On Oct. 13, the Roosevelt Institute awarded The New York Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones the Freedom of Speech Award, one of their Four Freedoms Awards. In her acceptance speech, Hannah-Jones unknowingly revealed the truth about her ahistorical 1619 Project, as well as the Orwellian nature of the award she received.
Hannah-Jones has a way of letting slip her true goals. The 1619 Project was published in New York Times Magazine to commemorate the 400-year anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in Jamestown, where it “reframed” American history by replacing 1776 with the year 1619, when our real Founding — as a “slavocracy” — really began.
In her Oct. 13 remarks, she confirmed this project is actually advocacy journalism. She gave the game away when calling the project a “narrative.” She also noted “the narrative allows for policy.” The policy she was referring to was reparations.
The bestowal of the Roosevelt Institute award came only weeks after Hannah-Jones gave the annual Kops Freedom of the Press lecture at Cornell University and served as featured speaker at “Banned Books Week” events. The stream of accolades is astounding. But they have much to do with the image of persecuted speaker of truths Hannah-Jones has cultivated through social media and television appearances.
The performative ritual was put on display at the Oct.13 ceremony as Dorian Warren, president of the nonprofit Community Change and cohost of a Nation magazine podcast, interviewed Hannah-Jones in the fawning manner to which she has become accustomed. He marveled at her “resilience.” How are you “holding up?” he asked.
Hannah-Jones acted as if she were being hounded by the U.S. attorney general and the FBI — like the parents voicing objections at school board meetings to the kind of curricula she supports. It depends “on the day,” she sighed. She took the hostile reactions as a “testament” to the power of journalism.