Institute for Historical Studies – Monday February 14, 2022
Notes from the Director
The 1619 Project has attracted a lot of attention. Some historians have been critical of what they see as factual errors in the original manifesto. Some historians, for example, have questioned The 1619 Project’s representation of independence from Britain as a social movement aimed at supporting and maintaining slavery (the focus of the critique of historians like Harris, Oates, Wilentz, and Wood, among others).
But is the debate really about “facts”? At its core, The 1619 Project offers a critique to the narrative of progressive expansion of the franchise and freedom. The 1619 Project, it seems, challenges the very category of Black History “Month”: Black history cannot neatly be rent from the larger fabric of US history.
The Institute for Historical Studies has invited senior U.S. historians to explore these questions: In which ways is The 1619 Project an alternative narrative to the mainstream of U.S. historiography? Does the narrative arc of U.S. history ultimately bend in the direction of justice? Does The 1619 Project incorporate the struggles of other racial groups into its new, baseline narrative? How so, or how not?