Writer and non-historian Nikole Hannah-Jones won herself a Pulitzer Prize award on Monday for an essay that kicked off the New York Times’ faux-history sham, The 1619 Project. This project, which has been lambasted by actual historians as landing somewhere between misleading and outright fiction, makes the argument that American history begins not with the Revolutionary War but with the introduction of slaves to the New World. Additionally, Hannah-Jones and her hand-picked writers make the case that the war was indeed not fought to secure American independence…but rather to retain the institution of slavery.
“Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true,” wrote Hannah-Jones in the essay that won her the prize. “Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.”
Under pressure from historians and, well, the actual facts, Hannah-Jones later corrected the essay to note that only “some” colonists were fighting to preserve slavery.
Responding to news of the award, writer Andrew Sullivan marveled: “How many Pulitzer prizes have gone to essays that have had to subsequently publicly correct one of their core claims? Or been challenged by every major historian in the field, right and center and left?”
One of the historians who argued publicly against Hannah-Jones’s original 1619 claims was Northwestern University’s Leslie Harris, who was otherwise sympathetic to the goals of the project.
“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 with her fact-checker: that the patriots fought the American Revolution in large part to preserve slavery in North America,” Harris wrote in Politico. “I vigorously disputed the claim. Although slavery was certainly an issue in the American Revolution, the protection of slavery was not one of the main reasons the 13 Colonies went to war.”
In a country that regards Abraham Lincoln as an undisputed hero and the cause of the North in the Civil War to be righteous and worthy of celebration, it’s hard to imagine that historians would somehow hide the fact that the Revolutionary War was really about slavery. Indeed, it defies common sense, and it is a notion based less on the historical record and more on the emotional wokeness of modern day American liberals.
For The New York Times to have published this project uncritically is another black mark on their rapidly-deteriorating reputation. For public schools to consider adding the 1619 Project to their curriculum is a sign of just how dangerously the left’s identity politics have infected our education system. For the Pulitzer committee to actually enshrine this fiction with their prestigious award shows you that leftist historical revisionism is a global problem with inevitably grim consequences.