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Clinton Author’s Book Counters 1619 Project

A Resident Fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute in Clinton has stirred up debate with a book that takes on historical accuracy.

Mary Grabar, a professor of English who has been at AHI since 2014, in September published ‘Debunking the 1619 Project: Exposing the Plan to Divide America’. “I can't sit quietly while false history is being taught,’’ Grabar said.

The 1619 Project began with an article in August 2019 in the New York Times Magazine. The premise is that 400 years before, in August 1619, American slavery began with a ship that arrived off the coast of what is now Virginia, carrying the first 20 slaves to what became the United States.

From that article grew a book by Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for her NYT Magazine article. Hannah-Jones in the book and numerous appearances contends the event in 1619 ripples all through U.S. history and race relations into this century.

The book’s argument shifts the founding of the United States from the summer of 1776 to August 1619. It contends that slavery, not the quest for political and personal freedom, defined the origin of the United States.

Grabar uses historical facts in her book to point out slavery had started long before. “When someone is lying,’’ she said, “I have to speak up.’’

Grabar earned her doctorate in English from Emory University. She spent 20 years in the classroom teaching English.

In her first book, Grabar also took on a popular cultural idea and presented facts that proved otherwise. ‘Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America’ took on some of the…


The full story is in this week's edition of the newspaper. 

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