Friday, January 03, 2020

American historians and journalists disagree. It's about slavery

For several months, the New York Times's 1619 Project has been attempting to convince Americans that their country's real foundational date is not 1776, but the year that the first African slaves were imported into the British colonies that later formed the United States.

Now some pushback from historians. Prominent ones, too (which is to say I have heard of most of them, and read at least three). Victoria Bynum of Texas State University, James M. McPherson and Sean Wilentz of Princeton University, James Oakes of the City University of New York and Gordon S. Wood of Brown University are the professors asking for corrections of fact.  The Times is having none of it, and standing by its reporting pretty much in toto.

The Washington Post has a summary of the disagreement.  (The Post has a serious paywall, and the story may be more accessible via the link in this History News Network story which is where I started.)

For some reason the historians' critique began on the World Socialist website, "founded on Trotskyite principles." Pretty sure these historians are not very Trot, but historical debate is where you find it, I guess.

Update, January 17, 2020:  the World Socialist website has a pretty impressive Historical section, including this section on "1619," which has many long interviews with historians.
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