Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Peter Kirsanow on 1619: "Unless substantial numbers of white Americans had worked to free the slaves, and then ensure that Blacks had civil rights," none of it would have happened


An attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, Peter Kirsanow makes some common-sense remarks in the National Review about the 1619 Project:
Never content to leave unwoke history alone, last August the New York Times launched the 1619 Project. The “newspaper of record” states that this “ongoing initiative” “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”

It’s a conscious attempt to make the country’s “real” founding stem from when the first African slaves arrived in Virginia, rather than when the thirteen colonies declared their independence from Great Britain (or, say, 1620, when the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts, or 1607, when Jamestown was settled). Instead of fixing the founding of the country on a constructive event, the New York Times seeks to define the U.S. by its failures.
The 1619 Project deliberately minimizes the contributions and cultures of white Americans and magnifies and romanticizes the contributions and culture of black Americans. Ironically, in this way it’s the inverse of the longtime failure of texts to describe or even acknowledge the historical contributions of blacks.
 … The 1619 Project’s obsession with race, standing alone, is bad enough, but it’s even worse that it’s actually being used in public school curricula. Thus, as with other progressive revisionism, it’s likely to become the accepted Story of America within a generation unless there’s significant pushback.   Fortunately, respected and accomplished historians of American history have publicly addressed the manifold historical inaccuracies of the 1619 Project. And these aren’t historians dedicated to the “Lost Cause.” As part of the National Association of Scholars 1620 Project Lucas Morel, professor at Washington & Lee University and author of the forthcoming Lincoln and the American Founding, writes:
The strangest thing about the essay is the claim that transplanted Africans and their descendants were the key to American greatness. Hannah-Jones cites no African principles of self-government or ideals of humanity when she quotes the famous pronouncements of the Declaration of Independence. . . . Ironically, however, even in this warped retelling, black Americans’ principal means of saving white Americans from their worst selves was not anything African but the quintessentially American ideals of human equality and natural rights.
 … The 1619 Project maintains that “anti- black racism runs in the very DNA of this country.” Ignored is the obvious fact that unless substantial numbers of white Americans had worked to free the slaves, and then ensure that African Americans had civil rights, it wouldn’t have happened. Hannah-Jones criticizes Lincoln for suggesting in 1862 that freed slaves be resettled in Africa because he feared whites and blacks couldn’t coexist. Obviously, blacks weren’t resettled in Africa, and just as obviously it didn’t happen because most whites were willing to coexist — albeit at the time on an unequal basis — with blacks. White Americans had the political power to expel African Americans had they chosen to do so. But they didn’t. The Civil War ended, and — imperfectly, incompletely — African Americans became legal citizens. As Princeton historian James McPherson, responding to Hannah-Jones’s claim that “anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country,” told the World Socialist website:
[T]he idea that racism is a permanent condition, well that’s just not true. And it also doesn’t account for the countervailing tendencies in American history as well. Because opposition to slavery, and opposition to racism, has also been an important theme in American history.
As we remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that’s something we should all remember — and celebrate.
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

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: quite a few contemporary Black problems have very little to do with slavery

• "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

• A Black Political Scientist "didn’t know about the 1619 Project until it came out"; "These people are kind of just making it up as they go"

• Clayborne Carson: Another 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, aka "the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party"

• Dan Gainor on 1619 and rewriting history: "To the Left elite like the NY Times, there’s no narrative they want to destroy more than American exceptionalism"

• Utterly preposterous claims: The 1619 project is a cynical political ploy, aimed at piercing the heart of the American understanding of justice

• One of the Main Sources for the NYT's 1619 Project Is a Career Communist Propagandist who Defends Stalinism

• A Pulitzer Prize?! Among the 1619 Defenders Is "a Fringe Academic" with "a Fetish for Authoritarian Terror" and "a Soft Spot" for Mugabe, Castro, and Even Stalin

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

• The 1619 Project is an exercise in religious indoctrination: Ignoring, downplaying, or rewriting the history of 1861 to 1865, the Left and the NYT must minimize, downplay, or ignore the deaths of 620,000 Americans

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

• 1619 and The Collapse of the Fourth Estate by Peter Wood: No one has been able to identify a single leader, soldier, or supporter of the Revolution who wanted to protect his right to hold slaves (A declaration that slavery is the founding institution of America and the center of everything important in our history is a ground-breaking claim, of the same type as claims that America condones rape culture, that 9/11 was an inside job, that vaccinations cause autism, that the Moon landing was a hoax, or that ancient astronauts built the pyramids)

• Mary Beth Norton:  In 1774, a year before Dunmore's proclamation, Americans had already in fact become independent

• Most of the founders, including Thomas Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, writes Rick Atkinson, despite the fact that many of them owned slaves

• Leslie Harris: Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies (even the NYT's fact-checker on the 1619 Project disagrees with its "conclusions": "It took 60 more years for the British government to finally end slavery in its Caribbean 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 1770s

• 1619 & Slavery's Fatal Lie: it is more accurate to say that what makes America unique isn't slavery but the effort to abolish it

• 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: 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

• 1619: Invariably Taking the Progressive Side — The Ratio of Democratic to Republican Voter Registration in History Departments is More than 33 to 1

• 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"

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

• John Podhoretz on 1619: the idea of reducing US history to the fact that some people owned slaves is a reductio ad absurdum and the definition of bad faith

• The 1619 Africans in Virginia were not ‘enslaved’, a black historian points out; they were indentured servants — just like the majority of European whites were

"Two thirds of the people, white as well as black, who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are indentured servants" notes Dolores Janiewski; "The poor people, black and white, share common interests"

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"

• Victoria Bynum on 1619 and a NYT writer's "ignorance of history": "As dehumanizing and brutal as slavery was, the institution was not a giant concentration camp"

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

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …
 
• Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619

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