Nikole Hannah-Jones and The NewYork Times Launch Landmark The 1619 Project, Marking 400 Years Since American Slavery Began
Without the monumental efforts of Black Americans in the face of incredible opposition, democracy as we know it would still be as much of a lie as it was when our founding ideals were first put on paper. Nikole Hannah-Jones is lifting up the remarkable contributions of Black Americans to the nation, and commemorating the true, terrible start of American history, with The 1619 Project.
A major multimedia initiative, The 1619 Project features an ongoing series of essays and art on the relationship between slavery and everything from social infrastructure and segregation, to music and sugar—all by Black American authors, activists, journalists and more. Available online, 1619 is also the August NYT Magazine issue. Originally pitched by staff writer Hannah-Jones, it exposes exactly how nothing we know about American life today has been untouched by the legacy of slavery.
For a holistic, accurate view of U.S. history, we need to acknowledge that the year 1619—when colonists brought over the first boat of 20-30 enslaved Africans—is just as important as 1776. Says Hannah-Jones: “…it would be historically inaccurate to reduce the contributions of black people to the vast material wealth created by our bondage. Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom,” in the first essay of the project.
The 1619 Project is beautiful, heartbreaking, unprecedented, and absolutely essential. The personal stories, political essays, and historical events explored and exposed within provide indisputable proof of the need for America to rewrite our narrative, and finally tell the truth.