Campus Reform | U Oregon’s 1619 Project common read 'aims to reframe' US history

U Oregon’s 1619 Project common read 'aims to reframe' US history

The University of Oregon selected the New York Times' controversial 1619 Project as its common read.

At least 92 percent of incoming students participate in the common read, which "aims to reframe the country's history..."

Article image

The University of Oregon has dedicated the school year to “Combating Racism," introducing as the fall Common Reading Program the New York Times Magazine’s controversial 1619 Project, which "aims 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."

In an effort to encourage students to learn about “Blackness and Black experience,” the theme of this year's common reading program is “Listen, Learn, Act” which, as the University’s website explains, was decided in response to police-involved shootings over the summer.

"The killing of Black men and women; the history of racism in our country, state, and university; the unkept promises and continued impact of systemic racism; and the current iteration of Black Lives Matter and its awareness by the general public have given rise to new fights and demands in an ages-long struggle." the website states.

According to the university's website, around 92 percent of incoming students participate in the common reading through one of their classes, residence halls, or other settings.

[RELATED: Calls to revoke New York Times 1619 Project's Pulitzer fall on deaf ears]

The website says that the university chose the 1619 Project "in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and requests from campus colleagues."

The 1619 Project, however, has faced criticism for asserting that preserving slavery was one of the main reasons for the American Revolution. The National Association of Scholars says that this is "a claim for which there is simply no evidence.”

The common reading page highlights different minors that the university is now offering that are related to "Black and Latinx cultures," including a new Latinx studies minor and a Black studies minor.

[RELATED: Poll shows support for teaching history of racism, prof claims it shows support for 1619 Project]

In 2019, the university's common read was Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena María Viramontes. The book "explores interrelated topics of farm labor, health care, material resources, and environmental justice," according to the school's website.

Campus Reform reached out to the University of Oregon. In response, the Common Reading Student Coordinator provided links to the above information. 

The director of the program did not respond in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article: Emily Kokot