Sen. Tom Cotton proposes bill to defund New York Times' 1619 Project curricula

Sen. Tom Cotton introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of federal funds to teach the New York Times 1619 Project.

Schools are seeking to incorporate the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project into their curricula, even though the project has been debunked by some historians.

Legislation proposed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) would prevent schools from using federal funds to teach the New York Times 1619 Project. 

The bill, titled the “Saving American History Act of 2020,” looks to require the Secretaries of Education, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture to prohibit schools from tapping federal funds to teach the 1619 Project in their curricula. Cotton describes the 1619 Project as an “activist movement” that’s “gaining momentum to deny or obfuscate this history by claiming that America was not founded on the ideals of the Declaration but rather on slavery and oppression.” 

"The 1619 Project is a racially divisive, revisionist account of history that denies the noble principles of freedom and equality on which our nation was founded. Not a single cent of federal funding should go to indoctrinate young Americans with this left-wing garbage,” he said. 

[RELATED: New York Times published false claim on America's founding. This history professor called its bluff.]

Multiple historians have criticized the 1619 Project, an initiative undertaken by the New York Times which strives to “reframe the country’s history” by suggesting that America’s founding date took place in 1619, the year when a group of slaves was brought to Jamestown, Va., and not 1776. The Wall Street Journal quotes Pulitzer Prize winners and historians Gordon Wood and James McPherson as calling the project “so wrong in so many ways” and an “unbalanced, one-sided account,” respectively. 

Additionally, as Campus Reform previously reported, a writer for the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, reached out to Northwestern University history professor Leslie Harris for a fact-check of her essay prior to its publication. Harris uncovered an inaccurate claim in Hannah-Jones’s reporting, but the New York Times published the essay anyway. 

In May, the Pulitzer Prize Board awarded Hannah-Jones the 2020 Award in Commentary for the essay.

[RELATED: Prof slams school choice advocate as ‘white nationalist troll’ for criticizing debunked ‘1619 Project’ essay]

Dan Gainor, Vice President for MRC TechWatch, previously told Campus Reform that the 1619 Project “wasn’t about history, it was about rewriting history. Journalism doesn’t really deliver news now; it delivers narrative. To the Left elite like The Times, there’s no narrative they want to destroy more than American exceptionalism.” 

“If America had been more evil from the founding, then everything it created must be destroyed - the Founders, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, religious freedom, gun rights - everything Americans hold dear,” Gainor said. “That’s why the author for the Times didn’t listen about the errors. The actual truth of American history isn’t the narrative that the Times cares to report.”

According to Cotton, schools in Chicago; Newark, N.J;  Buffalo, N.Y., and Washington, D.C. all plan to offer programs related to the 1619 Project. 

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