Following his threat to have the Department of Education defund public schools that include the 1619 Project in their classes, president Donald Trump doubled down on his dislike of the educational resource that teaches the history of slavery in America.
During a White House press conference on Monday, when asked about the use of the project as part of the curriculum in schools, and whether he wanted the subject of slavery taught, Mr Trump responded that he did want the subject taught, but decried what he called “revisionist history”.
“I want everybody to know everything they can about our history. I am not a believer in cancel culture, the good or the bad, if you don’t study the bad it could happen again. So I do want that subject studied very carefully and accurately,” he said.
“But, we grew up with a certain history and now they’re trying to change our history. Revisionist history, That’s why they want to take down our monuments, take down our statues,” he added, referencing efforts to tear down or remove Confederate monuments following the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 1619 Project was launched in August 2019 by The New York Times to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans in the English colonies and to acknowledge the legacy of slavery and contributions of Black Americans to the nation.
Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate are partnering with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, director of the project, to adapt it for film and television. A series of books is also planned.
The president’s ability to cancel funding to schools via the Department of Education is strictly limited, and previous efforts on the part of Republicans to keep children from studying the project have so far come to nothing.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton introduced a bill to ban the teaching of the 1619 Project, but it is not expected to pass.
He was widely condemned for referring to slavery as a “necessary evil upon which the union was built”. He also called the project “left-wing propaganda”.