The 1619 Project: Fact or Fiction?

Ethically Speaking | The 1619 Project
29 Aug

The 1619 Project: Fact or Fiction?

This year, the year of 2019, marks the 400th anniversary of the first 20 to 30 African slaves officially brought to the shores of North America near Port Comfort, Virginia.

The year was 1619 in the midst of a hot summer in August.

To commemorate and pay homage to African enslaved people who were stolen, sold, and forced to come to North America, the New York Times Magazine has produced a 100 page on-line and printed work complete with essays, illustrations, and poetry highlighting African Americans’ contributions to the nation from 1619 to 2019.

The document is massive and appealing. Known as The 1619 Project, it outlines conceptual frameworks rarely discussed, from why we, as a nation, do not have universal health care to the origins of Wall Street.

But with all the long, dedicated, and tireless energy that was put into this body of work, so much of Black history was not discussed.

When I first glanced over the published work, it seemed as if the “major media” had taken much of their ideas from the “alternative media”.

It seemed as though those who operate and run the major news outlets such as The New York Times watched the early portions of the Hidden Colors documentary series by independent producer and director “Tariq Nasheed” and jotted down notes to write their own commemorative work known as “The 1619 Project”.

This is not the first time the major media has “borrowed” from other sources. For instance, part of the title from the Hidden Colors series was inspired without credit.

The movie about four Black female mathematicians who worked for NASA was similarly called “Hidden Figures”.

Even the title’s reference to “The 1619 Project” sounded vaguely familiar to me.

Then, I remembered.

There was another recent film Mr. Nasheed produced which used the date as its title, 1804: The Hidden History of Haiti, which was about the Haitian Revolution.

This just goes to show you that hypocrisy is rampant with many “major” news outlets. They often ignore, marginalize, and even degrade their critics only to take the ideas of the very people they claim to despise. Many major news outlets are blatantly biased, rather than objective truth-tellers. Their format is either/or: democratic or republican, conservative or liberal.

Although I am critical of what The New York Times and other similar media outlets have done, it does not mean that one cannot learn from them. Most of what was referenced in The 1619 Project was information I previously knew, but the mass public may or may not be aware of many points highlighted in this collective work. So, publishing1619 is a good thing,

but it must also be viewed from a critical eye.

For example, in the opening statement introducing 1619, the author suggests that the official date of America’s founding should be moved from 1776 to 1619 because black Africans first arrived in Virginia in 1619.

Although 1619 is said to be the date that African slaves arrived in North America, this date does not, by no measure, represent the first time Black people arrived here in the Americas. Whether the actual date of America’s founding is accurate or not, we must see history for what it is- a collection of events from the perspective of its authors.

Everyone has a perspective and an agenda.

Whether one admits it or not, that perspective and agenda are infused into the “facts” that are written in history.

As the saying goes, history is written by the victors.

——– What You Think? ———-

If you agree or disagree with my thoughts, feel free to give your own thoughts below in the comments section.

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