Joe Biden’s Education Secretary should abandon plans to provide grants to teach critical race theory and a controversial book on slavery, two Republican representatives have argued, claiming that it would usher in a ‘dangerous’ curriculum.
Miguel Cardona is contemplating issuing grants, which would see taxpayer funds being spent on teaching both The 1619 Project, originally from The New York Times, and Ibram X Kendi’s book, How to Be an Anti-Racist.
Both works would be incorporated into K-12 school curriculums.
Miguel Cardona, the Education Secretary, is considering grants to teach ‘anti-racism’
Cardona, seen April 22 at a school in White Plains, New York, received a letter about his plans
The 1619 Project was launched by the New York Times in 2019 to mark the 400th anniversary of African slaves’ arrival in what later became the US. The venture examines how slavery shaped and continues to permeate all aspects of American society by expanding on early accounts that are largely left out of the historical narrative taught in most schools
The 1619 Project was launched by The Times in 2019 to mark the 400th anniversary of African slaves’ arrival in what later became the US.
New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer for the series
The venture examines how slavery shaped and continues to permeate all aspects of American society, by expanding on early accounts that are largely left out of the historical narrative taught in most schools.
The Times subsequently teamed up with the nonprofit Pulitzer Center to create a curriculum based on the project for primary and secondary schools.
Critics say it rewrites American history, and teaches young people to turn against their ‘racist’ homeland.
Kendi’s 2019 book, meanwhile, is criticized for being dogmatic and excessive in its diagnosis of America’s troubled history.
On Tuesday it emerged that the two Republican politicians, Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, have written to Cardona urging a rethink of the grants to teach the two texts.
‘It is therefore counterproductive and even dangerous to allow our vulnerable school children to be taught the falsehoods prevalent in the 1619 Project or in Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist,’ they write in their letter, obtained by Fox News.
Doug Lamborn of Colorado has written to Cardona expressing concern about the proposal
Jeff Duncan of South Carolina co-signed the letter to Cardona
New York Times’ 1619 Project
In August 2019 the New York Times Magazine published the 1619 project, a collection of essays, photo essays, short fiction pieces and poems aimed to ‘reframe’ American history based on the impact of slaves brought to the US.
It was published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans in the English colonies.
It argues that the nation’s birth was not 1776 with independence from the British crown, but in August 1619 with the arrival of a cargo ship of 20 to 30 enslaved Africans at Point Comfort in the colony of Virginia, which inaugurated the system of slavery.
The project argues that slavery was the country’s origin and out of it ‘grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional.’
That includes economic might, industry, the electoral system, music, public health and education inequities, violence, income inequality, slang, and racial hatred.
However, the project is debated among historians for its factual accuracy.
In March 2020 historian Leslie M. Harris who served as a fact checker for the project said authors ignored her corrections, but believed the project was needed to correct prevailing historical narratives.
One aspect up for debate is the timeline.
Time Magazine said the first slaves arrived in 1526 in a Spanish colony in what is now South Carolina, 93 years prior to the landing in Jamestown.
Some experts say slaves first arrived at present-day Fort Monroe in Hampton, instead of Jamestown.
Others argue the first Africans in Virginia were indentured servants as laws on lifetime slavery didn’t appear till 17th century and early 18th century, but worked essentially as slaves.
‘This book is antithetical to the American Dream.
‘Moreoever, the 1619 Project is a racially divisive revisionist account of history which intends to reframe U.S. history by marking the year by marking the year when the first enslaved Africans arrived on Virginia soil as our nation’s foundational date.’
‘The 1619 Project is in fundamental opposition to our true foundation date in 1776.’
In a statement on Tuesday, Lamborn told Fox News: ‘Our schools obviously have a crucial role to play in helping make students aware of the negative consequences of slavery and significant contributions of black Americans.
‘However, we should never prioritize educational grants for schools that promote attacks on the principles enshrined in our Constitution.’
Republican lawmakers in a handful of states, including Iowa and Missouri, are continuing his fight to ban it from schools.
Bills were introduced in those state legislatures that would punish school districts that use The 1619 Project by cutting federal funding.
Ibram X. Kendi published his book in 2019, to both acclaim and criticism
A major critic of the project has been The Heritage Foundation, which says it ‘has been tireless in its efforts to debunk the radical and anti-American positions taken by The New York Times and the ‘1619 Project.’
One of The Heritage Foundation’s articles pointed out post-publication edits that The Times made, including changing a phrase in journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’ leading article in the series to say that ‘some of’ the colonists fought the American Revolution to defend slavery.
Former President Donald Trump was particularly angered by The 1619 Project, describing it as ‘totally discredited’ and part of the ‘twisted web of lies’ that has caught fire in American universities that teach American is a ‘wicked and racist nation.’
He formed a ‘1776 Commission’ in response to teach ‘patriotism.’
It released a report this year before being scrapped by Biden.