Steve has written about the New York Times’ 1619 Project, an attempt to re-educate Americans about our history through the lens of African American slavery — in other words, to convince us that America is racist to its core. I hadn’t realized that it’s a newspaper’s role to teach history, but the Times has an irresistible urge to delegitimize America. It wants to be in the vanguard of this effort.
However, Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars (NAS), shows that the Times isn’t in the vanguard at all. Our colleges and universities long ago took the lead. Howard Zinn’s elaborately distorted vision in A People’s History of the United States has been swallowed whole by millions. Indeed, as Wood notes, the editors at The New York Times who commissioned the 1619 Project learned their defamatory history in college and/or from Zinn’s book.
The defamatory drumbeat on American campuses is impossible to escape. Want to major in physics? Fine, but often all entering freshmen are assigned books to read over the summer.
According to Wood, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s execrable Between the World and Me is the second most assigned book in freshman summer reading programs. Moreover, the Open Syllabus Project finds that Coates’s book is assigned in 783 courses. By contrast, Time on the Cross, The Economics of American Slavery by the Nobel economist Robert Fogel is assigned in only 22.
The National Association of Scholars has launched the 1620 Project. It aims to recruit historians and scholars of all sorts to assemble a comprehensive riposte to the 1619 Project. The goal is not to erase the history of slavery, but to put it in an accurate historical context.
Today, in New Haven, Connecticut, NAS released a new edition of the study “Neo-Segregation at Yale.” On September 26, it will launch the next edition of Beach Books, which tracks college reading programs.
The attempt to combat the left’s defamatory version of American history is as important as any intellectual project of which I’m aware. I don’t know how any country can thrive if its citizens believe it is fundamentally evil. Who would defend such a country against its enemies, foreign and domestic?
Do the leftists behind the anti-American indoctrination program of the past decades, of which the 1619 Project is a lagging indicator, think America is worth defending? I doubt it.