What is the 1619 Project?

Fights over how we tell our nation’s story go back more than a century and have a great deal to teach us about our current divisions. Learning more about our nation’s history, through the New York Times links in this article, is a great way for adults to understand the realities of systemic racism and how it can be dismantled to the advantage of all our citizens.

In August 2019, The New York Times Magazine launched the 1619 Project, spearheaded by Nikole Hannah-Jones. The project explored the history of slavery in the United States and was released to coincide with the anniversary of a ship carrying the first enslaved Africans to the English colonies.

The project made the bold claim, that the experience of slavery is inextricable from American history. As might be expected, it prompted praise, criticism and debate.

With its examination of how the legacy of slavery continues to shape life in the United States, the project started in-depth conversations about how American history is taught and written. Ms. Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for the project’s opening essay, has faced backlash from conservative groups over her work. In 2021, some board members at the University of North Carolina reportedly opposed her appointment to tenure position due to her involvement in the 1619 Project.

Since its launch, the 1619 Project has expanded its initiative to include a podcast on how slavery has transformed America, and two books  just published in November.