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How the 1619 Project Came Together
Aug. 18, 2019 | The New York Times | By Lovia Gyarkye.

This month is the 400th anniversary of that ship’s arrival. To commemorate this historic moment and its legacy, The New York Times Magazine has dedicated an entire issue and special broadsheet section, out this Sunday, to exploring the history of slavery and mapping the ways in which it has touched nearly every aspect of contemporary life in the United States.

The 1619 Project began as an idea pitched by Nikole Hannah-Jones, one of the magazine’s staff writers, during a meeting in January.......it was a big task, one that would require the expertise of those who have dedicated their entire lives and careers to studying the nuances of what it means to be a black person in America. Ms. Hannah-Jones invited 18 scholars and historians — including Kellie Jones, a Columbia University art historian and 2016 MacArthur Fellow; Annette Gordon-Reed, a professor of law and history at Harvard; and William Darity, a professor of public policy at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University — to meet with editors and journalists at The Times early this year. The brainstorming session cemented key components of the issue, including what broad topics would be covered (for example, sugar, capitalism and cotton) and who would contribute (including Linda Villarosa, Bryan Stevenson and Khalil Gibran Muhammad). The feature stories were then chiseled by Ms. Hannah-Jones with the help of Ilena Silverman, the magazine’s features editor......Almost every contributor in the magazine and special section — writers, photographers and artists — is black, a nonnegotiable aspect of the project that helps underscore its thesis.......“A lot of ideas were considered, but ultimately we decided that there was an undeniable power in narrowing our focus to the very place that this issue kicks off,”.......even though slavery was formally abolished more than 150 years ago, its legacy has remained insidious. .....The special section.... went through several iterations before it was decided that it would focus on painting a more full, but by no means comprehensive, picture of the institution of slavery itself.......The 1619 Project is first and foremost an invitation to reframe how the country discusses the role and history of its black citizens. “

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The 1619 Project is, by far, one of the most ambitious and courageous pieces of journalism that I have ever encountered. It addresses American history as it really is: America pretended to be a democracy at its founding, yet our country practices racism through its laws, policies, systems and institutions. Our nation still wrestles with this conflict of identities. The myth of The Greatest Nation blinds us to the historical, juxtaposed reality of the legacy of slavery, racism and democracy, and the sad, inalienable fact that racism and white supremacy were at the root of this nation’s founding.
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KM
Well, look forward to 4 more years of Trump I guess. The Times' insistence on reducing all of American history to slavery is far more blind and dogmatic than previous narratives which supposedly did not give it enough prominence. The North was already an industrial powerhouse without slavery, and continued to develop with the aid of millions of European immigrants who found both exploitation but also often the American dream, and their descendents were rightly known as the greatest generation. I celebrate a country that was more open to immigrants than most, and that was more democratic than most, rather than obsess about its imperfections, since they pale against the imperfections of every other country on the planet.
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Linda
Aug. 19
@KM Can't let your comments go as the voice of Pittsburgh on this forum, so must register my disagreement with your comments as a different voice in Pittsburgh. FYI, my white immigrant ancestors toiled in the coal mines of western PA, so I'm aware of the work of the European immigrants. But I am grateful to have my eyes opened on many topics through Sunday's paper. Slavery is a deeply shameful chapter in our history. If trying to come to terms with the living legacy of that abominable chapter is "obsessing about its imperfections," then I hope I may be called an obsessive.
African-Americans  anniversaries  commemoration  focus  history  howto  journalism  legacies  newspapers  NYT  photography  slavery  storytelling 
august 2019 by jerryking
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