President Trump says he'll sign an executive order to "promote patriotic education" after bashing a New York Times project investigating how the the legacy of slavery impacts Black Americans as "toxic propaganda." In what the AP sees as "a defense of white culture," Trump on Thursday painted the 1619 Project—named after the year in which the first slaves arrived in Virginia—as "ideological poison that if not removed will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together. It will destroy our country." The Pulitzer Prize-winning project, which now offers curriculum for schools, teaches that "we were founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth," the president said during the White House Conference on American History, per Axios.
He said America's founding had led to the abolition of slavery and "the most fair, equal, and prosperous nation in human history." Trump said the 1776 Commission that will be launched as a result of his executive order will encourage educators to teach "the miracle of American history," per Politico. 1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones' response: The attempts "to censor a work of American journalism" and dictate what children "should and should not learn should be deeply alarming to all Americans who value free speech." Elsewhere, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos praised the 1776 Unites curriculum, launched this week by the group 1776 Unites as a direct response to the 1619 Project. The group says its curriculum offers "a more complete and inspiring story of the history of African-Americans" in the US. (Trump has banned anti-racism training in federal agencies.)