Bob Woodson, founder and president of the Woodson Center, joins Mark Levin on FNC's "Life, Liberty & Levin," to discuss the 1776 Initiative which was created to refute the claims made by the New York Times' 1619 Project documenting America's history of slavery.
MARK LEVIN: You have now started the 1776 Group to counter the 1619 "New York Times" effort. Now the 1619 "New York Times" effort, I'll read the first paragraph from one of their articles on this, so the American people know what they're up to. They say, "1619 is not a year that most Americans know as a notable date in our country's history." I certainly didn't.
"Those who do are at most a tiny fraction of those who can tell you that 1776 is the year of our nation's birth. What if, however, we were to tell you that the moment that the country's defining contradictions first came into the world was in late August 1690? That was when a ship arrived at Point Comfort in the British colony of Virginia, bearing a cargo of 20 to 30 enslaved Africans."
"Their arrival inaugurated a barbaric system of chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country's original sin. But it is more than that, it's the country's very origin."
And in fact, some of the supporters of this have heard of said, slavery is in our DNA, which means we can't get rid of it. It's in our DNA. Now, you heard this and you read about this. And you were repulsed by this.
BOB WOODSON: It is one of the most diabolical, self-destructive ideas that I've ever heard. And what they're doing is rewriting American history and unfortunately, they are using the suffering and struggle of black America as a bludgeon to beat America and define America as a criminal organization.
And it's lethal -- and what the -- and the message that they are saying is all white Americans are oppressors and all black Americans are victims.
What this does, Mark, it means, therefore, the black community is exempting them from any kind of personal responsibility. It's really white supremacy to assume that blacks have no agency. And the basic premise that we brought together a group of independent thinkers and activists called 1776, that's the real birth of America.
And what we organized to do, we are demonstrating that this is a lie, but we're not going to engage in vitriolic debate. What we want to offer through our essays, through our scholars that we brought together, we are providing an aspirational and inspirational alternative narrative that presents facts.
For instance, 1619 says that the current problems faced in black America with 75 percent of babies were out of wedlock. We lost more blacks, killed more blacks in one year than were lynched by the Klan in 50 years.
And they are saying that these present problems are directly related to the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.
Well, in our essays by our scholars, we're providing evidence that that is not true. In fact, when slavery ended, 75 percent of all blacks were illiterate. But within less than 50 years, that number reduced to 35.
The literacy rates, black Americans, we started our own schools. The education gap between whites and blacks in the south in 1910, was eighth grade for whites, fifth grade for blacks.
Booker T. Washington partnered with Julius Rosenwald and Julius Rosenwald put up about four million dollars, the black community put a 4.6 and they built 5,000 Rosenwald schools. So that one third of all low-income blacks attended a Rosenwald school.
Well, Mark, between 1920 and 1940, the studies show that that three-year gap was reduced to six months. So if blacks could reduce the educational gap between 1920 and 1940, and we have five major high schools, Dunbar here in Washington and Atlanta, where the class sizes were 50, we used textbooks. The budgets of those schools were a small fraction of what the white schools.
But every one of those black high schools in the '20s tested higher than any other white school in the city.