Thursday, June 20, 2024

1619 Project; Did you read the book?

February 2, 2021 by  
Filed under Education, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Watching news or reading news articles online is a daily habit we all have. Whether it be ok regular television or highlights of newscasts on YouTube, we are constantly inundating ourselves with current events about our backyard and across the globe. There’s always a story that catches our eyes and makes us slap our forehead. Recently, I read an article about Mississippi State Senator Angela Burkes Hill proposing a bill called Saving American History in Mississippi School Act that seeks to stop teachers from using the 1619 Project as a history curriculum. If you have not heard about the 1619 Project, it is a Pulitzer Prize winning essay project by New York Times author, Nikole Hannah-Jones that explores how America’s history did not start in 1776 but in 1619 when the first enslaved Africans were brought to the shore of this continent. The essay sought to reframe the history of American by being brutally honest about where her wealth and ideology came from. It caused quite a stir in 2019 when it was published to recognize the 400th year of those ancestors who made the journey over.

1619 Project

With her bill, Sen. Burkes Hill looks to make those who teach the curriculum that was developed from the 1619 Project pay a hefty price. She proposes that school districts who teach the curriculum should see a 25% decrease in their state funding. According to an article published by WLBT (Jackson, MS), the senator feels that the program is racially divisive and gives “a revisionist [version] of history that threatens the integrity of the Union by denying the true principles on which it was founded.” This bill challenges a firmly held belief by non persons of color that persons of color are attacking history and their way of life. The pervasive notion that this program gives a revisionist version of the past is highly false and contagious. It astounds how certain law makers say “liberals” are trying to change us when this has always been the name of the game.

During the Reconstruction Era of the United States, it was the job of the Daughters of the Confederacy to lobby for history books to contort the truth about the Civil War. It is a commonly known fact that it was a strategic matter to call the brutal war, The Lost Cause. In South’s version of the Civil War, slaves were happy, peace and order abounded, and the war was really about states’ rights. In most Southern textbooks, slavery is mentioned in a small blurb and the Civil Rights Movement is reduced to a page that only talks about Martin Luther King, Jr. The Daughters of the Confederacy’s main goal was to educate their children and our children in the South’s “gallant” attempt to protect their ancestral heritage and way of life. However, we never discuss how children of color were and are made to believe someone else’s version of how their ancestors came to be in this country and the contribution they have given to build her up.

If this bill passes, it will signal an institutional pushback against a curriculum that would give a diverse voice and perspective to the American story that’s been told. The 1619 Project can be a tool to bridge understanding between people and their experiences. For schools to be penalized for working to expand the minds of their students and give credence to students who may feel invisible is a travesty. But this is America and usually what does not make sense is usually what happens.

Staff Writer; Jessieca Carr

One may connect with this sister online over at Instagramsusiecarmichael1920 and Twitternoladarling1920.

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