“The 1619 Project” enters American classrooms

When New York Times correspondent Nikole Hannah-Jones won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary for an article she published about blacks and the ideal of America, her own newspaper reported, “The essay was published on Aug. 14, and the magazine issue gained public attention immediately, with copies selling out and educators around the country teaching The 1619 Project.” That the Pulitzer was for “commentary” rather than history, national reporting, or some other more empirically anchored category generated some amusement in competing newsrooms.

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Most American of all? Or, both for better and for worse, just as American as anybody else? If there’s a bottom line to the story of The 1619 Project, it’s that in its lack of care with history, conflicted attitude toward capitalism, and embrace of celebrity and of identity politics, the venture seems less about perfecting America than about embodying some of its more exasperating and less constructive contemporary ailments.

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