Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) desire to whitewash American history drew a strong rebuke from his own alma mater, the University of Louisville after he dismissed the role slavery has played in our nation.
The 1619 project by the New York Times has been a target of conservatives because it rightfully highlighted the significance of slavery in America’s history starting in 1619 when the first slaves were brought here by colonists.
Slaves would go on to literally build our nation’s capital, including the White House and the Capitol building. The institution of slavery was even propped up by the Constitution until the Civil War and the 14th Amendment changed it. And slavery still impacts our country today, something Republicans are desperate to rewrite or ignore, even going so far as to defend it as a “good” thing.
On Monday, McConnell dismissed slavery and the role it has played.
“There are a lot of exotic notions about what are the most important points in American history,” McConnell said at the University of Louisville. “I simply disagree with the notion that the New York Times laid out there that the year 1619 was one of those years.”
Indeed, it’s why disgraced former President Donald Trump formed his own commission to focus on 1776 because Republicans are obsessed with whitewashing history and dismissing black history as if it doesn’t count.
The leadership at the University of Louisville, however, believes it does count. In a campus-wide email, the college’s senior associate vice president of diversity and equity V. Faye Jones strongly criticized McConnell’s statement.
“To imply that slavery is not an important part of United States history not only fails to provide a true representation of the facts, but also denies the heritage, culture, resilience, and survival of Black people in America,” Jones wrote. “It also fails to give context to the history of systemic racial discrimination, the United States’ “original sin” as Sen. McConnell called it, which still plagues us today.”
“What we know to be true is that slavery and the date the first enslaved Africans arrived and were sold on U.S. soil are more than an “exotic notion.” If the Civil War is a significant part of history, should not the basis for it also be viewed as significant?” Jones continued. “President Bendapudi, Provost Gonzalez, and I reject the idea that the year 1619 is not a critical moment in the history of this country.”
The bottom line is that this country was built on the backs of slaves. That history cannot be ignored, and doing so only proves that Republicans are racists.
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