Nikole Hannah-Jones Responds To Republican Efforts To Censor 1619 Project
Written by Black Voices on May 3, 2021
Nikole Hannah-Jones responded to Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) latest request to the Secretary of Training to disclaim funding to varsities that train the findings of the 1619 Undertaking she helmed with The New York Instances, which centered on slavery, anti-Black racism and the foundational function each have performed all through American historical past.
McConnell justified his request for censorship by baselessly claiming “American pleasure has plummeted to its lowest stage in 20 years,” and that the Pulitzer-winning 1619 Undertaking and different examinations of racism all through U.S. historical past topic People to “a drumbeat of revisionism and negativity.”
In a Monday CNN interview, Hannah-Jones corrected McConnell and reiterated the 2019 challenge’s intent as outlined in her introductory essay.
“In actual fact, what I say is that regardless of every thing this nation has accomplished to Black People — that Black People have seen the worst of America, and but nonetheless consider in its finest,” she mentioned.
Hannah-Jones mentioned McConnell’s effort to censor her challenge is a “freedom of speech concern,” and he or she mentioned she was shocked extra free speech advocates weren’t denouncing the hassle.
“This isn’t in regards to the info of historical past — it’s about attempting to ban the instructing of concepts they don’t like,” she mentioned.
McConnell is just not the primary conservative voice to attempt to censor the challenge. The concept invoked by Nikole Hannah-Jones ― elevating non-white individuals who have contributed to American democracy ― is antithetical to American conservatism, which exists to consolidate energy amongst a dwindling variety of white elites.
Former President Donald Trump, who focused Black feminine journalists and media figures to encourage vitriol amongst conservatives, helped steer white conservative outrage towards Hannah-Jones, a Black lady and famend schooling reporter.
On the top of final yr’s presidential marketing campaign, Trump threatened to rescind funding from colleges that used the challenge to assist train college students. A wave of Republicans across the nation have tried to institute comparable bans on the curriculum.
The 1619 Undertaking makes use of written essays, video and images to look at the methods anti-Black racism has pervaded American tradition because the first enslaved Africans had been introduced ashore greater than 400 years in the past, and discusses Black People’ love for america despite that therapy. Collectively, the items included kind a counter-narrative, written largely by Black folks, that contradicts racist white American interpretations of how america got here to be.
“I had been taught, at school, via cultural osmosis, that the flag wasn’t actually ours, that our historical past as a folks started with enslavement and that we had contributed little to this nice nation,” Hannah-Jones writes within the introductory essay for The 1619 Undertaking. “Greater than another group on this nation’s historical past, we now have served, era after era, in an ignored however important function: It’s we who’ve been the perfecters of this democracy.”
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