1619 Project founder claims the Declaration of Independence is ‘not a liberty document’

1619 Project founder claims the Declaration of Independence is ‘not a liberty document’ and admits she finds patriotism hard ‘because of slavery’

  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, 46, told Howard University students that she finds it hard to be patriotic as a descendent of slaves 
  • ‘It’s hard for me, it will always be hard for me to claim any sort of patriotism. Just as a black person who descends from slavery,’ she said 
  • She also claimed the Declaration of Independence was ‘not’ a liberty document, but simply a ‘document of succession’
  • ‘It’s the colonist, the white colonists, laying out the crimes they believe the British have committed against them,’ she said
  • The NYT Magazine reporter also said the document talked about black people as ‘insurrections’ and the crown was ‘soaking’ them to ‘rise up against them’
  • Hannah-Jones founded the 1916 Project with the magazine in 2019, which claims to ‘reframe’ US history by placing the consequences of slavery at the center 

The 1916 Project founder claims the Declaration of Independence is ‘not’ a liberty document and that she finds it hard to be patriotic ‘because of slavery.’ 

Nikole Hannah-Jones, 46, sat down at historically black college Howard University in Washington DC on Sunday to discuss how it ‘will always be hard’ for her to be patriotic in America. 

‘It’s hard for me, it will always be hard for me to claim any sort of patriotism. Just as a black person who descends from slavery,’ she said at the democracy forum, hosted by the university, the Pulitzer Center and Penguin Random House. 

‘This country would not be a democracy without us [black people]. We would not have the freedoms that you have without black people,’ she said at the event. 

‘So yes, I believe in the patriotism that says we will fight our country to live up to its highest ideals.’ 

Hannah-Jones, a New York Times Magazine reporter, founded the 1619 Project with the outlet in 2019, arguing that America was founded the year a group of slaves arrived in the country and not when independence was granted in 1776. 

Nikole Hannah-Jones, 46, told Howard University students the Declaration of Independence is 'not' a liberty document and that she finds it hard to be patriotic 'because of slavery'

Nikole Hannah-Jones, 46, told Howard University students the Declaration of Independence is ‘not’ a liberty document and that she finds it hard to be patriotic ‘because of slavery’ 

'It’s hard for me, it will always be hard for me to claim any sort of patriotism. Just as a black person who descends from slavery,' she said at the democracy forum. 'This country would not be a democracy without us [black people]. We would not have the freedoms that you have without black people'

‘It’s hard for me, it will always be hard for me to claim any sort of patriotism. Just as a black person who descends from slavery,’ she said at the democracy forum. ‘This country would not be a democracy without us [black people]. We would not have the freedoms that you have without black people’ 

Hannah-Jones, a New York Times Magazine reporter, founded the 1619 Project with the outlet in 2019, claiming that America was founded the year a group of slaves arrived in the country and not when independence was granted in 1776

Hannah-Jones, a New York Times Magazine reporter, founded the 1619 Project with the outlet in 2019, claiming that America was founded the year a group of slaves arrived in the country and not when independence was granted in 1776

The project won a Pulitzer Prize in 2019

The project won a Pulitzer Prize in 2019 

‘It 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,’ the NYT Magazine wrote on its website. 

The project won a Pulitzer Prize that year.  

At the Howard University event, Hannah-Jones also claimed the Declaration of Independence is ‘not’ a liberty document, but simply a ‘document of succession.’ 

‘It’s the colonist, the white colonists, laying out the crimes they believe the British have committed against them and saying these are all the things they’ve done, this is why we want to succeed from our own country.

‘Part of what they talk about is the savage Indians, whose land they want, and part of what they talk about are the insurrections, which are enslaved people,’ she claimed. 

‘They say that the crown is soaking insurrection, so [what] they’re soaking are enslaved [people] to rise up against them, which gives you a very different perspective on the Declaration of independence reading in its entirety.’ 

She went on to claim that America didn’t see democracy until 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was passed, saying that that’s when the country ‘got a semblance of true democracy.’ 

Earlier this week, Hannah-Jones criticized Yiatin Chu, who is the president of Asian Wave Alliance – a nonpartisan political club – who lives in Queens, New York, for complaining about the rising crimes on the city’s public transportation systems, especially the subways. 

Chu wrote: ‘Paid $2.75 to be in a subway car with a loud and aggressive man threatening to hit his female partner. Switched cars at next stop to be in a public toilet / urine-odor, crowded car for the rest of my ride. This is @KathyHochul and @NYCMayor’s NYC.’ 

Hannah-Jones responded sneeringly in a quote-tweet, writing: ‘Yes, yes. This was absolutely unheard on subways until two years ago.’

Earlier this week, Hannah-Jones criticized Yiatin Chu, who is the president of Asian Wave Alliance - a nonpartisan political club - who lives in Queens, New York, for complaining about the rising crimes on the city's public transportation systems, especially the subways

Yiatin Chu

Earlier this week, Hannah-Jones criticized Yiatin Chu, who is the president of Asian Wave Alliance – a nonpartisan political club – who lives in Queens, New York, for complaining about the rising crimes on the city’s public transportation systems, especially the subways 

She criticized Chu's complaint, sarcastically saying crime on the subway was 'absolutely unheard' of before the pandemic

She criticized Chu’s complaint, sarcastically saying crime on the subway was ‘absolutely unheard’ of before the pandemic 

Crime has gone up significantly in NYC, especially on public transportation systems

Crime has gone up significantly in NYC, especially on public transportation systems 

A mob of Hannah-Jones 700,000 followers subsequently descended on Chu, with the New York Times journalist accused of knowingly circling the wagons.

According to New York City statistics, transit crime is up 38 percent in 2022 from the same point in 2021, while city-wide crime is up 29 percent from last year.

There were 1,462 crimes between the start of 2021 and mid-November – but there have been 2,019 so far this year, a dramatic increase.

Chu responded: ‘I’ve been taking the subways since the 1980s. It’s not new but it is more widespread and not getting better. Our electeds [sic] said they would address it but we haven’t seen improvements. Why should we accept these conditions for our commute.’

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