Without the monumental efforts of Black Americans in the face of incredible opposition, democracy as we know it would not exist. Nikole Hannah-Jones is lifting up the remarkable contributions of Black Americans to the nation, and acknowledging the true, fraught beginnings of American history, with her groundbreaking 1619 Project.
A major multimedia initiative, The 1619 Project is a series of essays and art which explore how virtually every aspect of American society—from infrastructure, to industry, to culture—were shaped by and dependent on slavery. Developed and spearheaded by New York Times staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, and featuring work by Black American authors, activists, journalists, and artists, the project is available online as an interactive website; makes up the entirety of August’s New York Times Magazine print issue; and will continue an ongoing series of lectures and special live events.
For a holistic and accurate view of American history, we need to acknowledge that the year 1619—when colonists brought over the first boat of 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.