The Counternarrative to the 1619 Project

Red, White, and Black is a collection of essays published under the aegis of 1776 Unites, the “radically pragmatic and unapologetically patriotic” initiative launched last year by the Woodson Center, a forty-year old Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit. The book’s aggressive subtitle, “Rescuing American History from Revisionists and Race Hustlers,” makes clear its uncompromising editorial stance. The authors did not set out to engage in a polite colloquy but to respond forcefully to today’s dominant narrative about race in America, one advanced most visibly by the New York Times’s 1619 Project, which famously argued that the nation’s “true founding” was marked by the arrival of first enslaved Africans 400 years ago and which sought to “reframe the country's history” by placing the consequences of slavery at the very center of our national narrative. The mission statement of 1776 Unites leads the collection and stands as a cri de coeur for the essays that follow, authored mostly by Black intellectuals, journalists, and entrepreneurs: “We acknowledge that racial discrimination exists—and work towards diminishing it. But we dissent from contemporary groupthink and rhetoric about race, class, and American history.” Indeed, they do. And how.

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