Which is it? 1619 or 1776?
Bret Stephens wrote a column in the Times, titled The 1619 Chronicles. It may be his last. He carefully describes how the 1619 Project has been modified in a foundational way.
The 1619 Project contended that 1619, and not 1776, was the “true founding” or “moment [America] began.” This position has been criticized by historians across the spectrum.
Last month, the 1619 Project was quietly edited. The passage originally read:
The 1619 project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.
The passage now reads:
The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.
The phrase “understanding 1619 as our true founding” was struck out. Without explanation.
Those concerns came to light last month when a longstanding critic of the project, Phillip W. Magness, noted in the online magazine Quillette that references to 1619 as the country’s “true founding” or “moment [America] began” had disappeared from the digital display copy without explanation.
These were not minor points. The deleted assertions went to the core of the project’s most controversial goal, “to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year.”
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator of the 1619 Project, defended the change:
In a tweet, Hannah-Jones responded to Magness and other critics by insisting that “the text of the project” remained “unchanged,” while maintaining that the case for making 1619 the c
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