1619 project's Ida Bae Wells demonstrates a new kind of professionalism for historians


    Queen of the world, certified genius now, can do what I like:

    A history fight. Bob Woodson is spearheading the 1776 project. Black historians are arguing the "true" history of blacks in America. It is a response to the 1619 Project.


    "1776" is an assembly of independent voices who uphold our country’s authentic founding virtues and values and challenge those who assert America is forever defined by its past failures, such as slavery.

    To counter the debilitating and dangerous message of the 1619 Project, we are launching “1776,” honoring the vision of our nation’s Founders who saw beyond their years. Though slavery and discrimination are undeniably a tragic part of our nation’s history, we have made great strides along its long and tortuous journey to realize its promise and abide by its founding principles. People are motivated to achieve and to overcome the challenges that confront them when they learn about inspiring victories that are possible, rather than being barraged by constant reminders of injuries they have suffered.

    In truth, even during the times of the worst oppression, there were blacks who were in slavery but not of slavery, who maintained a strong moral code and a belief in self-determination and mutual support that allowed them to rise. A surprising number of black men and women who were born slaves died as millionaires. Even in the era of legislated segregation and discrimination, blacks tapped an entrepreneurial legacy to launch thriving enterprises, including hotels, banks, hospitals, dental schools, insurance companies, and a railroad. In fact, the black business district of Durham, North Carolina, was widely known as “Black Wall Street.” 

    Another famous black entrepreneurial enclave was the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma. When oil was discovered in Tulsa in the early 1900s, the city underwent an enormous growth spurt. Though African Americans were not allowed to create business ventures in the major district and were not even welcomed as customers in the white business district, rather than taking service jobs and doing domestic service labor for others, many adventurous blacks chose to develop their own business district. By 1921, the business enclave had developed into an impressive array of enterprises. 

    Tragically, in that year, a young black delivery man was falsely accused of attacking a white woman. Tensions rose and erupted into chaos as a mob of angry whites looted stores, shot at blacks in the streets, and torched businesses, homes, and churches. In this violence, 860 African American businesses and homes were destroyed, and, afterward, the Greenwood business section lay in ruins. Undaunted and displaying the same entrepreneurial spirit that initially built the Greenwood section, blacks joined together in a massive effort of rebuilding. By 1938, business enterprises and community organizations, once again, anchored the community.


    The surprising number of black millionaires was six.

    People know of Tulsa's Black Wall Street and its destruction 


    If the 1619 Project and the 1776 Project get people reading, it is all to the good.


    Video of an hour presentation of the 1776 Project is available on C-SPAN


    Ida Bae Wells obviously does not hold the 1776 Project in high regard

    There was a Congressional hearing on reparations . Ta-Nehisi Coates and Coleman Hughes argued the pro and con of reparations. Wells did not find Hughes' argument compelling.


    I think the discussions are important. You cannot improve conditions by pretending race doesn't exist, or by saying that race is discussed too much.



    I guess I'd be a killjoy to suggest more reading in how to create the Black Wall Street of 2025 and 2050 than this continual reflection on the remote past. Fintech, Machine Learning, electric cars, data analytics, robotics, IoT, neural implants, next gen medicine, and good old fashioned smart investing...

    Gen-Z and after doesn't even remember The Wall or the Internet Boom or the Bush years. Time's moving fast - and so are the oligarchs.

    And it's hard to see how discussing the 17th & 18th Centuries creates a direct path to "improve conditions". *Current* education, home and family wealth, health services, use of technology, better jobs, security and equal access to the law... Thomas Jefferson doesn't even know how to type, much less text.

    I want to take what you said further and apply it to what's happening in this specific case. She's acting like a Bernie Bro. That's because she's taking the revision of history and making it political, as if you win something politically by revising history. (I.E., we proved you were lying all along, now we're gonna get reparations or some such.) This is directly contrary to what scholarly history is all about! The whole idea is to de-politicize what happened! You wait until there's no vested interests pushing this narrative or that narrative, until the past is really the past.

    This behavior is really going to hurt the rep of the project if it continues, for that very reason.

    Bernie Bro types will never be respected historians. It's not a fight between conflicting narratives, it's a continual process of revising as new data comes along, a team effort not a competition.

    So yeah, back to the future now. That's where the politicking goes on. You read history, learn from it, move on.

    To be fair, Blacks have always had to play a bit Bernie Bro to push through some reevaluation of what we like to think of as accepted history - including perceptions & acts of Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson, whether statues are just war monuments vs symbols of slave masters, acknowledgment of achievements and even existence in different eras & events...

    But this 1619 thing is comical and self-defeatung, something akin to an effort to "prove" a Chinese admiral and explorer "discovered" America in 1420, except that would make Chinese first, while 1619 just emphasizes Black lastness forevermore. It's actually an argument *against* reparations, essentially proving nothing will ever move them from that historical low ground, 400 Years A Slave and counting.

    Anyway, there are enough respected Black historians opposing this 1619 nuttiness that I don't have to feel like an old racist bastard for sensing there's something monumentally off with this effort. No, Obama didn't end racism, but he doesn't have "1619 Slave" written all over him either, and he and Michelle have shown these last 3 years that life doesn't even stop even after the White House, they're still working on some new chapter. 

    My first instinct was to say "point taken", but after I had a little time on it: I think not. Having the backing and imprimatur of the NYTimes on this project,including distribution to educational systems, how much higher can one go? She's destroying what was achieved, aiding her enemies. You can either do political agitation or be a historian that's taken seriously by other historians, not both. 

    Edit to add: you're falling into your own trap there of judging by the past, as if things such as power dynamics haven't changed and continue to. You almost convinced me to do the same, that's the thing! Hah.

    Sorry, you lost me on both paragraphs. Try me again?

    (e.g. power dynamics have or haven't changed?
    They kind of have - and haven't, to split the difference.
    "It depends..." if you need some more waffle with that syrup.

    Was I talking about being a *bit* elbows out, rather than
    gonzo overboard? there are certainly lots of cases in academia
    where extremely good ideas are discarded because of politics and
    fight club or simply no one was intrigued enough & it countered
    accepted wisdom, so sometimes shepherding ideas through *is* required,
    though you may have to live with the results & fallout of that effort)

    Re: To be fair, Blacks have always had to play a bit Bernie Bro to push through some reevaluation of what we like to think of as accepted history -

    That's over. It's far from powerless to have one's version of history backed in a major expensive and continuing project sponsored by the New York Times to be broadcast by them around the world and with a huge marketing campaign.

    Edit to add: or go back to my original post, top of the page: Hours of petty + determined trolling isn’t what I’d traditionally expect from a prominent @nytimes contributor, but here we are. Has power, is abusing it., lording it over those with a differing historical narrative.

    I was just saying if she were half as abrasive, it might be about right to make things move (even with the NYT as megaphone). But she's roughly like some of the lame BLM spokespeople who flopped pretty badly, far from strategic or canny, just overassured and annoying and out of her depth.

    Right now the left has the cultural power, the right has the political power:

    I loved this book discussion with Ta-Nehisi Coates. That the right envies the left’s cultural power, and the left envies the right’s political power, and so both sides feel like they’re losing simultaneously, is crucial to understanding politics right now. https://t.co/CR7cssvkdQ

    — Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) February 20, 2020

    And any real scholar of history doesn't cotton to the idea of using the field to wield political power in the contemporary environment. And to even stay out of contemporary cultural power play as much as is humanly possible. The point is to strive to reach an objective truth about what really happened in the past.

    PP, on your point. and also on mine that "it's over". This was tweeted today by NASA (under a Trump administration, mind you.) I saw it because it was retweeted by Rick Wilson.

    We're saddened by the passing of celebrated #HiddenFigures mathematician Katherine Johnson. Today, we celebrate her 101 years of life and honor her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers: https://t.co/Tl3tsHAfYB pic.twitter.com/dGiGmEVvAW

    — NASA (@NASA) February 24, 2020

    But noooo, we have to remain victims and revise the histories to spin our victimization to the max and then gnash and wail and render garments and allow no further input unless it follows the narrative...and there's still those bronze statues that still gotta be torn down...hey, did ya see the honorary NASA tweet about Stonewall Jackson's birthday?

    That was just *Stonewall* - LGBTQ trib @ NASA following MLK day, OK? 

    [we been talking bout Jackson ever since the fire went out...]

    But yes, nice to have Katherine Johnson as part of our lore now. "First Black computer" - sounds like post-robitics, not early 60's.

    and speaking of rehashing and regnashing over ghosts,for chrissakes​:

    Peak Twitter right now is Cubans memorializing their relatives murdered by the Castro regime and hammer and sickle accounts coming around to mock them in the comments (“gusano” = “worm”) https://t.co/OVwMuUoA83

    — Walter Olson (@walterolson) February 25, 2020

    Next up the Armenian genocide, let's pit Turkish-Americans against Armenian Americans. After that we can do the Potato Famine revisionism, with Brexit and all, it's about time, hey it's possible one could even recruit Harry and Meghan to speak truth to powah ?....

    The NYT 1619 Project is hosting a discussion of the role of slavery in the Revolutionary War on March 6th. at the Times Center

    The panelists include two Pulitzer Prize winning historians, Annette Gordon-Reed and Alan Taylor. The chair of the history department at University of New Hampshire and Gerald Horne will also be on the panel. Hopefully, it will be live streamed or available after the event.



    The 1619 Project


    Slavery and the American Revolution:
    A Historical Dialogue








    What inspired the American Revolution? Was it a fight to secure freedom for all or bondage for some? Did the Patriots struggle for liberty or property? How should contemporary Americans regard the causes, character and legacy of the war that led to the nation’s founding? In recent months, some questions about the role of slavery in the American Revolution have been at the center of a raging debate triggered by The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project. To dig more deeply into the history of this period, The Times has convened an evening of informed discussion with leading scholars of the era, historians with a range of views who have done primary research on the Revolutionary Era and slavery in early America and will speak to the evidence and source material underlying the debate.

    Arguments about the nation’s founding are nothing new. Almost since the moment the first bullets flew, 250 years ago in March 1770, debates about the causes of the Revolution have proliferated. Every decade since, Americans’ understanding of the war has been deepened by new sources and new historical scholarship. Today in an age of disinformation and propaganda, it is critical to understand not only our history, but our historiography, the complex and contentious ways that American historians have built on the work of their predecessors, revising and clarifying the story of our nation’s past.

    Join us on March 6, 2020, for a spirited conversation with historians whose original research has helped us understand the complicated moment that gave birth to our republic. 




    This video clip I just noticed is actually a followup to one critical of Bloomberg and stop-and-frisk and his treatment of women etc.BUT it's much bigger picture from Timothy Synder, professor of history @ Yale. I like this in the context of both the political shit going on here as noted on this thrad AND the bigger context of the ongoing grand project of the history of the U.S.:



    The latest 1619 Project article was published on 02/12/20. The article focused on 12 sites that were used for slave auctions. These sites have quietly blended into the scenery. Perhaps the buildings should be marked to remind us of the role they played in the past. We have Confederate sites maintained. Reminding us of the selling of human beings that the Confederates supported is also important. 


    The 1619 Project is not a joke The 1619 Project is strong enough to debate the published articles in public. As noted in a post above, a public discussion on the role of slavery in triggering the Revolutionary War will be held in NYC on 03/06/20. Included in the panel will be Gerald Horne who argues that blacks fighting for freedom along side of the indigenous people and the Spanish created a fear of armed blacks in the colonists. In addition, Virginia Governor Lord Dunsmore threatened to arm enslaved men to counter the rebel colonials.


    Here is editor Nikole Hannah-Jones speaking at UVA


    I guess the laughter is from a guy on Twitter

    1619 Project Fact-Checker Says The New York Times Ignored Her Objections

    A history professor disputed some of Nikole Hannah-Jones's claims about slavery and the American Revolution.

    By Robby Soave @ Reason.com | 3.6.2020 1:52 PM

    Leslie Harris is a Northwestern University historian who helped fact-check the 1619 Project, The New York Times's recent package of articles that recast chattel slavery as a foundational aspect of America. The project has been praised for drawing attention to underscrutinized racial inequities throughout American history. But has also attracted criticism from historians who say that some of the project's claims are false. Harris is one of those critics—but when she raised her objections with Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Times reporter who spearheaded the 1619 Project, she received no response.

    "On August 19 of last year I listened in stunned silence as Nikole Hannah-Jones, a reporter for the New York Times, repeated an idea that I had vigorously argued against," writes Harris in Politico.

    When a fact-checker asked Harris to verify some of the project's statements, Harris "vigorously disputed" the claim that protecting the institution of slavery was a major reason the American colonies rebelled against British rule:

    Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies. Lord Dunmore's Proclamation, a British military strategy designed to unsettle the Southern Colonies by inviting enslaved people to flee to British lines, propelled hundreds of enslaved people off plantations and turned some Southerners to the patriot side. It also led most of the 13 Colonies to arm and employ free and enslaved black people, with the promise of freedom to those who served in their armies. While neither side fully kept its promises, thousands of enslaved people were freed as a result of these policies….

    Despite my advice, the Times published the incorrect statement about the American Revolution anyway, in Hannah-Jones' introductory essay. In addition, the paper's characterizations of slavery in early America reflected laws and practices more common in the antebellum era than in Colonial times, and did not accurately illustrate the varied experiences of the first generation of enslaved people that arrived in Virginia in 1619.

    Hannah-Jones has tended to be extremely dismissive of the project's critics, who include The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf and the American Institute for Economic Research's Phil Magness. Perhaps she will have a more difficult time discounting criticism from a historian whose expertise her project drew on.

    In any case, these ongoing issues with the project's accuracy are a good argument against school districts' swift mandates that it be taught in seventh-grade history classrooms.

    A clearer picture painted by Harris in Politico:

    The 1619 Project, in its claim that the Revolution was fought primarily to preserve slavery, doesn’t do justice to this history. Nor, however, does the five historians’ critical letter. In fact, the historians are just as misleading in simply asserting that Lincoln and Douglass agreed that the Constitution was a “glorious liberty document” without addressing how few other Americans agreed that the Constitution’s protections should be shared with African Americans. Gradual emancipation laws, as well as a range of state and local laws across the antebellum nation limiting black suffrage, property ownership, access to education and even residency in places like Ohio, Washington and California, together demonstrate that legally, the struggle for black equality almost always took a back seat to the oppressive imperatives of white supremacy. And racial violence against black people and against those few white people who supported ending slavery and supported black citizenship undergirded these inequalities—a pattern that continued well into the 20th century.

    The five historians’ letter says it “applauds all efforts to address the enduring centrality of slavery and racism to our history.” The best-known of those letter-writers, however, built their careers on an older style of American history—one that largely ignored the new currents that had begun to bubble up among their contemporaries. By the time Gordon Wood and Sean Wilentz were publishing their first, highly acclaimed books on pre-Civil War America, in the early 1970s and mid-1980s, respectively, academic historians had begun, finally, to acknowledge African American history and slavery as a critical theme in American history. But Wood and Wilentz paid little attention to such matters in their first works on early America.


    She further notes how Wood and a Wilentz have problems dealing with slavery. At any rate, the issue will be added in the 1619 Project book.



    Students have been taught crap history including the Lost Cause

    Now there is outrage because of the 1619 Project.

    Crocodile tears.

    Harris was concerned that Conservatives would use the "controversy" to blow up the entire 1619 Project.


    Retweeted by Coleman Hughes:

    Now can we remove Lost Cause textbooks from the classroom?


    The 1619 statement

    Today we are making a clarification to a passage in an essay from The 1619 Project that has sparked a great deal of online debate. The passage in question states that one primary reason the colonists fought the American Revolution was to protect the institution of slavery. This assertion has elicited criticism from some historians and support from others. 

    We stand behind the basic point, which is that among the various motivations that drove the patriots toward independence was a concern that the British would seek or were already seeking to disrupt in various ways the entrenched system of American slavery. Versions of this interpretation can be found in much of the scholarship into the origins and character of the Revolution that has marked the past 40 years or so of early American historiography — in part because historians of the past few decades have increasingly scrutinized the role of slavery and the agency of enslaved people in driving events of the Revolutionary period.




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