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Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, praised the controversial 1619 Project and its author Nikole Hannah-Jones during a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day address at the University of Michigan two years ago.
In a January 2020 talk, titled “Black Women Leaders In The Civil Rights Movement Era And Beyond,” Jackson described Hannah-Jones as an “acclaimed investigative journalist” and highlighted Hannah-Jones’ “provocative” claim. Jones that “the America which was born in 1776 was not the perfect union it claimed to be.”
A transcript of the conference was published Thursday by The Daily Wire.
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“[A]Renowned investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones (who happens to be a black woman) explains that the men who wrote and signed into law the Constitution founded this nation on certain ideals: freedom; equality; democracy,” Jackson said at the time. “Yet by the time they formulated these principles, the institution of slavery had already existed in the colonies – since the year 1619, when 20 to 30 Africans who had been captured in their homeland arrived in the colonies by boat and were exchanged for goods.
“Jones further underscores the irony of the situation when she notes that at the very time that Thomas Jefferson was writing the plain truths of the Declaration of Independence, a black relative – a slave – had been brought into his office for the serve,” Jackson continued.
She added: “So it is Jones’ provocative thesis that the America that came into existence in 1776 was not the perfect union it claimed to be, and that it was in fact only because of the hard work, struggles and sacrifices of African Americans over the past two centuries that the United States finally became the free nation that the Framers had originally touted.”
Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project at The New York Times Magazine is an ongoing initiative to “reframe the nation’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize last year for her commentary on the project and was named to TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” list.
Historians have flagged the project for incorrect statements and interpretations. Five academic historians signed a letter claiming that the 1619 Project was wrong about several elements of the story, including a claim that the Revolutionary War was fought to preserve slavery. The Times defended the project.
The Daily Wire found that Jackson, who would replace retired Justice Stephen Breyer if confirmed by the Senate, has “repeatedly embraced champions of critical race theory (CRT)” in recent years.
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During the same 2020 talk, Jackson cited the late Derrick Bell, whose work influenced the creation of CRT, and said his 1993 book, “Faces At The Bottom Of The Well: The Permanence Of Racism,” was an important part of his childhood.
If confirmed, Jackson, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, would become the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Fox News’ Kyle Morris contributed to this report.