In this era of racial turmoil and violent protests, it’s good to see something constructive emerging. My leading example is the 1776 Project. It was launched by a longtime friend of mine for forty years, Robert Woodson Sr., to counter the 1619 Project that the New York Times launched last year to explain that America is forever defined by slavery, and that all white people are guilty of incorrigible racism.
Bob Woodson sees it differently: “Though slavery and discrimination undeniably are a tragic part of our nation’s history we have made strides along its long and tortuous journey to realize its promise and abide by its founding principles. People are motivated to achieve and overcome the challenges that confront them when they learn about inspiring victories that are possible and are not barraged by constant reminders of injuries they have suffered.”
Bob was born and raised in a poor black neighborhood in Philadelphia. Through hard work, the support of his family, and a good peer group, he entered the military, flew aircraft for the space program, attended the University of Pennsylvania; and started the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, now the Woodson Center, in 1981. Its mission is to seek out “individuals and organizations” already present in black communities, preach self-reliance and personal resilience, and help them grow and build with the resources they need. He has been an inspiration to thousands of Americans and his 1776 Project will likely reach thousands more. The Woodson Center (woodsoncenter.org) deserves our support. I have already renewed mine.
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.