Transforming lives, schools & troubled neighborhoods.
By Mark Anderson
In order to challenge the guilt-inducing, disempowering, divisive and mostly fallacious 1619 Project of The New York Times—which claims that the year 1619, when slaves first arrived on America’s shores, represents the true “birth” of the U.S.—the Woodson Center in Washington, D.C. has rolled out the “1776 Unites Campaign.”
To highlight this effort, the Woodson Center held a special 1776 presentation at Washington’s National Press Club (NPC), featuring brilliant scholar and founder Robert L. Woodson Sr. as well as syndicated columnist Clarance Page and 22 others from various fields of endeavor.
A press release for the NPC program said, “Bob Woodson formed and will introduce a consortium of top black academics, columnists, social service providers, business leaders and clergy from across America who are committed to telling the complete history of America and black Americans from 1776 to present with a look to the future in answer to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous question, ‘Where do we go from here?’ ”
At a time when inter-racial hostilities are being induced and encouraged by the mass media cartel—and Democrat-Marxist politicians and opportunists with surnames like Sharpton—recasting looters, arsonists, and rioters ravaging American monuments and cities as “peaceful protestors,” the 1776 Campaign Project has a refreshing perspective. It’s further described in Woodson Center literature as “an assembly of independent voices who uphold our country’s authentic founding virtues and values and challenge those who assert America is forever defined by its past failures, such as slavery. We seek to offer alternative perspectives that celebrate the progress America has made on delivering its promise of equality and opportunity and highlight the resilience of its people. Our focus is on solving problems. We do this in the spirit of 1776, the date of America’s true founding.”
While it’s not religious in the strict sense, the center operates on a faith-based, bed rock belief that the best solutions can be found within affected neighborhoods, hence the part of its mission statement about transforming society from the inside out. “Rather than parachute programs into low-income communities, we
seek out those individuals and organizations that are already addressing the problems, help them build their capacities, and assist them in linking to the resources they need,” the center’s website also explains.
Despite some lean times, this institution has stuck to its principles and gained some important victories, “such as empowering resident management of public housing; giving low-income neighborhood leaders a voice in public policy; helping them create partnerships in the revitalization of urban neighborhoods; and developing a unique initiative that is effectively reducing youth violence in schools and communities throughout the nation,” as explained at “WoodsonCenter.org.” “Over the years, the center has brought training and technical assistance to more than 2,600 leaders of faith-based and community organizations in 39 states and helped them attain more than 10 times the funding expended by the Center.”
Born in Philadelphia in 1937, Woodson, who served in the U.S. Air Force, was a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute from 1977 to 1982. He founded the Woodson Center in 1981. In a Jan. 17, 2020 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, he clearly spelled out the intractable shortcomings and gross errors of the political left. Referring to black achievements against the odds, such as building schools, hotels, railroads—and the black poverty rate falling from 87% in 1940 to 47% by 1960, he recalled the “self-determination, resiliency, personal virtue, honor and accountability that Dr. Martin Luther King understood “to be the bedrock for black success once true equality was won.” Woodson added: “Today the progressive left wants to ignore [these] achievements and pretend that blacks are perpetual victims of white racism. The New York Times’s 1619 Project essay series is the latest salvo in this attack on America’s history and founding, claiming ‘anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country.’ This statement is an abomination of everything Dr. King stood for.”
Woodson’s efforts to empower the over-achieving portions of the black—and white—community to take advantage of the opportunities available to it, instead of preaching hopelessness and helplessness, will work much better in the end than pulling down monuments, painting “black lives matter” in front of Trump Towers and a host of other meaningless, purely symbolic acts. Woodson’s program is designed to counter the failed “solutions” inflicted on the black community by “guilt-ridden white liberals and rich, entitled blacks.” It is those two groups, Woodson says, that pose the greatest threat to black America, not “systemic racism” or “white privilege.”
Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor. Email him at [email protected].