Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The 1619 Project Summarized in One Single Sentence

As the Biden-Harris administration's Department of Education goes ahead with plans and grants for implementing critical race theory and the 1619 Project inside school rooms, it is time to summarize said 1619 Project in one single (albeit longish) sentence.

Here it is:

It is nothing short of preposterous to claim that an obscure (if admittedly heinous) one-day commercial transaction — involving two or three white males in a tiny Virginia hamlet a century and a half before (!) the founding of a nation — is more reflective of said nation and of an entire people than the 15-to-20-year era of strife and quarrels including a continent-wide war (the American Revolution along with its attendant historical documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution), which concerned every single one of its (then) two and a half million inhabitants, as well as the power structure of the entire Western world.  

Indeed, the ludicrousness of the entire idea being some kind of deep revelation of some kind of a dark cryptic secret is evidence more of superstition than even of pseudohistory. 

It is also reflective of the Left being more akin to a more or less brainwashed cult than to anything else, leading Erick Erickson to complain that the 1619 Project is an exercise in religious indoctrination; Allen C Guelzo to state that the 1619 Project is not history but conspiracy theory; and Tyler O'Neil to declare that it takes an absurdly blind fanaticism to insist that today’s free and prosperous America is rotten and institutionally oppressive. (Update: welcome, Instapundit readers.)

As Paul Johnson writes, 

the total gestation period of the United States Constitution should be seen as occupying nearly thirty years, 1763-1791.
Again: How can 28 years of struggle, with brawn and brainpower, involving everything from political resistance en masse to open warfare, and involving thousands upon thousands of Americans from all parts of society leaving homes, farms, and families to pick up the musket and risk their lives, compare to a couple of nameless unknowns making an obscure business deal in a Virginia hamlet over a period of at most 28 hours?

Beyond that, what is galling is how all other nations, nationalities, and races are left out of the guilt trip and of the equation itself.

As it happens, it was by a fluke that a ship carrying 20-something slaves landed in the future United States in 1619. The vessel which was seized by pirates, the San Juan Bautista (no, not really an Anglo-Saxon or a Protestant name) was but a tiny part of a Portuguese fleet of 36+ (!) ships filled with thousands upon thousands of Ndongo slaves headed for Latin America. The slaves had been sold to the Portuguese by their Imbangala allies in Africa, a continent where, according to Scottish explorer Mungo Park, some three quarters of the inhabitants were effectively slaves (although slaves to masters of the same skin color).

As the (left-leaning) National Geographic observes (in a pro-1619 article),

In just two years, 1618 and 1619, the Portuguese-Imbangala alliance resulted in the capture and enslavement of thousands of Ndongo people, filling at least 36 ships with human cargo. These captives would be sent to the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Central and South America to work as laborers. It was through this arrangement that slavery would spread to British North America in 1619, when chaos intervened and the destiny of those “20 and odd” Africans was redirected to a place called the Colony of Virginia on the Atlantic coast.

Again: The obvious question is, if the United States is to be castigated for this type of sin, why on Earth is it the only, or the main, nation to be so described (and demonized)?  How about the Spanish, Portuguese, and British kingdoms?  How about the Kongo, Dahomey, Yoruba, Benin, Imbangala, and Asante empires? How about the Arabs? And the Muslims? The Arabs and the Muslims? Why are they left out?

Ask George Avery, who goes even further outside the box:

Relatively speaking, the United States was a minor player in the African Slave Trade — only about 5% of the Africans imported to the New World came to the United States. Of the 10.7 million Africans who survived the ocean voyage, a mere 388,000 were shipped directly to North America. The largest recipients of imported African slaves were Brazil, Cuba. Jamaica, and the other Caribbean colonies. The lifespan of those brought into what is now the United States vastly exceeded those of the other 95%, and the United States was the only purchaser of African slaves where the population grew naturally in slavery – the death rate among the rest was higher than the birth rate. …

The World Slave Trade

The Trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean African slave trade, which began by Arabs as early as the 8th Century AD, dwarfed the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and continued up to the 20th Century. Between the start of the Atlantic Slave Trade and 1900, it is estimated that the eastern-bound Arab slave traders sold over 17 million Africans into slavery in the Middle East and India, compared to about 12 million to the new world – and the Eastern-bound slave trade had been ongoing for at least 600 years at the START of that period.

Indeed, as horrific as crossing the ocean (the Atlantic) in chains in the hold of a ship was, crossing a scorching desert (the Sahara) on foot led to far greater death rates.

As it turns out, therefore, the only true descriptive of the situation is that The United States Was a Footnote in Slavery’s History.

So, remember: what the Left hates is not slavery (or, indeed, racism); what the Left hates is America. 

As Dennis Prager writes (in Whites Aren't Hated for Slavery but for Making America and the West),

the left … hates America, which it regards as the paragon of capitalism. By becoming the most successful country in history, America, the quintessential capitalist country, remains a living rebuke to everything the left stands for. If America can be brought down, every left-wing egalitarian dream can be realized. … What the left does very much seek is to destroy America as we have known it -- the capitalist and Judeo-Christian enclave of personal freedom.

A much longer and much more detailed version of the present post was published here:

1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the New York Times

Check out the Twitter thread:

RELATED: The 1619 Project Summarized in One Single Sentence 

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

From Washington to Grant, not a single American deserves an iota of gratitude, or even understanding, from Nikole Hannah-Jones; however, modern autocrats, if leftist and foreign, aren't "all bad"

• 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

• Influenced by Farrakhan's Nation of Islam?! 1619 Project's History "Expert" Believes the Aztecs' Pyramids Were Built with Help from Africans Who Crossed the Atlantic Prior to the "Barbaric Devils" of Columbus (Whom She Likens to Hitler)

• 1793, 1776, or 1619: Is the New York Times Distinguishable from Teen Vogue? Is It Living in a Parallel Universe? Or Is It Simply Losing Its Mind in an Industry-Wide Nervous Breakdown?

• No longer America's "newspaper of record," the "New Woke Times" is now but a college campus paper, where kids like 1619 writer Nikole Hannah-Jones run the asylum and determine what news is fit to print

• Spoiled Brats? The NYT defends the 1619 project while (and by) trivializing or outright insulting its critics, with N-word (!) user Hannah-Jones going as far as doxxing one pundit

• The Departure of Bari Weiss: "Propagandists", Ethical Collapse, and the "New McCarthyism" — "The radical left are running" the New York Times, "and no dissent is tolerated"

• "Full of left-wing sophomoric drivel": The New York Times — already drowning in a fantasy-land of alternately running pro-Soviet Union apologia and their anti-American founding “1619 Project” series — promises to narrow what they view as acceptable opinion even more

• "Deeply Ashamed" of the… New York Times (!), An Oblivious Founder of the Error-Ridden 1619 Project Uses Words that Have to Be Seen to Be Believed ("We as a News Organization Should Not Be Running Something That Is Offering Misinformation to the Public, Unchecked")

• 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

• 1619: It takes an absurdly blind fanaticism to insist that today’s free and prosperous America is rotten and institutionally oppressive

• The MSM newsrooms and their public shaming terror campaigns — the "bullying campus Marxism" is closer to cult religion than politics: Unceasingly searching out thoughtcrime, the American left has lost its mind

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


• 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)

• The 1775 proclamation of slave owner Lord Dunmore was a reaction to—not a cause of—a revolution already in full swing

• 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 

• Militiamen Mere "Slave Catchers"? Blatantly Overlooking the Important Role Played by America's Militias in the French & Indian War as well as the American Revolution, Both of Which Predated the Constitution and Its Second Amendment

• Not 1619 but 1641: In Fact, the American Revolution of 1776 Sought to Avoid the Excesses of the English Revolution Over a Century Earlier

• Can the Élites' Contempt for the Voters' Desires in the 2020s Be Traced All the Way Back to the Jamestown and Plymouth Colonies? In a sense, Lincoln chose the events of Thanksgiving 1620 as our true founding in order to repudiate the events of 1619

• 2,000% better off — Economic history is unequivocal: Jefferson’s slavery wasn’t the basis of America’s prosperity; Jefferson’s liberalism was

• If slavery was the basis of capitalism, asks Rich Lowry, why did the capitalist North wage a war to destroy the seedbed of its own prosperity?

• 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"

• One of the steps of defeating truth is to destroy evidence of the truth, says Bob Woodson; Because the North's Civil War statues — as well as American history itself — are evidence of America's redemption from slavery, it's important for the Left to remove evidence of the truth


• 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

• Secular humanistic indoctrination dumbs down children, drives wedges between them and their parents, and has grown increasingly hostile to patriotism and parental authority

• 1619 is a "reframing" of the American story in mockery of our political origins, in defiance of actual history, with the expressed purpose of sabotaging our sense of national identity

• 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"

Inciting Hate Already in Kindergarten: 1619 "Education" Is Part of Far-Left Indoctrination by People Who Hate America to Kids in College, in School, and Even in Elementary Classes

• Hulu's 1619 Project Docu-Series Is Not Designed to Teach Us—and Our Kids—About (or to Hate) Slavery or Racism; It Is Designed to Teach Us to Loathe America

• In 1640, more than 5,000 English citizens were being held as slaves in North Africa: Slavery’s long, cosmopolitan history is ignored by the architects of the 1619 Project

• "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"

• Dennis Prager: The Left Couldn't Care Less About Blacks

• A Prager U Video and a Book, "1620," Take on the 1619 Project

• When was the last time protests in America were marred by police violence? 1970, according to Ann Coulter, who asks "Can we restrict wild generalizations about the police to things that have happened in our lifetimes?" (Compare with, say, China…)

The Secret About Black Lives Matter; In Fact, the Outfit's Name Ought to Be BSD or BAD

• The Real Reason Why Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and the Land O'Lakes Maid Must Vanish

• 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


jocon307 said...

Well, no one else has said it, so I will. This is great, a great compilation. And to think we owe thanks to the World Socialists for an excellent debunking of this nonsense. That really shows how far off the rails these people have gone. They are at the bottom of the chasm now and yet they think they are standing on the mountain top.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't it freely ant to note that America had slavery for several thousand years before 1619? SAalvery was widely practiced among American Indians, and was ubiquitous amongtheir cousins south of the border.

aerohead575 said...

Bravo! Bravo!
This is the best and *definitive* retort, closer and mail in the coffin of the 1619 project.

The graphic showing the sources of slavery is the final kicker!

I'd like to buy that man a beer...or two!

Anonymous said...

Great insight, and it should be further noted that African slaves were first brought to what was to become the U.S. via Spanish Florida in 1526, almost a century before Jamestown, and remained there under Spanish rule for hundreds of years. At the time, Spanish Florida encompassed parts of the Georgia and South Carolina coasts, and these slaves were part of the San Miguel de Gualdape colony near Winyah Bay, SC. But that can't be mentioned because it might alienate potential Hispanic political allies and complicate the narrative.
The 1619 Project is a dog's breakfast of anti-American hate, envy, opportunism, and nihilism.

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Drew458 said...

One sentence? I could summarize the entire 1619 project in one word. Two syllables, starts with a "b" and ends with an "it".