What Is ‘The 1619 Project’ and What Are People Saying About It?

ChurchLeaders | 8/23/2019 | Staff
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The New York Times recently published an initiative called “The 1619 Project,” a collection of essays, short fiction and poems that attempts to “reframe” the history of the U.S. by demonstrating that slavery is central to the country’s development and still impacts American lives today. While many have welcomed the project, it has also received pushback from some who feel it is either misguided or promoting a false narrative.

“In August of 1619, a ship appeared on [the] horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia,” reads the project’s opening statement. “It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.”

Project

What Is The 1619 Project?

The 1619 Project is the brainchild of New York Times journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones. In an interview with Joshua Johnson on NPR’s 1A, Jones explained that the initiative was a “culmination of more than 25 years of me thinking about that date.” She had never been taught in school that slavery had existed in America before the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, and “I just kept thinking that [the date] was going to pass in most American households, and no one was going to even know that there was an anniversary that we should be commemorating.”

Jones - Belief - Thesis - Project - Nothing

It is Jones’ belief and the thesis of the project that “nothing in modern American society has been left untouched by that decision to buy that first group of 20 to 30 Africans and engage in the institution of slavery.” Isn’t it true, asked Johnson, that Americans already know slavery is significant and has affected our lives and...
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