Review of The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones
“In exposing our nation’s troubled roots, the 1619 Project challenges us to think about a country whose exceptionalism we treat as the unquestioned truth. It asks us to consider who sets and shapes our shared national memory and what and who gets left out..."
While history is what happened, it is also, just as important, how we think about what happened and what we unearth and choose to remember about what happened...
In this hefty expansion of the 1619 Project, which was spearheaded by Nikole Hannah-Jones at The New York Times Magazine, an array of contributors reframe the history of the United States, putting enslaved people and their work and contributions at the center of our past.
By expanding the Project into book length, contributors explore how enslaved people's labor and unwilling efforts laid the groundwork for our nation's economy, past and present, racial real estate divide, and disparities in wealth, among other elements.
James Baldwin famously said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed unless it is faced.”
I listened to this book, which explores history such as that of Black music and appropriation; decades of racial impacts on the modern public school system; and the shared responsibility of those in the North and South in perpetuating the condition of enslaved people--then perpetuating policies that continue to penalize Black people.
The 1619 Project highlights tragic, uncomfortable aspects of our nation's history in an important work of nonfiction about race. Hannah-Jones aims to better shape how we recognize and address our country's past wrongs and how we might begin to address these travesties in order to move forward.
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For a resource guide and additional materials, check out The 1619 Project Educational Materials Collection.