New York Times reporter behind 1619 Project slams Piers Morgan
‘I find your rewriting of history utterly tiresome’: Piers Morgans gets into massive Twitter spat with reporter behind New York Times 1619 Project after she tried to hit back at his claims she is promoting fake history
- Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on the 1619 Project that she co-founded, criticized Piers Morgan on Tuesday
- It came after Morgan’s latest column for DailyMail.com in which he accused her of promoting fake history with her 1619 Project
- He wrote that the 1619 Project was an attempt to rewrite the country’s history by claiming colonists fought for independence from Britain to continue slavery
- Hannah-Jones went on to trade blows with Morgan on Twitter accusing him of summarizing the entire project by a single line from just one essay
- Morgan hit back tweeting: ‘I find your rewriting of history utterly tiresome’
- The 1619 Project, which is an ongoing project, argued at one point that the arrival of the first African slaves to Virginia in 1619 represents the US’s birth year
Piers Morgan fired back at the New York Times reporter behind the 1619 Project after she blasted his claims that she was promoting fake history.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on the 1619 Project that she co-founded, criticized the British journalist on Tuesday over his latest DailyMail.com column.
In his column, Morgan had argued that the 1619 Project incorrectly claimed that colonists had fought for independence from Britain because they wanted to protect and continue slavery.
He wrote that the 1619 Project was an effort led by the New York Times to rewrite the country’s history.
Hannah-Jones, whose Twitter handle is Ida Bae Wells, went on to trade blows with Morgan on Twitter as she called his summary of the project’s work ‘utterly tiresome’.
In response to Hannah-Jones’ tweets, Morgan hit back saying: ‘Hi Nikole, you stated that ‘one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institutions of slavery’. That is nonsense & I find your rewriting of history utterly tiresome.
‘Trust me, we Brits know why the War of Independence was fought.’
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Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on the 1619 Project that she co-founded, criticized Piers Morgan on Tuesday over his latest DailyMail.com column
She had tweeted: ‘It’s so utterly tiresome the way you sum up the entire 1619 Project – a project of 40K words and 10 essays – by a single line from a single essay and because a small group of historians didn’t like that one line.
‘It also may surprise you that the 13% of the population who is Black don’t consider this the greatest day in our history since our ancestors lived in chattel slavery for nearly another century after 1776 and since this is a project about slavery, have an ounce of self awareness.
‘It also may surprise you the the colonists were a diverse group of men and women and not gods and had a lot of noble and not-so-noble motivations to leave the British empire, including wanting to steal more indigenous lands, preservation of slavery and shirking their debts.
‘You’re not interested in truth but a nationalistic history that oddly – inexplicably – speaks to you as a Brit. But to imagine that you can speak for how this history should be told and what is the proper telling over Black *Americans* is just utter hubris.’
The 1619 Project is an ongoing NYT Magazine project that was first published in August last year to mark the 400th year of the first enslaved Africans being brought to the United States.
It makes the argument that the arrival of the first African slaves to Virginia in 1619 represents the birth year of the US rather than in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed.
The project, in the words of the NYT, aims to re-frame the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the national narrative.
Their Twitter spate came after President Donald Trump tweeted at the weekend that the education department was looking into claims that California schools are using the journalism project in the curriculum.
When questioned about his tweet, Trump said: ‘We grew up with a certain history and now they’re trying to change our history.’
Morgan wrote in his column that he agreed with Trump.
‘The 1619 Project undoubtedly provides a huge amount of very important information about the history of American slavery and I would encourage people to read it,’ he said.
‘But the central tenet of the main author’s belief is historically wrong, incredibly damaging, and it should not be part of any school curriculum.
‘American kids should not be told that their country’s great War of Independence was waged to maintain slavery. That’s not why most colonists fought it; they fought it to end British colonial rule and establish the United States of America.
‘Young Americans should feel proud of that victory, not ashamed, and should be taught that their country began in 1776 with the glorious Declaration of Independence, not in 1619 with the ignominious arrival of slaves to Virginia.
‘To reframe the dismantling of British rule as a battle to maintain slavery in the way the NYT has done is not just misguided, it’s disgraceful. It also, like so much of the culture war stuff that has exploded since George Floyd was so despicably killed, plays right into Trump’s hands.’
Morgan also noted in the column that several historians had written to the NYT last year demanding corrections be made to certain elements they argued were inaccurate or unfair, including that colonial independence from Britain occurred to ensure slavery would continue.
At the time, Times Magazine editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein said he stood by their reporting and issued a lengthy rebuttal to the arguments made the historians.
Silverstein said that while he respected the work of the historians, he rejected the claims that the 1619 Project contained factual errors and was ‘driven by ideology rather than historical understanding’.
Last year, the New York Times began the ‘1619 Project’ which it said, ‘aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of (The United States) national narrative’
On Sunday Trump retweeted a message from an unverified account saying the project would be taught in schools and shared: ‘Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded!’
This engraving shows the arrival of a Dutch slave ship with a group of African slaves for sale in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619
PIERS MORGAN: Trump is right, the 1619 Project promotes fake history and if Democrats keep trying to make Americans feel ashamed of Independence Day and back BLM protesters who scream at white diners, Biden will be history too
1776 is a year very close to my heart, and indeed all British hearts.
It was the year we lost control of Americans and the consequences were apocalyptic – not least for me personally.
Let’s be very clear: if it wasn’t for King George III’s shocking incompetence and weakness, then there would have been no Declaration of Independence, no United States of America, and a Union Jack flag would today be flying proudly over the White House as I, King Piers I, was served my morning tea in the Oval Office by a liveried butler before addressing my people across the country…my BRITISH people, or at a push, my British-American people.
So, 1776 is a very important, and frankly rather depressing year for we Brits.
But it’s a considerably more important one for Americans, who wouldn’t exist as Americans free from British colonial rule without the events that happened that year.
Indeed, it is the single most important year in America’s history because it’s the year America effectively began.
That’s why the annual July 4 celebrations are always celebrated so fiercely and proudly by Americans, and in a rather more subdued manner back in my home country.
For the vast majority of Americans, it signifies the greatest day in the country’s history.
History is the bedrock of any country, good, bad and ugly.
History is what informs, educates and inspires future generations.
As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said: ‘We are not makers of history. We are made by history.’
But what’s happening in America right now is a concerted effort to rewrite the country’s history, led by the New York Times, which has become a hotbed of ultra ‘woke’ liberal journalism during the Trump political era.
Last year, the paper began the ‘1619 Project’ which it said, ‘aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of (The United States) national narrative.’
The interactive ongoing Project was timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first African slaves to Virginia in 1619 – and suggests that this date represents the ‘nation’s birth year.’
It also stated, even more controversially, that the reason for the War of Independence was not a desire to be free of British rule but a desire for slavery to be continued.
In NYT reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones’ introductory essay to the 1619 Project – for which she won a Pulitzer Prize – she wrote 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.’
But this extraordinary claim has been hotly disputed by many leading US historians.
In December 2019, five of them – Sean Wilentz, James McPherson, Gordon Wood, Victoria Bynum and James Oakes – sent a letter to the NYT objecting to the framing of the project and accusing the authors of a ‘displacement of historical understanding by ideology.’ The letter specifically disputed Hannah-Jones’ assertion that colonists’ desire to get rid of the British was fuelled by a desire to continue with slavery.
Gordon Wood – himself a Pulitzer Prize winner for History – said: ‘I don’t know of any colonist who said that they wanted independence in order to preserve their slaves. No colonist expressed alarm that the mother country was out to abolish slavery in 1776.’
Other experts tried to make Hannah-Jones correct what they saw as her massively inaccurate rewriting of history.
Leslie Harris, a professor at Northwestern University, revealed she helped fact-check the project and alerted Hannah-Jones about problems but allegedly received no response from her.
Harris said she ‘vigorously disputed’ the claim that protecting slavery was a major reason why the American Revolution was fought.
‘Far from being fought to preserve slavery,’ she wrote for Politico, ‘the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies. Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation, a British military strategy designed to unsettle the Southern Colonies by inviting enslaved people to flee to British lines, propelled hundreds of enslaved people off plantations and turned some Southerners to the patriot side. It also led most of the 13 Colonies to arm and employ free and enslaved black people, with the promise of freedom to those who served in their armies.’
In March this year, after an avalanche of similar criticism, the NYT finally corrected Hannah-Jones’ essay to say that ‘protecting slavery was a primary motivation for some of the colonists.’
That’s a pretty big clarification, and by this time much of the damage was done in fuelling the notion that America’s greatest year, 1776, was not in fact something to celebrate but something to condemn because it wasn’t about fighting for independence but about fighting for the right to keep slaves.
The debate has raged ever since, and now, unsurprisingly, President Trump has got involved after it was claimed that some state-funded schools in California – a Democratic state – have started using the ‘1619 Project’ as part of their curriculum.
‘Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded!’ he tweeted on Sunday.
When questioned about it yesterday, he said: ‘We grew up with a certain history and now they’re trying to change our history.’
This prompted a predictable firestorm with many furious liberals accusing Trump of being a ‘white supremacist’ and his supporters defending him for protecting American history.
As with everything right now, the debate has swiftly turned toxic and viciously partisan.
But on this issue, I find myself siding with Trump.
The 1619 Project undoubtedly provides a huge amount of very important information about the history of American slavery and I would encourage people to read it.
But the central tenet of the main author’s belief is historically wrong, incredibly damaging, and it should not be part of any school curriculum.
American kids should not be told that their country’s great War of Independence was waged to maintain slavery.
That’s not why most colonists fought it; they fought it to end British colonial rule and establish the United States of America.
Young Americans should feel proud of that victory, not ashamed, and should be taught that their country began in 1776 with the glorious Declaration of Independence, not in 1619 with the ignominious arrival of slaves to Virginia.
To reframe the dismantling of British rule as a battle to maintain slavery in the way the NYT has done is not just misguided, it’s disgraceful.
It also, like so much of the culture war stuff that has exploded since George Floyd was so despicably killed, plays right into Trump’s hands.
As I’ve written before, the struggling President is desperate for the election in November not to be a referendum on his woeful handling of the coronavirus pandemic which has cost nearly 200,000 American lives and devastated the economy.
If he can make it about liberals trying to make Americans ashamed of their history, it will be a vote-winner for him.
Yet liberals seem totally oblivious to this and continue to perform acts of stupendous political self-harm.
The past two weeks have seen a series of ugly confrontations involving Black Lives Matter protesters haranguing and abusing white people eating in restaurants across the country.
In Rochester, New York, they screamed ‘F**k the white people’ at elderly diners and then stole their drinks from the table.
The video footage of these kind of horrible racially charged scenes does nothing but scare middle Americans and potentially encourage them to vote for Trump – as well as diminish the effectiveness of the BLM protests.
The President is already gleefully using the clips, and the 1619 debate, in his usual inflammatory way – not just to rally his base, but also to rally many independent voters who may not love or even like Trump but share his view that the ongoing cancel culture assault on everything they hold dear as Americans is getting completely out of hand.
I agree with them.
History will not be kind on the Democrats if they let Trump win again through their own stupidity – even if they try and rewrite it themselves.
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