Hulu’s ‘1619 Project’ Docuseries Slammed for Resurrecting Debunked Claim Revolutionary War Was Fought to Preserve Slavery

Nik Wheeler/Corbis via Getty Images/Hulu
Nik Wheeler/Corbis via Getty Images/Hulu

Disney’s Hulu docuseries adaptation of “The 1619 Project ” is being called out for attempting to resurrect the original New York Times series’ most contentious and debunked claim — that the Revolutionary War was fought in large part to preserve slavery.

In his essay for Reason, columnist Phillip W. Magness accuses the first episode of peddling “false history” and engaging in “factual error and cinematic misdirection.”

The new docuseries reportedly features a scene with the Times‘ Nikole Hannah-Jones speaking to University of South Carolina professor Woody Holton, one of a few scholars who defended the “1619 Project’s” original assertion.

Their conversation focuses on colonial Virginia and its royalist governor John Murray, who proclaimed that male slaves would be freed in exchange for serving in the British military.

Hannah-Jones reportedly says: “So you have this situation where many Virginians and other southern colonists — they’re not really convinced that they want to side with the patriots. And this turns many of them towards the revolution. Is that right?”

Holton replies: “If you ask them, it did. The record is absolutely clear.”

In his Reason essay, Magness argues that Jones and Holton have confused the historical timeline.

“Dunmore’s order was a reaction to—not a cause of—a revolution already in full swing,” he writes. “The road to American independence began in Massachusetts over a decade earlier… Virginia expressed solidarity with this cause long before Dunmore’s order.”

He adds:

Hannah-Jones’ latest chronological mishap adds to a long list of errors that have plagued the 1619 Project. In this instance, it also speaks to a deeper underlying negligence around matters of basic fact. As a flashpoint of controversy since the 1619 Project’s inception, the claims about slavery in the American Revolution warranted careful attention. The docuseries offered Hannah-Jones yet another opportunity to clarify her case, ostensibly with the guidance of trained historians such as Holton. Instead, she pushed ahead, unaware of a timeline that any tour guide at the Governor’s Palace could have resolved for her.

Hannah-Jones’ claim about the Revolutionary War has been debunked by other scholars, most notably Leslie M. Harris, a professor of history at Northwestern University, who penned a Politico op-ed in 2020 titled “I Helped Fact-Check the 1619 Project. The Times Ignored Me.”

Harris states: “Although slavery was certainly an issue in the American Revolution, the protection of slavery was not one of the main reasons the 13 Colonies went to war.”
Even though other respected academics also disputed her thesis, Jones eventually won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on “The 1619 Project.”

As Breitbart News reported, Hulu’s docuseries also features Hannah-Jones flinging accusations of racism against millions of Americans, claiming they don’t want to share democracy with people of color.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.