New York Times Chooses Controversy Over Truth in Promoting Revisionist History

1619 Project, Debunked by Historians for Calling American Independence a Conspiracy to Protect Slavery, Continues to Be Marketed to Schoolchildren

Instead of renouncing the debunked 1619 Project, New York TimesPublisher A.G. Sulzberger today patted himself on the back for sparking debate with a revisionist history that has been distributed to schools nationwide.

During the annual New York Times shareholder meeting, the first one ever to be held virtually, Christopher Arps, a member of the Project 21 black leadership network of the National Center for Public Policy Research, submitted this question:

The New York Times has invested significant resources in its 1619 Project, built upon the premise that everything in American history is irrevocably built on and tainted by slavery. Many well-respected historians from a wide array of backgrounds have stepped forward to challenge the premises and factual assertions of the Project, particularly the claim that U.S. independence was motivated by a desire to break from an abolitionist Britain. The Times has finally admitted its error. Will it now go back to correct the record with the vigor with which it distorted it, and ensure that schools using 1619 Project materials are not teaching falsehoods?

The 1619 Project, designed to put slavery at the center of the American experience, claims that United States independence arose as an effort to head off abolitionist efforts by Britain. Despite being disputed by eminent historians from across the political spectrum, and despite an admission from the head of the Project that she had made a mistake, this take on American history has been sent to schools around the country, where its being taught as truth.

In response to Arps's question, Sulzberger responded:

The 1619 Project's been widely read and praised, including by many of the nation's preeminent historians. It also certainly has its critics, some of whom disagree with some of its conclusions. And one of the things that we've tried hard to do throughout the Project is simply to encourage dialogue between those with different perspectives. And we think that that debate has been of real value to the public.

The audio of the reading of Arps's question, and Sulzberger's response, can be heard here. Arps's submitted question can be read here.

Arps was disturbed by Sulzberger's answer, and responded after the meeting:

The 1619 Project is a travesty. Slavery is a part of American history, and a sad one. But it is not all of American history. All Americans of all races and backgrounds have so much to be proud of in our shared history.

What none of us can be proud of is modern attempts to warp the historical record in order to make the United States as evil as possible, and to destroy it in the minds of its people and the people of the world. That the New York Times, a once great newspaper, should lead this charge is horrifying. That the errors are aimed at schoolchildren is reprehensible. And the response today ? one that completely failed even to acknowledge the corrections that the Times has been forced to make, and that failed to commit to correcting its errors for school, is beyond the pale.