Nikole Hannah-Jones, the leader of The New York Times' 1619 Project. Getty Images
Ryan P. Williams and Matthew J. Peterson
The project’s leader, Nikole Hannah-Jones, has tried to brush off the criticism of many distinguished historians by claiming that such disagreement is how historiography always proceeds — as we learn progressively more, a new “narrative” challenges old ones.
The 1619 Project, however, isn’t about new historical scholarship, and insofar as journalism is about the quest for truth, it isn’t quite journalism, either. As eminent scholars and stalwart liberals, such as Princeton University’s Sean Wilentz, have pointed out, the project makes utterly preposterous claims — above all, the notion that protecting slavery was a central motivation in launching the Revolutionary War and thus the American project.