The Daily Princetonian Publishes Article Summarizing Ongoing 1619 Project Debate

Historians in the News
tags: historians, history wars, 1619 Project

University professors James McPherson and Sean Wilentz were two of the five historians who sent a letter to The New York Times in December requesting corrections to its 1619 Project, igniting debates in the national media and on Twitter over the role of slavery in American history.

The 1619 Project, published by The New York Times Magazine, aimed 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 project began with a 100-page spread of essays, photos, poetry, and fiction published in Aug. 2019 — what the magazine called the “400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery.” 

Some scholars, such as University professor emeritus Nell Irvin Painter, critiqued that claim. When asked for comment, Painter deferred to her previous remarks.

In their letter, the five historians called the project’s assertion that a primary reason behind the American Revolution was colonists’ desire to protect slavery “not true” and its treatment of Lincoln’s views on black equality “misleading.” They also disputed the project’s arguments about the connections between slavery and modern capitalism, as well as its allegation that, “For the most part, black Americans fought back alone.”

Furthermore, they contended that the sources consulted in the project’s research and the historical vetting process were “opaque.”

Read entire article at The Daily Princetonian