Debunking The 1619 Project – The Legacy Of Slavery – Do you wonder what the 1619 project is all about? Or have you even heard of it? Whatever position you find yourself in, tune in to hear more!
Air Date: 05/18/2020
Guest: Ken Blackwell
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
This is WallBuilders Live, you have joined the intersection of faith and the culture. This is the place where we talk about whatever the hottest topics of the day are from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton is a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach.
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We have a lot of different action items that we give our listeners here on this program. And we’re proud to say that most of our guests typically say, man, we get more phone calls and more action from your program than virtually any other program we’re on throughout the country. So, thank you, listeners. Thank you for being people of action. Thank you for being good citizens that participate in the process. We’re going to dive into an interesting topic today. It’s a little bit different from where we’ve been going with all the COVID crackdowns and dealing with those constitutional issues that are right in front of us right now.
But let’s take a break and look at an issue that is causing a lot of division in the country and we need a good biblical, historical and constitutional perspective on it. Alright, David, Tim, later in the program, our good friend Ken Blackwell is going to be with us. We’re going to be talking about a topic, I didn’t even know this was going on. But apparently, it’s really permeating a lot of the education circles out there, something called the 1619 Project. What do you guys know about this?
Yeah, so the New York Times, gosh, at this point, I don’t know how many weeks months ago it was when they came out. And they want to do a project to cover the history of America and how America was born and birth off of slavery. And really, the whole idea was done to tarnish and taint America, even more so than what a lot of academics and a lot of textbooks already do. And the idea was to show that everything that could be celebrated about America really shouldn’t be celebrated. Because those things only were birthed off of slavery. So, American exceptionalism or entrepreneurship, or capitalism, or you kind of go down the list, all of these things that would seemingly be positive were birth off of slavery and therefore, they are tarnished and they’re not good things.
So, capitalism really isn’t good, because it was the white man oppressing the black man trying to get rich etc, etc, etc. They even have an article insert that shows that you shouldn’t even eat a candy bar, because candy came or was kind of produced from some of the sugar that was taken from sugar plantations that was because of slaves. So, the only reason you have candy is because of slaves and it just goes on and on and on.
And this is what they are now trying to use. There’s a curriculum being written based off of this project. Now, there’s already professors, there’s already teachers that are implementing this into their core curriculum looking at America. And so, it’s just another way to tarnish America saying how bad America is. It’s also worth noting. When the New York Times was working on this project, they asked several professors. And presumably these were very liberal professors, some of them we know were. We don’t know all of the people that were asked to be advisors. But we’ve heard from some of the liberal professors who came out afterwards and said, look, they did a very bad job at telling this story. There’s a lot of historical, kind of malpractice and fees in this because they’re being very dishonest. And we told them, this was very dishonest and this was inaccurate. And this is the liberal professors that are saying this about the New York Times 1619 Project.
And because it was going to change the narrative that the New York Times wanted to have about America, they disregarded these liberal professors who even they acknowledge this was historically inaccurate. One of the arguments that came from the 1619 movement was that the reason the founding fathers fought the American Revolution was to preserve the institution of slavery. Which if you remember reading the declaration, which is the listing of the grievances of the reason we separate from Great Britain, preserving slavery was not on the list. That was not the reason we separated from Great Britain.
Actually, there was one on the list that said, we want to separate because the king won’t let us end the slave trade.
Well, Jefferson’s original draft, right, he was saying that we want to end slavery, the king won’t let us and then Jefferson acknowledged that there were a couple southern states who said, no, we’re not trying to end slavery. And John Hancock had said, we want this Declaration to be unanimous. And so, anything that was disagreed upon in that regard was removed from the Declaration, so that grievance was removed. But the point is, the argument the Founding Fathers fought the revolution to preserve slavery is ludicrous, because many of the founding fathers had already freed their slaves, many had never owned slaves and many were fighting in the abolition movement to end slavery in America. So, they certainly weren’t fighting to preserve slavery.
But this is where the project has kind of been birthed, the 1619 Project. It’s very degrading to America. It is just another voice perpetuating the myth that America is evil, that it was born on evil, it was birth doing evil. The things that presumably, you would celebrate in America shouldn’t be celebrated, because, right, I mean, capitalism. Even candy should be viewed as evil because of slavery, I mean just so many ludicrous things. And in the midst of this, there certainly is no balanced voice giving more details to the story that it’s fact checking the story.
We acknowledge on this program that America is not a perfect nation, the Founding Fathers were not perfect. And there actually were some guys who had really bad views on racism in the founding era. There were some founding fathers who were racist and we acknowledge that. That’s just not the majority of the Founding Fathers. That’s not the general view from the founding era or in any of the founding documents. But that’s kind of the overview of the 1619 projects.
Quick break, guys. David, I know this has been one, you know, WallBuilders has had to answer for years and I think explained more clearly than most people what the true history of America is and of course, slavery being a part of that, but given the good, the bad and the ugly, not just the bad, the ugly. So, very interested to hear what you have to say about that. Stay with us, folks, we right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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We’re back here on WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us. And we’re talking about the 1619 project. And it really opens up this question guys of educating Americans on the history of America, including the history of slavery in America and getting the right perspective on that.
Well, we’re putting the finishing touches on a book right now that will come out in the next couple of months, we believe. And that book really addresses this question pretty much in depth. And as part of what we did with that book, we went back and look specifically at the individual Founding Fathers, the 55 at the Constitutional Convention, the 56 who signed the Declaration, etc. Where were they on this issue? Because if you listen to the tone of the New York Times, they all got involved to perpetuate slavery.
So generally, what we find is about one-fourth of the Founding Fathers, maybe were pro-slavery, but about three-fourths were not and some guys just don’t have a record. I mean, there’s just nothing written about them or their papers burned or they didn’t own slaves or they did or whatever. But of the ones we’ve been able to research, it’s overwhelming that they were on the other side, which is why some of the very first constitutions written by the early states, Massachusetts and its original Constitution banned slavery in the state. By the time, we had the first federal census, there was not a single slave in the State. I mean, you can look at things like that.
But see, really what this goes to, Rick, is think about the cultural impact. If you go through a curriculum that all you do is point out that everything in America is a result of slavery and none of it should be celebrated, what does that do for your cultural perspective of America? What does that do for the policies you want in America?
And let me give you an example. I’m going to take a parallel example from something that happened back in 2014. When the AP US history standards came out, those standards came out for kids that were going through the final course they will go through in high school and college unless they’re history majors, 460,000 kids a year. And when they got to World War Two…
And you mean the final course on American history?
On American history, that’s right. Final course on American history. And when it got to World War Two, it did not mention Hitler, it did not mention the Japanese, it did not mention the Holocaust, it did not mention any of the slaughter that went on. But it did mention that American dropped an atomic bomb and said that raised questions about our values.
Yes, for all of the World War Two standards that were four paragraphs, in those four paragraphs, they talked about some of the difficulties of war, the American machine of being able to get production assembly lines. But they said, also, there were problems in America, because you had civil rights issues, because you’re the internment of Japanese. The Americans dropped the atomic bombs in Japan, which raised questions about American values. And as you’re mentioning, right, there’s no mention of Eisenhower or Patton or Nimitz or I mean, guys, military leaders, we should celebrate, Douglas MacArthur, there was no mention of the villains.
No mention of D day, the liberation of Europe. No, mention of Iwo Jima. No mention of all the things that happened where we liberated the world literally.
Yeah, Pearl Harbor where it all started. And right, so I think the point where you’re going is the problem is if this is the only thing you had, these are the only standards and kids had to memorize this information because they’re going to be tested on, if what you had to learn was that America did things that make you question American values and you didn’t learn about the Holocaust, you didn’t learn about the Pacific theater and some of what the Japanese did to prisoners of war and various things, some of their ways of war, they’re executing of the Chinese, etc. if you didn’t learn about these other nations that we were fighting against and what they did, it’s possible that you went through this US history class, coming out thinking that America was one of the bad guys of World War Two, because the only bad things you studied were the bad things America did.
And granted, some of the things, yeah, America had some issues and there’s no doubt about it. And America will continue to have issues, because there’s people in America and people always have issues. So, there’s no doubt, it has been sin in America’s past, there will likely be sin in our future, because again, that’s what people do. But to imagine that America was the bad guy from World War Two is ludicrous, but that’s a little bit what the 1619 project has done. And kind of painting the story of America without giving the context of world history, without giving the context of cultures, without giving the context of even different colonies and there were different tones and different attitudes and different colonies. Without context, you don’t understand how miss-portrayed some of the story is
And going back to that World War Two example with American history standards, if you don’t talk about what Germany did, if you don’t talk about what Italy did, if you don’t talk about what Japan did and only talk about the bad things America did, then what’s your image? Well, go to the 1619 project. The only nation mentioned dealing with slavery in the 1619 project is America. Now, let’s point out that of the world slave trade, 2.4% of slaves came to America from Africa, other nations 46% went to Brazil and went to Portugal. Why not mentioned them? Why not mention that right now today, 94 nations in the world still allow slavery today? Why not mention that there are 40 million slaves in the world today? That’s four times more than came across the Atlantic slave trade. But they don’t do that. All they do is focus on that 2.4% that came to America. They don’t even show the anti-slavery movement that was here. And so, you come out with a bad image and that will affect your policy in what you are going to do to America in the future.
So, that perspective is interesting that in looking at this, Ken Blackwell, a great friend of ours, actually, a great black civil rights voice for a number of years has done some writing on this and he has a very interesting perspective. And so, this Ken just got a voice in a perspective that needs to be heard. And he quite literally can say things that, Rick, you, me, Tim, we can’t say from the perspective and the experience, we just don’t have the experience that he has had and that he’s been through. Because he did go through a lot of the civil rights movement. He’s seen a lot of the bias and a lot of quite frankly, personally the racism. But he’s a great voice and he has a great perspective. So, Ken Blackwell will be good about this. And by the way, if you don’t know him, he was the mayor of Cincinnati. He was a US ambassador. He was a Dallas Cowboy. It means he’s a well-known name in the political and athletic arenas. And so, a really good guy to look at this with his experience and background.
Stay with us, folks, we’re talking about the 1619 Project. Ken Blackwell. Our special guest when we returned our WallBuilders Live.
Hey friends, this Rick Green from WallBuilders Live and I have had so many requests about, what in the world could we be studying at home right now you know I got the kids at home, they’re normally in school? Or if you homeschool, you’re looking for additional material. One-Room Schoolhouse. It is a great new series WallBuilders is putting out where you literally get a tour of the WallBuilders library as Tim Barton and Jonathan Ritchie bring history to life. There’s a couple of resources on this.
You go to YouTube and search for WallBuilders and look for a One-Room Schoolhouse. You can go to our Facebook page and get it right there on Facebook as we do it live each Monday and sometimes additional days from there. And then you can also just go to wallbuilders.com, scroll down to the bottom and we’ll be posting the videos as they come out. This is such a great way to learn and a great way for you to share with others. Gather the family around, watch the One-Room Schoolhouse and learn some great history. It’ll be vitally important to restoring our nation and bringing back these principles that made America great in the first place. Check it out firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us today. Ken Blackwell is back with us, always good to have you, sir. Thanks for your work with Family Research Council, the work you’ve done in the past on so many levels, you’ve worn so many hats. I don’t know your heads got to be wary at some point.
You know, it’s good to be networked and it’s good to be involved and it’s good to be associated with folks like yourself and those in your listening audience.
Well, you serve on so many different levels right now. We appreciate your work, but very much so appreciate your perspective and the way that you defend the Constitution and freedom in our country. We need more like you. So anyway, thanks for your time today. We appreciate a few minutes and one of the projects you’ve been working on is responding to this 1619 project and I had not heard much about this And then when I started watching some videos on this and what they were saying, I mean, this really does kind of poison the well of American history and you’ve got some pretty strong feelings about it.
Absolutely. At a time when Americans need to be turning to one another, this 1619 Project is a wedge that is driven between people and is based on the notion that you’re frozen and a moment of history. As you know, Rick, history is a process. And you know, great nations are not the products of great government. They are the projects of good people doing great things together. And in 240 plus years, you know, we’ve gone from a country where you had the institution of slavery to a country where you, in fact, have black citizens in every walk of life and we’ve had a black American elected President of the United States. So, this notion advanced by the 1619 projects that we are forever scarred and limited in our ability to do good, because the institution of slavery once existed in America is just crazy. And it’s a program, is a way of thinking that perpetuates of victimhood and as opposed to looking at the creation and expansion of an opportunity society, this project is in the vanguard of advocating for the expansion of the welfare state.
You know, and it has a real effect and it affects every community. I mean, certainly like you said with the black community, it gives you that victim mindset with no matter what community you come from in America, it makes you really hate your own country. It makes you not have patriotism. It makes you believe that the values of your nation are not worth fighting for. And so, that really affects the attitude and now generations of Americans have had some of that in their education system. But this project really, really pushes that hard. How do you get all Americans to step back and look at these issues in the context of history and what was happening in the whole world at that time and the price that America paid for its participation in slavery and the fact that we did come out of it and like you said, now have the freest nation in the world?
Well, absolutely. And the reality is that you can’t be frozen in a moment. We can’t become a slave to that past moment in history and not understand that we have the capacity of doing better, of doing good. You know, Lincoln said it best. He said, you know, we’re not a perfect nation, but we are a perfectible nation, you know. So, we in fact, can make situations better and we have. You know, we’ve gone through decades and decades of change and creation of opportunity and we can’t afford a project like 1619 Project that just enslaves us to a past moment in history.
Amen. No doubt about it. Well, in teaching history is vitally important. Of course that’s what, you know, we’re not saying to ignore those things, right? We think we should teach the good, the bad, the ugly, you teach all of it, because you can learn from it. But it’s all about the perspective.
Absolutely. And particularly in this moment, where we as a nation are being, you know, hit it from all points, we have China, we have Iran, you know, we in fact, have the radical Left, you know. This is a time as I’ve mentioned before where we should be turning to one another, you know. We cannot afford this division. And that’s why I’m always proud of and eager to engage with organizations and individuals that are not about, you know, division and subtraction, but about multiplication and addition.
What do you recommend to folks in terms of studying this time in history, to have a broader perspective and see the whole picture?
Well, I think it really does start with engaging with one another and honest dialogue. And understanding that we can be as a country forward looking. We are, factually, the most diverse, the most prosperous society in all of world history. That is a case [inaudible 20:56] purpose in them from the mini one and that’s something that we should always strive for. That’s not about 1619. That’s about 1776 and now.
Yeah, yeah. Well, I’m going to give people a homework assignment. It’s called Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America written by a great guy named Ken Blackwell. And you know, seriously, I mean, what a great way to dig into the formula that produces a great society for all people, for every community. And that’s what I’m hoping people will be hungry enough to do as to study and then implement that formula in all of our communities. Ken, it’s always a pleasure, man. Appreciate your time. Appreciate you coming on. Best to you and your family.
Thank you, Rick. All the best.
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
The founding fathers of America made a habit of reading through the Bible once a year. There’s no better source of wisdom and it is applicable to every issue in our lives. What a great time for us as American citizens to take this time if you’ve got extra time at home now, if you’re quarantine at home and you’re looking for something to do, what better thing could there be to do than to read through the Bible, maybe for the first time in your life?
I tried to make this a habit several years ago and I had a new tool to start doing that with and it was called the Founders’ Bible. It gave me a chance not only to read through the Bible once a year, but also to learn history while I was doing that. And what I love about the Founders’ Bible is that as I’m reading that scripture, then all of a sudden, there’ll be an article inserted right there by that scripture about what the Founding Fathers learned from that specific verse or our chapter and how they applied it to launch our nation. It’s a really fun way to learn. It’s incredibly empowering and it has answers for today.
The Bible is full of all the right answers for today. In fact, it’s the only source that has all the right answers. So, if you haven’t read through the Founders’ Bible, I challenge you and encourage you, get a copy of the Founders’ Bible today. It’s available at wallbuilders.com and we even have it at digital version, so you can do this on your phone or iPad or computer. Check out the Founders’ Bible today, make it a part of your regular reading throughout the year, but right now is a great opportunity through the Founders’ Bible. Check it out today at wallbuilders.com.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live, thanks to Ken Blackwell for joining us today. Back with David and Tim. And just like you said, David, I mean, he’s got the real-life experience on this and what great balanced perspective to bring to the table?
Well, and guys, I do appreciate it that he pointed out that that a nation is not monolithic, they are not stuck with something they had in their past. And even, right, I mean, we would disagree with the argument that slavery defined America, because slavery was a part of the culture of largely every nation of the world at that time, at that point in history. However, just because that is something that is a stain on the history of America doesn’t mean that that is who America is today. And so, that’s what I appreciated when he pointed out that history is not frozen at one point in time, right, that nations, peoples can change, their cultures can change, they can kind of evolve and become a different people. And America certainly has been different as he pointed out, right? Some of the opportunities you have in America, you don’t have anywhere else in the world. America is not the same place. And the opportunities in America are not just for a certain gender, a certain race, a certain ethnicity, a certain culture. No, America is the land of opportunity for all genders, races, ethnicities and cultures.
Yeah, as he pointed out, he said, look, the bottom line is as a society, we’re the freest, we’re the most prosperous of any nation in the world. We have a forward-looking nation. And I love what he said, Tim, the same quote about being frozen in the past. We don’t have to be frozen in the past. We have this opportunity to do right. And so I really appreciate his forward-looking. But he’s right, we learn from the past. But we don’t have to repeat the lessons of the past and we don’t have to be stuck in the past with the victimhood that they’re really trying to place on all Americans.
We’re out of time for today, folks. So again, special thanks to Ken Blackwell, for joining us today. Thank you for listening today and we want to give you a couple of action items as we sign up for today. The first one is to go watch the One-Room Schoolhouse. This is a chance to get educated on some really cool stuff as David and Tim take us through the library. You know, most people that listen to our program have never actually visited the WallBuilders Library and Museum. But you can do that almost on a daily basis with the One-Room Schoolhouse. And there’s a ton of great videos now available on the YouTube page for WallBuilders, where you can actually enjoy those interesting items there in the library and learn something cool every day. So, watch those videos at our YouTube channel, just look for WallBuilders on YouTube and then you can also do the same thing at our Facebook page for WallBuilders. Check out that education and then go to our website wallbuilders.com to get signed up and get some of those videos that we’ve produced over the years that really give you a great foundation and constitutional knowledge that take you through so many different issues. You can get things like Foundations of Freedom, where we have special guests like Carol Swain and Glenn Beck and others on the program and it really is a great way to learn at home right now to build your own foundation. We as citizens need to be educated. We’ve got to know our rights.
And speaking of knowing our rights, you also want to visit constitutioncoach.com, where right now you can get help learning about the Constitution and how it applies in the current situation with COVID-19. You can just watch the videos there on that page and begin your education. You could actually sign up for one of our free Constitution classes online or you can even become a Constitution host and actually be one of the folks that’s hosting classes online. Or maybe if your State is open it up and you can do it right there in your living room or at your church. You can be a force multiplier and help other people get educated on this as well. Constitutioncoach.com is the place to go for that education. Thank you so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.