Creator Nikole Hannah-Jones reexamined the legacy of slavery in America in the ambitious project, which recognized the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans arriving in Virginia. For her introductory essay, Hannah-Jones has been awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
New York Times Magazine’s ‘The 1619 Project’ was perhaps the most talked about piece of journalism of the year, featuring inspiring work from Black authors, journalists, activists, and artists. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator and lead writer on the project, penned the introductory essay under the powerful headline ‘Our Democracy’s Founding Ideals Were False When They Were Written. Black Americans Have Fought to Make Them True.’
In it, she writes, “But 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. More than any other group in this country’s history, we have served, generation after generation, in an overlooked but vital role: It is we who have been the perfecters of this democracy.”
Thought-provoking and beautifully written, Hannah-Jones’ essay will be remembered for being one of the most impactful modern pieces on the subject of race and slavery. Upon learning of her Pulitzer win, she called the project “the most important work of my life.”
Read her full essay here.
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