The framing of the #1619Project remains the same today as when we published in Aug. 2019: We acknowledged 1776 as this nation's official founding but asked readers to imagine what it would mean to consider 1619 as our birth year. That text hasn't changed.
Despite the contrived campaign of the last week, it was always a metaphoric argument, which anyone who consults the text that printed in the magazine and remains unaltered online today can confirm.
I must acknowledge being imprecise in my casual language on Twitter, using true as in *literal and actual* and true as in *symbolic* when discussing the project, but the project nor I never argued 1619 as our literal founding. One merely has to consult the project to see that.
The tweet that prompted this contrived controversy was in response to Trump saying he needed 1776 Commission so children will continue to be taught 1776 is our founding. I was saying of course children will be taught 1776 is our official birth year as we don't argue otherwise.
We *do* argue 1619 is our symbolic founding because so much of the what would make America America, its culture, its divisions, its wealth, its legal, political systems, would begin at that moment. This was clear to anyone who read it, heard me speak or read my tweets in context.
When President Obama called Congressman John Lewis a founding father, he did not mean Lewis literally helped found this country during the Revolutionary period. He is using metaphor as a rhetorical devise to say Lewis helped perfect those founding ideals.
When historian Eric Foner calls the Reconstruction the Second Founding, he is not saying that our nation was literally founded as a new United States but that is when the country finally began to reflect the ideals of the founding.
Those who've wanted to act as if tweets/discussions about the project hold more weight than the actual words of the project cannot be taken in good faith. Those who point to edits of digital blurbs but ignore the unchanged text of the actual project cannot be taken in good faith.
And those who want to argue that the focus on 1619 as a foundational year to our country is radical and absurd merely need to look at what happened yesterday. The America that justified the death of Breonna Taylor did not begin in 1776. It began in 1619. -FIN
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