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Nikole Hannah-Jones responds to Republican efforts to censor Project 1619

Nikole Hannah-Jones responded to a recent request from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Directed to the Secretary of Education to deny funding to schools that teach the findings of Project 1619 that she directed with The New York Times, which focused on slavery, anti-black racism, and the founding roles have both played throughout American history.

McConnell justified his call for censorship by arguing without merit that “American pride has plummeted to its lowest level in 20 years” and that the Pulitzer-winning Project 1619 and other reviews of racism throughout US history United subjects Americans to “a drumbeat of revisionism and negativity.” “

In a CNN interview on Monday, Hannah-Jones corrected McConnell and reiterated the intent of Project 2019, as stated in her introductory essay.

“In fact, what I’m saying is that despite everything this country has done to black Americans – black Americans have seen America’s worst, and yet still believe in its best,” she said. declared.

Hannah-Jones said McConnell’s effort to censor her project is a “free speech issue,” and said she was surprised more free speech advocates did not speak out against the effort. .

“It’s not about the facts of history – it’s about trying to ban the teaching of ideas that they don’t like,” she said.

McConnell is not the first conservative voice to try to censor the project. Nikole Hannah-Jones’ idea – uplifting non-whites who contributed to American democracy – runs counter to American conservatism, which exists to consolidate power among a declining number of white elites.

Former President Donald Trump, who targeted black women journalists and media figures to inspire vitriol among conservatives, helped steer the outrage of white conservatives towards Hannah-Jones, a black woman and renowned education journalist.

At the height of last year’s presidential campaign, Trump threatened to cut funding for schools that were using the project to help teach students. A wave of Republicans across the country tried to institute similar bans on the program.

Project 1619 uses written essays, videos, and photographs to examine the ways anti-black racism has permeated American culture since the first enslaved Africans were landed over 400 years ago, and discusses the love of black Americans for the United States despite this. treatment. Together, the included pieces form a counter-narrative, written largely by blacks, that contradicts racist interpretations by white Americans about the birth of the United States.

“I was taught at school, by cultural osmosis, that the flag was not really ours, that our history as a people began with slavery and that we had contributed little to this great nation” , wrote Hannah-Jones in the essay introduction to the 1619 project. More than any other group in the history of this country, we have served, generation after generation, in a neglected but vital role: it is we who have been the perfecters of this democracy.


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