When The New York Instances launched the 1619 Challenge, an ongoing initiative to reexamine the legacy of slavery and the contributions of Black People, in 2019, it sparked a nationwide debate concerning the “true founding” of America. Now, in response to the 1619 Challenge and its examination of slavery, Texas leaders have created another venture that highlights their state’s contributions.
Final week, a committee appointed by Texas leaders together with Gov. Greg Abbott authorized a 15-page draft of a doc titled the Texas 1836 Challenge, which is known as for the 12 months that Texas declared its independence from Mexico. A brochure that includes the authorized textual content might be given to these in search of a Texas driver’s license, in line with the Houston Chronicle.
Gov. Abbott greenlit the thought of selling “patriotic schooling” in June 2021 when he enacted Invoice 2497, which is concentrated on “the state’s historical past founding” and the way “Texas grew to become so distinctive.”
The brochure touches on Texas’ difficult historical past with slavery, which is described as “removed from excellent.” It additionally mentions the state’s previous discriminatory legal guidelines in opposition to Black folks and the way they “barred African People from voting” in 1923.
Some critics of the Texas 1836 Challenge have identified their issues with the pamphlet — together with its title, which highlights the 12 months of Texas’ independence from Mexico however doesn’t embody the emancipation date of enslaved Black and Indigenous folks. Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the 1619 Challenge, mentioned the Texas venture was a tactic to restrict the dialogue on important race principle in faculties.
“As @GovAbbott proudly signed the 1836 Challenge into legislation, & states throughout the U.S. are banning educating that facilities slavery and honestly recounts our nation’s racist previous, historical past is once more instructive: This’s a part of a legacy of the federal government banning the dialogue of slavery,” Hannah-Jones tweeted when the invoice was introduced in June 2021.
“One of many historic details that you just possible gained’t study within the 1836 Challenge, 1776 Challenge or another 1619 Challenge copycats is that in 1836, Congress adopted a “gag” rule in opposition to any dialog abt the abolition of slavery being thought of,” Hannah-Jones additionally tweeted.
Whereas some critics have known as out the pamphlet’s restricted dialogue of slavery and the way it pertains to the Black expertise, others like Leonard N. Moore, professor of American historical past on the College of Texas at Austin, help it, saying these in search of extra info on the legacy of slavery ought to depend on Black establishments like NAACP.
“I believe it’s incumbent upon us, whether or not lecturers or professors…to say ‘OK, this can be a good begin, however now let’s dig deep throughout the Black expertise of Black people in Texas,’” mentioned Moore, who’s Black, of the brochure which he believes was designed to encourage patriots and impartial thinkers.
Along with approving the Texas 1836 Challenge, in June 2021 Abbott signed a important race principle invoice limiting the educating of race relations in faculties. Different states together with Tennessee, Oklahoma and Iowa, additionally adopted go well with.