President Donald Trump threatened to defund schools in California that use the New York Times’ 1619 Project in the public school curriculum.
On Sunday Trump retweeted a message from an unverified account saying the project would be taught in schools and shared: ‘Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded!’
The Pulitzer-Prize winning collection of essays, photo essays, poems, and short and short fiction pieces published last year seeks to reframe American history as starting on 1619, when the first slaves from Africa arrived to Virginia, rather than 1776, when the founding fathers declared independence from Britain.
Trump’s comments come after he banned federal agencies from conducting racial sensitivity training related to ‘white privilege’ and ‘critical race theory’ on Friday.
Critical race theory asserts that ‘institutions are inherently racist and that race itself… is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of color’, according to Texas A&M University professor Tommy Curry.
Russell Bought, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, ordered heads of federal agencies to alter racial sensitivity training programs for employees in a two-page memo where he called such training ‘un-American propaganda.’
That memo said: ‘Employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend training where they are told that “virtually all White people contribute to racism” or where they are required to say that they “benefit from racism”‘.
He continues: ‘These types of “trainings” not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce.’
Vought subsequently states: ‘The President has directed me to ensure that federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions.’
The banning of the 1619 project is the latest effort by Trump against new progressive interpretations to history that he deems un-American.
Following the project’s publication the Pulitzer Center was named an education partner for the project and announced its education team would develop education resources and curricula for teachers to use, which is online for free through the center.
Some schools said they wanted to use the 1619 Project into their curriculum but some efforts have been thwarted.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican, introduced legislation that would ban schools from teaching the curriculum through the Saving American History Act of 2020.
The bill would ‘prohibit the use of federal funds to teach the 1619 Project by K-12 schools or school districts. Schools that teach the 1619 Project would also be ineligible for federal professional-development grants.’
The legislation is unlikely to gain any traction in the Senate but voices political opposition to the reframed history.
Trump has in the past defended Confederate statues, called the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ a symbol of hate, and threatened to withhold funding for liberal cities that saw civil unrest and protests decrying police brutality and racism.
He and Attorney General William Barr have said they don’t believe systemic racism exists in the US.
The 1619 project was an effort led by the New York Times and black writers to highlight the importance Afric….