An open letter released today and signed by 21 scholars and public writers calls on the Pulitzer Prize Board to rescind the Prize for Commentary awarded to Nikole Hannah-Jones for her lead essay in “The 1619 Project.” The letter is posted at the website of the National Association of Scholars here. (I am one of the signatories.)
The letter revisits the sorry tale of the 1619 Project’s errors and distortions and invokes these in calling for the revocation of the prize. The recent revelations that The New York Times stealthily edited out the signature claim of the project—that the advent of slavery in the year 1619 constitutes our country’s “true founding”—were, however, the immediate occasion for this letter. As Phillip Magness (another signatory) has shown, Nikole Hannah-Jones has several times denied ever claiming that 1619 was our true founding, although in fact she has made this latter claim repeatedly.
These actions on the part of both the Times and Hannah-Jones are profoundly irresponsible and disturbing. How can we explain them?