To The REVIEW:
Nikole Hannah-Jones, lead writer for the 1619 Project, argued in her introductory essay “that the year 1619 is as important to the American story as 1776.”
In a radio interview with “The Karen Hunter Show,” Hannah -Jones said, “My ultimate goal is that there’ll be a reparations bill passed.” She told the Chicago Tribune in October, “If you read the whole project, I don’t think you can come away from it without understanding the project is an argument for reparations.”
If that is her passion, then she should most of all be writing the history of Islamic slavery, for during their 13 centuries of selling African slaves, they enslaved 120 million of them transporting them to Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, etc., castrating them to prevent them from multiplying. She should also be writing the complete history of African slaves brought to the Americas, North, Central and South: 12 million of them. Of these 12 million, around 450,000 were brought to North America. Therefore, huge reparations should be paid by Central and South Americans. (In 1807, the U.S. government outlawed the importation of African slaves.)
If reparations are to be done fairly then most of the African tribes in Africa should also be paying reparations for all the men their ancestors stole from neighboring tribes and then sold to Muslim slave traders. If most of us in northwest Iowa whose grandparents came to the USA after 1865 must pay reparations even though none of our ancestors had slaves, then let’s make it fair: the people living in Spain should pay us Dutch folks here in northwest Iowa reparations for all our Dutch Reformed ancestors they murdered in the 1500-1600s.
James Schaap tells of weaknesses in his father’s generation, and I can agree with that: in 1951, Mrs. Post, my eighth-grade teacher at Denver Christian School told us the curse on Ham was a curse on all black folks and that God’s decree that Ham’s descendants would be servants to Jephath’s descendants still held in 1951.
Only later did I learn that the curse was not on Ham, but on Canaan, son of Ham, and that Canaanites are basically white (see Egyptian tomb paintings of Canaanites painted around 1400 BC).
Joel McDurmon’s book, “The Problem of Slavery in Christian America” (2017), is a factual and historical account of the made-up “Christian” reasons for slavery. Joel exposes how clergy and churches were among leading proponents of slavery in the period 1800-1860, something I had not known. The book aims at being a biblical response to this sad period in our history without capitulating to non-Christian leftism.
So I’d prefer our students read Joel McDurmon’s book, or better yet, the materials called “1776” put together by leading Afro-American scholars.
The initiator of the 1776 project is Bob Woodson Sr., an Afro American from Silver Springs, MD, a civil rights activist in the 1960s. He believes the view of America espoused in the 1619 Project is not healthy.
Bob says, “Blacks are told that a lot of the problems we are facing today are the legacy of slavery. This is a defeatist mentality. Nothing is more lethal than to convey to a people they have an exemption from personal responsibility. Race grievance really is an exemption from personal responsibility, and 1619 is the culmination of that.”
The website of the Afro Americans writing 1776 says, “1776 is an assembly of independent voices who uphold our country’s authentic founding virtues and values and challenge those who assert America is forever defined by its past failures, such as slavery. We seek to offer alternative perspectives that celebrate the progress America has made on delivering its promise of equality and opportunity and highlight the resilience of its people. Our focus is on solving problems. We do this in the spirit of 1776, the date of America’s true founding.”
Another writer is Glenn Loury, an Afro-American professor of economics at Brown University. He rejects the pessimistic view of today’s African Americans as victims offered by the 1619 Project.
In a recent symposium in Washington, he contrasted “the elevated viewpoint of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the low take of Hannah-Jones.” Loury said, “King spoke of a promissory note; but on the 1619 side is a very different narrative, one of reparations. I worry that my grandchildren are being taught to hate their country. They’re being told how to vote, how to think.”
Afro-American journalist Clarence Page, part of the 1776 project states, “The 1619 statement that the ‘founding ideals were false’ is misleading and even counterproductive to our understanding of the founding documents as aspirational. We must disrupt the long-held stereotypes of black people as helpless bystanders in their own history. Blacks have had entrepreneurs, skilled tradesmen, military officers, inventors, organizers and many others who responded to adversity by marshaling resources, building local enterprises and creating jobs. We organized and acted to defeat slavery, segregation and deprivation and then we persevered to build businesses that included banks, hotels, small factories and a black-owned railroad.”
These 1776 men all are writing stories of Afro Americans who persevered without bitterness, who built each other up with patience and love, who were thankful for God’s gifts in the midst of trials.
These Afro-American writers all agree that the most important date in American history is July 4, 1776, not 1619.
Stories of love and perseverance is what white and black students in our high schools should be concentrating on, while they still hear of the sorrows and horrible injustices in our history.
Gary Vander Hart,