At a time of racial tension across our state and nation, when one would think our institutions would be trying to calm things down and create bridges, the leadership at UNC-Chapel Hill has thrown gas on the fire.
Inflammatory New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones has joined the faculty of UNC-Chapel Hill as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism in its Hussman School of Journalism in Media starting in July.
Ms. Hannah-Jones is known for covering civil rights and racial injustice for the Times, and introducing the newspaper’s “The 1619 Project” in August, 2019 for which she won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.
The 1619 Project’s name refers to the 400th anniversary of the arrival of slaves in Virginia. The Federalist.com describes Ms. Hannah-Jones’ work succinctly: “The purpose of this historian-free history of America was to refocus the American story by centering it on slavery. The idea was that 1619, the year the first chattel slaves arrived is the date of America’s founding, not the traditional 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.”
They went on to say: “This re-dating of the founding of the United States only makes sense if we accept an ahistorical claim that slavery was a major reason colonists split with England.”
Criticism of Hannah-Jones’s assertions has come from renowned historians from across the country. Esteemed American Revolution and colonial historian Gordon Wood of Brown University criticized the piece, especially Hannah-Jones’ assertion that “one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.” (For a fascinating interview with Dr. Wood on the 1619 Project’s misguidance, read this.)
Another revered historian calling out Hannah-Jones for her historical recklessness was Leslie M. Harris, from Northwestern University, whose teaching field is “the history of slavery in New York City, on slavery, gender and sexuality in the Antebellum South, and on the historiography of slavery in the United States.” Dr. Harris wrote an opinion piece called: “I Helped Fact-Check the 1619 Project. The Times Ignored Me.”
- “Its racial essentialism, refusing to acknowledge the biracial struggle against slavery and discrimination.
- Its repudiation of the revolutionary ideals of liberty and equality, and failure to recognize that U.S. history has involved an ongoing, incomplete struggle about whether this country will live up to its founding ideals.
- Its demonization of the motives of the American revolutionaries and of Abraham Lincoln’s attitudes toward slavery and racial equality.
- Its reliance of slavery’s role as the sole cause for America’s wealth accumulation and economic growth.”
Hannah-Jones has a history of speaking out on race. According to the Federalist.com, Hannah-Jones wrote in the student newspaper when attending Notre Dame University that “the white race is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world” – and other things we won’t write here.
But now she will be back in Chapel Hill, teaching young journalists revisionist history. (Hannah-Jones has a tie to UNC, receiving her Masters from UNC-CH in 2003. According to Wikipedia, she worked as a reporter at the Raleigh News & Observer for the next three years after that, covering education issues.)
The Federalist.com opined that Hannah-Jones will be “coaching students to ‘practice the type of journalism that is truly reflective of our multicultural nation’.” And that “those practices, evidenced by her signature project at the New York Times, will likely focus on the promotion of critical race theory as a new secular religion.”
What was the leadership at UNC thinking? This lady is an activist reporter – not a teacher. But the 1619 Project has somehow taken on a life of its own as a historical piece –which is an academic travesty when you consider its flawed conjectures.
Senior Fellow for the Heritage Foundation Mike Gonzalez, wrote last year that the 1619 Project is a curriculum that is sweeping the land and will “accelerate a trend already underway: subjecting schoolchildren to a curriculum that blames slavery on capitalism and whose creator believes socialism offers the best path to racial equity.”
He points out that since the 1619 Project’s unveiling, 4500 classrooms across the country have embraced it as a curriculum with “tens of thousands of students in all 50 states engaged with the curricular resources, which include reading guides, lesson plans, and extension activities.
Here in North Carolina, RJ Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem has embraced it. Wake County Schools is addressing the Critical Race Theory, and holding training sessions for teachers to deal with “equity” issues.
So we expect Nikole Hannah-Jones will make an impact when she hits North Carolina. Rev. William Barber moved on to greener climes in DC. His replacement – Nikole Hannah-Jones — arrives in July.
As the EdFirstNC.org article said: “Hannah-Jones’ willingness to abandon journalistic ethics like honesty and objectivity to achieve a political end should have given UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media pause.” But that’s not the case.
UNC has once again reared its liberal head, gone beyond being “woke,” and brought a firebrand activist into our state who will be driving her race-based view of the world into her students – at our taxpayer-funded university.
And – even worse – her 1619 Project’s tenets, of which a major part is the Critical Race Theory, will be driven into our state’s school curriculum where our children will be taught her beliefs every day.
They can’t get up and leave if they disagree. They must sit there and accept her beliefs if they’re to get a good grade. Think about that.