President Donald Trump wants to have a say in the curricula for young children in America, but the 1619 Project director Nikole Hannah-Jones wants to remind people that the federal government does not set school curricula.
At a rally on Saturday, Trump announced that he wants a proposed TikTok deal to include the creation of a $5 billion fund to be used to educate people on what he called the “real history of our country — the real history, not the fake history.”
In a Constitution Day speech earlier this month, Trump attacked the New York Times’ 1619 Project, the Pulitzer Prize-winning project that reframes American history around the date of August 1619, when the first slave ship arrived on America’s shores. The President said it should not be taught in schools.
“The federal government does not set curricula,” Nikole Hannah-Jones said to CNN Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter on Reliable Sources Sunday. She added that the federal government is trying to “indoctrinate students” into what it deems a “patriotic” reading of history and “all Americans – no matter their politics – should be deeply, deeply concerned.”
The 1619 Project “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative,” according to the New York Times.
In a tweet in early September, Trump said the US Department of Education would investigate whether California schools are using the New York Times’ 1619 Project in public school curricula. He wrote, “Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded!”
“It’s been a tough few weeks,” Hannah-Jones said. “I certainly would not have expected that the President of the Unites States would be holding press conferences” about The 1619 Project, she added.
Hannah-Jones will continue to work on the 1619 Project, and she said the project is expanding past its native online format into TV, film and books.
“Clearly Trump sees this as a tool in the arsenal of the culture war,” Hannah-Jones said. “It’s not as if our children need to be saved from a history that overplays the role of slavery.”