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A very strange suggestion: A response to Woody Holton

Matt Karp

Platypus Review 148 | July/August 2022

PROFESSOR HOLTON appears to believe that my entire critique of the 1619 project boiled down to a “demand that it make the Black History Month compromise of showcasing black heroes instead of white oppressors[.]”[1] This is a very strange suggestion, since the essay literally disavowed this exact demand, acknowledging that “The project aims to do more than curate a Black History Month greatest hits album.”[2] The central argument in my essay, about the intellectual and political pitfalls of the project's originalist narrative of American history, are dealt with in one dismissive and undiscerning paragraph. I have to wonder if Professor Holton actually bothered to read the essay before sitting down to respond to it. |P

[1] Woody Holton, “The latest hits on the 1619 Project: Designed obsolescence?,” published in this issue.

[2] Matt Karp, “History as End: 1619, 1776, and the Politics of the Past,” Harpers (July 2021).