The 1619 Project is one of the most controversial pieces of writing in recent memory. It has been heavily criticized by historians, academics, and other experts for its false histories and rewriting of factual events. It’s also been called out for its promotion of Critical Race Theory, which has been pushed in public schools and universities across the country.
The project was created by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and is now being adapted into a docu-series on Hulu. ABC’s Good Morning America recently interviewed Hannah-Jones about the project, with co-anchor Robin Roberts eagerly praising her work.
During the fluffy interview, Hannah-Jones admitted that the documentary gets around the ban of Critical Race Theory in the classroom. Insinuating that teachers can suggest or perhaps require, student’s watch the show outside of the classroom.
Unfortunately, that praise came without any acknowledgment of the project’s many flaws and inaccuracies. Roberts seemed to be more concerned with promoting Hannah-Jones’s revisionist history than actually looking into it. She praised the project for being “groundbreaking” and for being “for everyone,” without giving any thought to the fact that it was largely debunked by historians.
This is especially concerning considering that Hannah-Jones is pushing for the project to be included in school curriculums across the country. Roberts, who is a co-anchor of a major morning news show, should have taken the time to accurately inform her viewers of the project’s many issues. Instead, she declined to mention any criticism and ended the segment by letting Hannah-Jones have the final word: “Truth.”
The 1619 Project is a blatant attempt to rewrite history, and the fact that it’s being promoted on major networks without any acknowledgement of its flaws is extremely concerning. It’s dangerous to allow false information to be spread unchecked, and it’s up to journalists like Robin Roberts to make sure that the truth is always brought to light.
ROBERTS: We going to turn now to my conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-jones, whose The New York Times best-selling book The 1619 Project is about to debut as a docu-series. And just like the book, Nikole says the series is a show for everyone.
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NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES: I feel excited and I feel anxious. You never know how something will go out into the world but I know how hard we worked on it.
ROBERTS: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-jones is back again with her most ambitious endeavor yet.
HANNAH-JONES: As a woman in my 40s, I am part of the first generation of black Americans in the history of the United States to be born in a society in which black people have full rights and citizenship.
ROBERTS: Hosting a new Hulu original docu-series adapted from her landmark The New York Times magazine anthology and best-selling book, The 1619 Project.
HANNAH-JONES: The very first enslaved Africans were brought here over 400 years ago. Since then, no part of America’s story has been untouched by the legacy of slavery.
ROBERTS: You feel that in all aspects of American — of who we are.
ROBERTS: It can be traced back and has the remnants of slavery? Do you think that’s something that people will understand with this series?
HANNAH-JONES: Absolutely, I mean, that is what the series argues, so it’s not just a historical documentary, it’s actually a documentary about contemporary society.
ROBERTS: Jones traveling across the country sharing the stories of everyday people from all walks of life.
HANNAH-JONES: We follow real-life Americans as, you know, the unionization fight with Amazon workers in Alabama and New York. We follow a black mother who lost one of her twins she was pregnant with because of racism in health care.
[From series] In about 22 weeks, things started to physically change for you.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I’m in pain. I can’t walk down a flight of steps or up a flight of steps. I can’t walk down a block. And she’s aware of all those things and still doesn’t make her check me further.
ROBERTS: What resonated with you most?
HANNAH-JONES: What resonated with me most is just the enduring spirit of black people in this country.
ROBERTS: The thought-provoking series also introducing viewers to Jones and her family on a personal level.
HANNAH-JONES: My father, he always flew a flag in our front yard. One thing about dad, he was patriotic.
UNIDENTIFED MAN: He was part of that United States Army. They served their country. But hey, you served your country, don’t mean your country gonna serve you.
ROBERTS: And although the show is told through the lens of black Americans, Jones says this is something for all Americans to watch and reflect on.
HANNAH-JONES: This is the American story. We’ve tried to segregate these histories, there’s black history and then there’s American history. But you can’t understand America if you don’t understand the role of black Americans, the role of slavery, the role of racism.
ROBERTS: Premiering at a time when heated debates about how history is taught in our children’s schools are erupting across the nation. Just last week, the Florida Board of Education made headlines after it rejected the addition of an advanced placement African American studies course.
HANNAH-JONES: This medium of television is democratizing. You can ban what someone can learn in a classroom but you can’t stop them from watching this documentary series and getting that information. So, I think it is really coming at a critical time.
ROBERTS: One word to describe, okay, if I say, The 1619 Project is —
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ROBERTS: And from the moment The 1619 Project hit the shelves, it has become Nikole’s life’s work. She also told me she’s truly loving her time now at Howard University where she’s teaching classes once a week in her tenured position there. Nikole has also advocated for her work and similar journalism to be included in school’s history curriculums across the country and says those who disagree have not kept her from continuing her work.
And she makes it abundantly clear that she wants this to be in addition to, not in replace of what is being taught.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah. She didn’t hesitate at all on that one word.
ROBERTS: I know! She is so thoughtful in how she responds to things. But yes, yeah. And The 1619 Project premieres tomorrow on Hulu.
Erica Carlin is an independent journalist, opinion writer and contributor to several news and opinion sources. She is based in Georgia.