Creator of New York Times slavery project not surprised by conservative meltdown
Nikole Hannah-Jones, The New York Times correspondent and the visionary behind its ambitious examination of racial issues stemming from the 1619 arrival of enslaved people in the English colonies, isn't the least bit surprised by the meltdown among white conservatives reacting to her recasting American history with African Americans and slavery at the forefront.
"The whole reason we did the project in the first place is because our society has been unwilling to grapple with the legacy of slavery, with the centrality of slavery to the development of the United States," Hannah-Jones said in an interview Monday on MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes. "So this isn't shocking to me."
A common complaint among many of the conservative critics was that the project struck them as an attack on President Donald Trump....
"Anyone [who] would call this a propaganda tool or that somehow I'd spent, you know, since February working on this to commemorate the anniversary because we, the New York Times, wanted to get' Trump is, of course, ridiculous," Hannah-Jones said.
"We didn't plan the anniversary to happen in August of 2019, just so it would coincide with Trump's issues with being called a racist."
Instead, Hannah-Jones explained that The 1619 Project "excavates our true nature and is in direct opposition to our founding myths." And, she said, that is why there has been such a negative reaction among many white conservatives who want to cling to a version of American history that places them at the exclusive center of the story.
"I think what a lot of conservatives want is they want to choose which parts of our path we remember and which parts of our path we forget," she said.
"And I don't understand why people are so afraid of, we're simply revealing the truth about our country."