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Nikole Hannah-Jones

“Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact 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.” --

Nikole Hannah-Jones is the founder of the New York Times 1619 project. She is reviled by white supremacists for having called into questions things like the motivation for the declaration of independence from abolitionist England. A solid body of evidence points to how the South felt that England was going to end slavery and so they joined the Puritan northerners to achieve independence.

As a result, white supremacists such as Fox News, the Daily Mail, and others have seized on a long forgotten article Hannah-Jones wrote in 2008 (The Cuba We Don't Know  9/27/2008 Oregon Live) where she praised the Cuban government for the low rates of HIV and high levels of education among other factually non-controversial items at that time. And they dredged up a small portion of an obscure 2019 Vox podcast (Nikole Hannah-Jones on the 1619 project, choosing schools, and Cuba) to show that she thought Cuba had done the most of any country in the hemisphere in terms of fighting racism. The US far right, now the mainstream right, is eager to racialize every topic they can, which in this case could have unforseen consequences.


Nikole Hannah-Jones said Cuba ‘most equal’ Western country in podcast  7/19/2021 NY Post: "New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who led the publication’s controversial “1619 Project,” claimed Cuba is the “most equal” country in the Western Hemisphere in a newly resurfaced podcast, sparking fresh criticism from conservatives online. Hannah-Jones made the eyebrow-raising comments about the Communist regime in a 2019 chat with Ezra Klein, the National Post reported last week."

1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones sparks outrage with unearthed 2019 podcast saying communist Cuba is among the 'least racist' countries in the world because socialism means the 'least inequality'  7/19/2021 Daily Mail: "She said that while not claiming to be an expert on international race relations she thought Cuba to be among the most 'equal' and 'multiracial' country in the western hemisphere due to its socialist society. 'The most equal multi-racial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba,' she began." [With link to portion of Vox interview on Cuba]

1619 Project founder believes Cuba has 'the least inequality' and has brought about the 'end of codified racism'  7/16/2021 The Post Millenial: ""The most equal multi-racial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba. Cuba has the least inequality between black and white people anyplace really in the hemisphere. I mean, the Caribbean, most of the Caribbean it's hard to count because the white population in a lot of those countries is very, very small. A lot of those countries are run by black folks. But in places that are truly at least biracial countries, Cuba actually has the least inequality. And that's largely due to socialism—which I'm sure no one wants to hear," Hannah-Jones continued."

LISTEN: 1619 Founder Believes America Should Follow Cuban Path.  7/13/2021 National Pulse: "1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones claimed that “largely due to socialism” Cuba had the “least inequality between black and white people” while speaking on a Vox podcast in 2019."

Seven months later, 1619 Project leader admits she got it wrong  3/12/2020 Washington Examiner: "The head of the New York Times’s much-hyped 1619 Project concedes she got it wrong when she reported that “one of the primary reasons” the colonists revolted against England was to preserve the institution of slavery. Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones claims now that she meant to say “some of” the colonists fought to preserve slavery, not all of them. The admission comes seven months after her faulty assertion first appeared in the New York Times’s package of essays arguing that America’s founding is defined by chattel slavery. The admission also comes after Hannah-Jones mocked and debased the many academics who directed mild and good-faith criticisms at her bogus statement."

Nikole Hannah-Jones on the 1619 project, choosing schools, and Cuba  12/1/2019 Vox Podcast: "Ezra Klein and Nikole Hannah-Jones discuss America's founding contradiction, racial segregation, capitalism and more."

The Cuba We Don't Know  9/27/2008 Oregon Live: "This summer I traveled to Cuba with six journalists, documenting the experiences of the African diaspora in the Western Hemisphere for the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies in North Carolina. While there, I found a Cuba you may not know. A Cuba with a 99.8 percent literacy rate, the lowest HIV infection rate in the Western Hemisphere, free college and health care."


New York TImes 1619 Project  (See also Slavery and the American Revolution)

The New York Times Presents The #1619Project
As Confederate Statues Come Down, It's Worth Remembering That the Civil War Wasn't the Only American Conflict Involving Slavery  6/22/2020 Time: "Three attorneys who dedicated their careers to American civil rights, in two separate books, have provided the basis for a fresh but compelling explanation for the American south to enter the American Revolution alongside their northern brothers: A. Leon Higginbotham Jr.’s 1978 In the Matter of Color and 2005’s Slave Nation by Alfred W. and Ruth G. Blumrosen. These authors, whose work has more recently been cited by the New York Times’ 1619 Project, arrive at a single conclusion. The Southern colonies had no reason to put their lives, their families’ lives, their property and their legacy on the line until a single decision at the Court of King’s Bench in London on June 22, 1772, Somersett v. Steuart, often seen written as Somerset v. Stewart."

I Helped Fact-Check the 1619 Project. The Times Ignored Me.  3/6/2020 Politico: "It is easy to correct facts; it is much harder to correct a worldview that consistently ignores and distorts the role of African Americans and race in our history in order to present white people as all powerful and solely in possession to the keys of equality, freedom and democracy. At least that is the corrective history toward which the 1619 Project is moving, if imperfectly."

1619 Project Fact-Checker Says The New York Times Ignored Her Objections  3/6/2020 Reason: "Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies. Lord Dunmore's Proclamation, a British military strategy designed to unsettle the Southern Colonies by inviting enslaved people to flee to British lines, propelled hundreds of enslaved people off plantations and turned some Southerners to the patriot side. It also led most of the 13 Colonies to arm and employ free and enslaved black people, with the promise of freedom to those who served in their armies."

The Fight Over the 1619 Project  2/9/2020 The Bulwark: "Revisionist claims of such a backlash rely heavily either on apparent speculation—the Blumrosens’ 2005 book, Slave Nation, is particularly egregious in this respect, discussing at some length how “slave owners and their lawyers react[ed]” without citing a single source—or on disturbingly out-of-context citations."

We Respond to the Historians Who Critiqued The 1619 Project  12/20/2019 NYT: "The work of various historians, among them David Waldstreicher and Alfred W. and Ruth G. Blumrosen, supports the contention that uneasiness among slaveholders in the colonies about growing antislavery sentiment in Britain and increasing imperial regulation helped motivate the Revolution. One main episode that these and other historians refer to is the landmark 1772 decision of the British high court in Somerset v. Stewart. The case concerned a British customs agent named Charles Stewart who bought an enslaved man named Somerset and took him to England, where he briefly escaped. Stewart captured Somerset and planned to sell him and ship him to Jamaica, only for the chief justice, Lord Mansfield, to declare this unlawful, because chattel slavery was not supported by English common law."

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