1619 and the Narrative of Despair

Shackles used to bind slaves on display at the Whitney Plantation in Wallace, La., in 2015. (Edmund Fountain/Reuters)
A Pulitzer Prize goes to a work of oversimplified, distorted history.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE O n August 14, 2019, the New York Times Magazine dropped something of a historical bombshell on its readers. It was not some new conspiracy theory about the Kennedy assassination or some breathtaking revelation of the secret life of Millard Fillmore. It was much more dramatic. It was called “The 1619 Project,” and it consumed an entire special 100-page issue of the magazine. It also aimed at nothing less than a complete overhaul of how we understand American history. It did not, however, meet with entire agreement by American historians: At least two very diverse groups of American historians and political

Allen C. Guelzo — Mr. Guelzo is the Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University.


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