's entire premise, while retaining the abstract's postulation — i.e., the phrase "Conveniently left out of our founding mythology" — has now become clearly fallacious, obviously deceitful, and plainly deceptive.

These people hate your guts, America.
Full-length article: Fake But Accurate — The People Behind the NYT's 1619 Project Make a "Small" Clarification, But Only Begrudgingly and Half-Heartedly, Because Said "Small" Mistake Actually Undermines The 1619 Project's Entire Premise
All this ties in with the rest of the culture in the past few years and decades. Think of America's valiant leftists and SJWs bravely stepping up to attack the Confederate flag. Mentioning a slippery slope after the Charlottesville riots, President Donald Trump said (in a speech that was deceitfully reported to make the president sound racist) that this would eventually lead to objections to the American flag, as well as to the banishment of statues and depictions of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson — something that was mocked across the leftist sphere. (This is something I too had predicted, back in June 2015, just as I predicted in October 2008 that charges of racism against the United States, in spite of the (then-hypothetical) election of a black man, will never cease…) 

It didn't take long for the drama queens (i.e., the very people who had mocked Trump) to prove the Donald (and myself) right. Indeed, in 2016 (after eight years of a black president), a professional sportsman managed to unite leftists in awe, as the football player — one Colin Kaepernick — started kneeling during the national anthem, for the salutary reason to protest police brutality as well as racism in the USA. Since the Star-Spangled Banner ain't Dixie, isn't brave brave Sir Colin's virtue-signaling akin to protesting, if not (yet) demanding the outright removal of, not the Stars and Bars but the Stars and Stripes?!

So: woke and superwoke drama queens are heralded for their fight against oppression (when it — allegedly — concerns American deplorables alone), but…

Not only do the brave sportsmen of the NBA who courageously vowed to boycott North Carolina for its "inhumane" transgender bathroom policies refrain from protesting the Chinese flag or the communist anthem, not to mention Chinese repression (regarding the NBA or just in general); they censor their (own) speech, they clamp down on spectators' free speech, expelling them in the process, and they shut down journalists (even MSM reporters).

(From Instapundit, again)
Full-length article: The Abhorrent Double Standards of the Left in Sports As Well As in Every Other Aspect of Life
As can be seen with reporters and sports figures and millennials in general, the latest generation of American school children and college students graduating to adulthood have been brain-washed, by superwoke drama queens, with propaganda stating that there are only deplorables inside the U.S. of America (or, more generally, the West), and none outside of it.

One of the most urgent matters for reform now (are you listening, Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos?) is a thorough reform of America's educational system.

Why?

Because these people hate your guts, America.
Post-Scriptum:

The author of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, Allen C Guelzo addresses the 1619 project in the City Journal:
Designed largely by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and members of the New York Times editorial staff, the 1619 Project aspires—through essays, poems, and short fiction—to rewrite entirely the narrative of American slavery, not as an unwilling inheritance of British colonialism but as the love-object of American capitalism from its very origins. It reviews slavery not as a blemish that the Founders grudgingly tolerated with the understanding that it must soon evaporate, but as the prize that the Constitution went out of its way to secure and protect.

 The 1619 Project is not history: it is polemic, born in the imaginations of those whose primary target is capitalism itself and who hope to tarnish capitalism by associating it with slavery.

 … Again: the 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory. And like all conspiracy theories, the 1619 Project announces with a eureka! that it has acquired the explanation to everything, and thus gives an aggrieved audience a sense that finally it is in control, through its understanding of the real cause of its unhappiness.

  … And again: the 1619 Project is not history; it is ignorance. It claims that the American Revolution was staged to protect slavery, though it never once occurs to the Project to ask, in that case, why the British West Indies (which had a far larger and infinitely more malignant slave system than the 13 American colonies) never joined us in that revolution.

… Finally: the 1619 Project is not history; it is evangelism, but evangelism for a gospel of disenchantment whose ultimate purpose is the hollowing out of the meaning of freedom, so that every defense of freedom drops nervously from the hands of people who have been made too ashamed to defend it.
Full-length article: Allen C Guelzo: The New York Times offers bitterness, fragility, and intellectual corruption—The 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Black Historian Clayborne Carson Kept in the Dark About 1619: "part of the problem of this project is that they did not approach this as a collaborative activity involving historians, educators, and journalists"


One way that the New York Times and the originators of the 1619 project have been fighting back against the World Socialist Website and its series of devastating interviews with eminent historians is to pronounce all the historians white. That, however, turns out to be not true, as Tom Mackaman has also approached such revered figures as Clayborne Carson, while most of the members behind the pro-American, Black-led initiative “1776” response (project leader Bob Woodson, Wilfred Reilly, Glenn Loury, Carol Swain, John Sibley Butler, Clarence Page, Coleman Hughes, Taleeb Starkes, LaTasha Fields, and more than two dozen others) are African-American (www.1776unites.com). And what black leaders some of them turn out to be. In the case of Clayborne Carson, he is not only a prominent scholar of the Civil Rights Movement, he was among its members, marching proudly by the side of the King family and thousands of others.
Clayborne Carson is professor of history at Stanford University and director of its Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute. He is the author and editor of numerous books on King and the civil rights movement. Carson was chosen by Coretta Scott King to oversee the publication of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Seven of 14 planned volumes have been published under his direction.
Q. Could you start by telling us something about your background? Because as I understand it, you’re not only a leading scholar of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement, but are yourself a veteran of that movement?
A. Yes, I was at the March on Washington and I knew Stokely Carmichael for most of his adult life. I was much more closely connected to the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) than to King. My first book was on SNCC. So, I kind of come at this from the point of view of grassroots movements being the heart of the movement, rather than King being this charismatic leader at the top.
Q. I’d like to ask you something that we’ve been asking all the historians with whom we’ve been speaking. And that is whether or not you were approached by the authors of the 1619 Project as it was being prepared or prior to its publication?
A. No, no I wasn’t, which is strange because if you go to our website, we have a lot of educational materials for schools. So, I wasn’t approached as a historian, but I’m also an educator engaged in on-line teaching, trying, as much as possible, to get free material in the hands of students. I would have loved to work with the New York Times, with all of their clout and resources, to make a change in terms of how American history is taught in the schools.
I just think that part of the problem of this whole project is that they did not really approach this as a collaborative activity involving historians, educators, and journalists. It seems quite obvious that the number of people involved in the actual process was quite limited.
Q. It also seems that it was written to a preconceived determination, and that historians who might have a somewhat different take were avoided. It’s also not clear to whom they did speak. The editor-in-chief, Jake Silverstein, in his reply to the five historians, said that they spoke to a group of African American scholars, but they didn’t say who was in that group.
A. Yes, and that was a little bit strange. You know if I were called in to have a meeting at the New York Times and they told me they’d like to do this project to make people more aware of the deep roots of African American history within American history and the importance of 1619, I would have said fine, that sounds wonderful, how can I help? I can understand, however, why some scholars would be reluctant because of the work that should go into something like this. I was very much involved in Eyes on the Prize, for example.
Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 was a critically acclaimed six-part documentary that aired on public television in 1987
Q. Right, you were the senior academic advisor for Eyes on the Prize ?
A. I was one of four. That was a three-year commitment. We met regularly for three years to produce that series. There was a lot of research, the selection of whom to interview. We had what we called “the school” and at every stage the filmmakers would come in with footage, and we would critique it: “Well, why didn’t you interview this person? Why didn’t you ask that question?” It was an interactive process for three years to get that on the air. On 1619, I’m just not sure on a lot of the factual background of this, and maybe you’re trying to figure that out, too.
Q. Eyes on the Prize is a real achievement and the immense amount of work that went into it is clear. With 1619, you think about the orientation of this project to school children, and its problems become all the more glaring. And that it didn’t talk to eminent historians might be more pardonable if it were not also claiming to be imposing an entirely new narrative on American history and a new curriculum in the schools. What you say about Eyes on the Prize is interesting. You get the impression that the 1619 Project was pulled together quickly.
A. Yeah, that’s what I would compare it to. Henry Hampton was the guiding force behind Eyes on the Prize. One of the things that happened was that the scholars got together before the filmmakers arrived. So, from the very beginning. That’s why we called it a school. The filmmakers came in, and we had a number of discussions right at the start of the process, before any filming was done.
One result of those early discussion was to answer the question, do you tell this as a story about King? Or do you tell it the way most of us wanted it told, that King was important, but he was the result of a movement, not the cause of the movement? The bus boycott in Montgomery would have happened, even if King had never been born. It was already a successful movement before he became the leader of it. Similarly, with the sit-ins, and the Freedom Rides, and the voting rights campaign. In all of these cases King was the beneficiary of movements he didn’t start. That’s not to deny the importance of Martin Luther King. I’ve spent the last 30 years researching him. But it does put his contribution in context.
 … Q. And we’re speaking of a mass movement, are we not, when we’re talking about the 1960s?
A. It becomes mass in certain places at that time, particularly in the South. That’s the difference between then and now. There was a mass movement that was directed against legalized segregation in the South. And after that there was this recognition that a lot of these problems were not limited to the South. You had a massive movement in Chicago, in New York, in Los Angeles, where I was. So, if we see this in terms of continuity, rather than saying “back in Civil Rights Days,” it just gives you a more honest picture.

It’s just like saying the antislavery movement had certain periods where it achieved major victories. But the antislavery movement was going on from the Stono Rebellion of the early 18th century. The anti-slavery movement was going on from the time there were enough slaves here to mobilize a movement. So, you have rebellion, and you have freedom struggles. If your focus is on when and how do freedom struggles occur throughout history, then that’s an important topic to take up. What are the circumstances that led to them?

That kind of gets back to the 1619 Project. A lot of their focus seems to be the founding of the United States as a nation. The way I would look at that, is that at that time, for a variety of reasons, you have a predominant group, white men, beginning to articulate a human rights ideal. We can study why that happened when it happened. It had to do with the Enlightenment, the spread of literacy, the rise of working class movements. All of these factors led people to start talking in terms of human rights. It was both an intellectual movement from the top down and a freedom struggle from the bottom up. People begin to speak in terms of rights: that, I, we, have rights that other people should respect. The emergence of that is important.

And it does affect African Americans. We know that from Benjamin Banneker and lot of other black people who realized that white people were talking about rights and said, ‘well we have rights too.’ That’s an important development in history, and an approach to history that doesn’t say we should privilege only the rights talk of white people. There’s always a dialogue between that and oppressed people. You have to tell the story from the top down, that intellectuals began to articulate the notion of rights. But simultaneously, non-elites are doing that—working class people, black people, colonized people.
 
There were three nations that came out of the spread of literacy and Enlightenment ideals. Usually the focus is on the United States and France. But Haiti came out of that as well. That often gets overlooked.
Q. I agree with you. I think one of the things that is missing in the lead essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones is any appreciation of the power of the contradiction that was introduced in 1776 with the proclamation of human equality, and also the impact of the Revolution itself. I thought in our interview with Gordon Wood he took that question up very effectively, pointing out that slavery became very conspicuous as a result of the Revolution. Also disregarded is the Afro-Caribbean historian Eric Williams, who analyzed the impact of the American Revolution on the demise of slavery. Instead the Revolution is presented as a conspiracy to perpetuate slavery.
A. Yes, and it’s wonderful to concentrate on that contradiction because that to me explains Frederick Douglass, it explains King. What all of these people were united on was to expose that contradiction—and we should always keep exposing it—the contradiction between the self-image of the United States as a free and democratic country and the reality that it’s not. If you are a black leader, your job is to expose that contradiction. If you go through a list of all the great orations in African American history, nearly all of them focus on that. They want to expose that and use that contradiction.
Q. I’m glad you mentioned Douglass and King. Richard Carwardine, in our interview with him, said that he was struck by the absence of Douglass, whose name does not appear in the lead essay or anywhere else. The same is true of King, whose name appears only once in a photo caption. The Civil Rights movement is barely mentioned. Black Power and Malcolm X are absent. The list of what’s left out is astonishing—no A. Phillip Randolph, no Harlem Renaissance. But I wanted to ask you about the absence of King, and any significant attention to the civil rights movement, and what you make of that.
A. I think that’s the saddest part of this, that the response of the New York Times is simply to defend their project. Rather than to say, we welcome the critique, let’s work with you to see what we can do. Obviously, this would have been better done a year ago, two years ago, but it’s never too late. And particularly if the purpose of this is to have an impact on the way young people are educated. I’m very concerned about that.

I call our education program The Liberation Curriculum. I see it as a way of encouraging people to see themselves as rights bearers and right declarers. One way of looking at the founding of this country is to understand the audacity of a few hundred white male elites getting together and declaring a country—and declaring it a country based on the notion of human rights. …
 … Q. The American Revolution was a revolution that drew on masses of people, ultimately, and so too the Civil War, which going all the way back to the Progressive historians has been called “The Second American Revolution.” … Q. King was by the standards of African American leaders today, very left in his politics, opposing the Vietnam War and launching his interracial Poor People’s Campaign in the final years before his assassination. Is it correct that he understood himself as a social democrat?
A. Well, I edited a book called The Autobiography of Martin Luther King. You might look at that. It’s not like a secret. On their first date King told Coretta he was a socialist.

Coretta was at the Progressive Party Convention in 1948. She was an acquaintance of Paul Robeson. One of the things I’m writing about is her relationship to King. When they are dating back in 1952, she sends him a copy of Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward and King writes her about how impressed he is by Bellamy’s ideas. So, King says something along the lines of, that’s what he’s going to base his ministry on and that he looks forward to the day when there will be a nationalization of industry. This is 1952.
Q. Right at the height of the McCarthyite Red Scare.
A. Exactly.
Q. And you knew Coretta Scott King? Because I think, in general, the media portrayal of her is a grieving widow, but an intellectual non-entity.
A. Have you ever heard of Women’s International Strike for Peace? In 1962 she goes to a peace conference in Geneva, and this is followed by the first major women’s march in Washington, which she participates in. By the time the Vietnam War becomes more intense, she’s already taken a stand, and long before Martin did. I think that she’s way underestimated, in terms of her impact. She has her own F.B.I., file by the way. She was investigated by the F.B.I. from the 1950s on. They were very worried about Women’s International Strike for Peace because most of the women around the world who supported it were socialists, communists.
Clayborne Carson with Coretta Scott King in 1986
Q. And King’s opposition to the Vietnam War, which seems relevant given the US war drive against Iran?
A. Next week we plan to play a recording, a new recording, of his Riverside Speech. We were able to find a recording that was better than that which was available. It was at Riverside Church but for some reason it wasn’t the one circulated. It was recorded from his microphone, so it doesn’t have any of the background noise. It’s very interesting to listen to it today.
Related: 1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

• "Out of the Revolution came an anti-slavery ethos, which never disappeared": Pulitzer Prize Winner James McPherson Confirms that No Mainstream Historian Was Contacted by the NYT for Its 1619 History Project

• Gordon Wood: "The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world" — another Pulitzer-Winning Historian Had No Warning about the NYT's 1619 Project

• If historians did not hear of the NYT's history (sic) plan, chances are great that the 1619 Project was being deliberately kept a tight secret

• Allen C Guelzo: The New York Times offers bitterness, fragility, and intellectual corruption—The 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory

• Leslie Harris on 1619: Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies

• Sean Wilentz on 1619: the movement in London to abolish the slave trade formed only in 1787, largely inspired by… American (!) antislavery opinion that had arisen in the 1760s and ’70s

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: Slavery was legal in Britain in 1776, and it remained so in all overseas British colonies until 1833

• James Oakes on 1619: "Slavery made the slaveholders rich; But it made the South poor; And it didn’t make the North rich — So the legacy of slavery is poverty, not wealth"

1619: Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …

 • 1619: No wonder this place is crawling with young socialists and America-haters — the utter failure of the U.S. educational system to teach the history of America’s founding

• Denying the grandeur of the nation’s founding—Wilfred McClay on 1619: "Most of my students are shocked to learn that that slavery is not uniquely American"

• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History