“The truth is that as much democracy as this nation has today, it has been born on the backs of black resistance...Black people have seen the worst of America, yet, somehow, we still believe in its best.” — Nikole Hannah-Jones
The 1619 Project, inaugurated with a special issue of The New York Times Magazine, challenges us to reframe U.S. history by marking the year when the first enslaved Africans arrived on Virginia soil as its foundational date.
Award-winning investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones provides an expansive essay on why “black Americans, as much as those men cast in alabaster in the nation’s capital, are this nation’s true ‘founding fathers.’” Her essay chronicles a history of policies enacted to profit from and disenfranchise black Americans, and the fight not only to claim black liberation, but also to make liberation possible for all Americans.
This lesson plan is designed to introduce Hannah-Jones’ essay, and The 1619 Project as a whole, through discussion questions and guided reading. For extension activities and to delve into the other essays and creative works that compose this special issue, please visit:
- Reading guides and the full New York Times Magazine issue text
- Activities to extend student engagement with The 1619 Project