Oklahoma bill would prohibit '1619 Project' being taught in state universities

The bill is set to be introduced to the state legislature next month.

The 1619 project was authored by Nikole Hannah-Jones, who is now a professor at Howard University.

Oklahoma may ban the “1619 Project,” authored by journalist and now Howard University professor Nikole Hannah-Jones, from its state-funded schools and higher education institutions. 

House Bill 2988, slated to be introduced on the floor on Feb. 7, was authored by state Rep. Jim Olsen and co-sponsored by Rep. David Hardin, and sets parameters for state agencies and public schools constructing historical frameworks. 

[RELATED: Education prof says CRT influences K-12 teaching]

Specifically, it takes aim at restricting content extracted from the contentious “1619 project” being taught in the classroom, lest institutions lose state-driven funding.

The bill states: 

The bill further prohibits teaching “the primary and overarching purpose” of the discovery of America was “the initiation and perpetuation of slavery.”

State-funded colleges and universities that fail to comply with the guidelines provided in the bill will be notified by the Attorney General. Should the institution fail to comply within 30 days of notice, a maximum of 10% of state funds will be withheld by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

[RELATED: UPDATED: DeSantis, Noem offer legislation banning Critical Race Theory in public universities]

Rep. Olsen told Campus Reform that the bill was introduced to “make sure our young people don’t get a biased, narrow minded view of history.”

”We want to look at slavery through a slightly broader lens, and not ONLY the experience of one country or one race,” Olsen stated. “Slavery has been a tragic reality throughout the history of mankind, among every people group.”

While Oklahoma is not the first state to attempt imposing regulations surrounding controversial theoretical frameworks such as Critical Race Theory. 

IowaArkansas, and Mississippi all proposed legislation early 2021 that contained similar requisitions. Legislation in the latter two states were withdrawn and killed in committee.

The Iowa bill currently awaits further analysis after the current text receiving subcommittee approval.

Campus Reform reached out to Hardin for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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