The basic thrust of the 1619 Project is that everything in American history is explained by slavery and race. The message is woven throughout the first publication of the project, an entire edition of the Times magazine. It begins with an overview of race in America — “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.” — written by Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, who on Twitter uses the identity Ida Bae Wells, from the crusading late 19th-early 20th century African American journalist Ida B. Wells…
But a project with the aim of reframing U.S. history has to be more than a bunch of articles and podcasts. A major goal of the 1619 Project is to take the reframing message to schools. The Times has joined an organization called the Pulitzer Center (which, it should be noted, is not the organization that hands out the Pulitzer Prize) to create a 1619 Project curriculum. “Here you will find reading guides, activities, and other resources to bring The 1619 Project into your classroom,” the center says in a message to teachers.
The paper also wants to reach into schools itself. “We will be sending some of our writers on multi-city tours to talk to students,” Hannah-Jones said recently, “and we will be sending copies of the magazine to high schools and colleges. Because to us, this project really takes wing when young people are able to read this and understand the way that slavery has shaped their country’s history.”
The project rollout just happened to come at the same time as the leak of a transcript of a Times employee town hall in which the paper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, discussed his “vision” of making race the central theme of Times coverage of the remaining two years of President Trump’s term in office.