The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

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PBS Newshour Highlights Nikole Hannah-Jones’ Groundbreaking 1619 Project

Nikole Hannah-Jones talks to PBS Newshour about her exciting project with The New York Times Magazine. The 1619 Project is a landmark issue of the magazine entirely devoted to commemorating the anniversary of American slavery, and reframing the nation’s past—and present—through the lens of this incredible injustice. 

How did slavery shape the American economy, influence infrastructure, and make the U.S, an international power? The effects of slavery— not only on the African-American population, but on the entire nation— are not hidden in the past, explains Nikole Hannah-Jones, but remain very much in the present. In her PBS Newshour interview, she explains how seemingly unrelated modern phenomena, from capitalism to universal healthcare to sugar consumption, are indeed related back to slavery.


“We are the country where, if you are coming from a place where you are not free, you can come to our shores and you can get freedom…We are the constant reminder, really, of the lie at our origins; that while Thomas Jefferson was writing the Declaration of Independence, his enslaved brother-in-law was there to serve him and make sure that he's comfortable,” Hannah-Jones says. It’s this tension, between the story we tell ourselves, and the truth of our origins, that is at the heart of the project.


You can listen to the full interview here.


To book speaker Nikole Hannah-Jones for your next speaking engagement, contact The Lavin Agency, her exclusive speakers bureau.



Is Society Getting Less Violent? In a New Book, Steven Pinker Says Yes.

Harvard Psychology professor, Blank Slate author, and Lavin speaker Steven Pinker returns this October with a provocative and counterintuitive new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, that looks at why we are less violent today than perhaps we’ve ever been.

From the publisher:

Faced with the ceaseless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, one could easily think we live in the most violent age ever seen. Yet as New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows in this startling and engaging new work, just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millennia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species’s existence. For most of history, war, slavery, infanticide, child abuse, assassinations, pogroms, gruesome punishments, deadly quarrels, and genocide were ordinary features of life. But today, Pinker shows (with the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps) all these forms of violence have dwindled and are widely condemned. How has this happened?

This groundbreaking book continues Pinker’s exploration of the essence of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly nonviolent world. The key, he explains, is to understand our intrinsic motives- the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away-and how changing circumstances have allowed our better angels to prevail. Exploding fatalist myths about humankind’s inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious and provocative book is sure to be hotly debated in living rooms and the Pentagon alike, and will challenge and change the way we think about our society.

Read more about cognitive science speaker Steven Pinker