A public library in Virginia is paying Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of The 1619 Project, more than $35,000 for a single, hour-long speaking engagement titled “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story,” and, predictably, some white people are very upset about it.
According to the New York Post, the event will mostly be paid for by the Fairfax County Public Library, which will shell out $29,350 of the $33,350, leaving the rest to be paid by the McLean Community Center.
“McLean Community Center (MCC) and the Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) offer a variety of programs of interest to our diverse community,” Jessica Hudson, the director of Fairfax County Library, told the Post in a statement. “For several years, The Alden [Theater] and FCPL have partnered to present noted authors through MCC’s Perspectives Speaker Series. This year, for Black History Month, we are partnering to bring Pulitzer Prize Winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, who will speak on her work on the 1619 Project.”
Hudson added that the free event “facilitates access for patrons who might otherwise be unable to attend due to financial limitations and is in line with Fairfax County’s One Fairfax Policy and the MCC Governing Board’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and access.”
Incidentally, the same library paid How to Be an Antiracist author Ibram X. Kendi $22,500 to speak last month.
No wonder some Virginians have their star-spangled Klan-taloons all in a bunch over it.
From the Post:
The combined sum of $55,850 paid to Hannah-Jones and Kendi, which surpasses the annual starting salary of a Fairfax County librarian, prompted local residents to express outrage, particularly after the library was forced to shorten operating hours this past summer due to “ongoing staff recruitment challenges.”
“By my estimates, the Fairfax County Public Library is using over $60,000 in taxpayer funds to host Ibram Kendi and Nikole Hannah-Jones as speakers,” local resident William Denk told the Fairfax County Times.
“I would like to see the Board of Supervisors reach out to Kendi and Hannah-Jones to ask that they return these funds to Fairfax County to help our local homeless population.”
Michael Albin, a local resident and member of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance, blasted the library for a “misuse of public funds for propaganda programming.”
“Now they’ve upped the ante by paying $33,350 to Nikole Hannah-Jones, not for her ideas, but for her star power,” Albin told the Fairfax County Times.
“For her ideas, you can read her book (at the library!) or go online to read them for free.”
Albin added: “She’s invited to sabotage American history and ideals at a library talk, and when? … get this, on Presidents’ Day weekend, a patriotic national holiday. If that isn’t sabotage of our values, I don’t know what is.”
So, a few things:
First, The 1619 Project is only “propaganda programming” to white conservatives who think any depiction of America that doesn’t glorify their little white nationalist utopia as a mecca of freedom and nobility. Actual propaganda is the Republican war on critical race theory, which prompted Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to promise an executive order banning the decades-old academic study right-wingers are just now discovering on “day one” of his first term in office. “Propaganda programming” is what also led Youngkin to push a white fragility-inspired K-12 curriculum that excludes slavery and the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. altogether.
Propaganda is Fox News noting that The 1619 Project has been “heavily criticized by historians” while failing to mention that it has also been heavily defended by historians and history professors, or the fact that accredited historians were also involved in the development of the project.
Propaganda is conservative lawmakers opposing The 1619 Project when their own educational backgrounds include historical teachings that are whitewashed and racialized to center white people by default.
Secondly, you gotta love how Albin automatically prioritizes President’s Day over Black History Month and calls the event a “sabotage” of “American history and ideals” as well as “our values,” when it’s clear he only means white conservative values and ideals—because no one else’s values or ideals matter, because conservatives always (wrongly) assume they’re on the side of popular opinion and are speaking on behalf of “the people.”
Basically, these people are, once again, flooding our newsfeeds with enough white tears to float a 1619 slave ship across. I say we just let them cry and congratulate the Pulitzer Prize-winner Nikole Hannah-Jones on her continued success.
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