Amid a right-wing attack on teaching critical race theory, we speak in-depth with Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, which reframes U.S. history by marking the year when the first enslaved Africans arrived on Virginia soil as the foundational date for the United States. The project launched in 2019, and has been expanded into an anthology of 18 essays along with poems and short stories, even as several states have attempted to ban it from school curriculums. “We should all as Americans be deeply, deeply concerned about these anti-history laws because what they’re really trying to do is control our memory and to control our understanding of our country,” says Hannah-Jones. Hannah-Jones’s new book that she co-edited is out this month, titled “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story,” along with an adaptation of the 1619 Project for children, “Born On The Water.” Hannah-Jones describes the role of her own teachers in opening her eyes beyond the usual curriculum that excluded the history she has now uplifted. She also discusses the trial of the murderers of Ahmaud Arbery, and how she felt when she won the Pulitzer Prize on the same day as one of her heroines, the formerly enslaved pioneering anti-lynching journalist, Ida B. Wells.
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