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4.9 (12 Reviews)

The 1619 Project: Exploring 'The Idea of America' by Nikole Hannah-Jones


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About This Lesson

“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:



Exploring the Idea of America Lesson Plan.pdf

Lesson Plan
August 10, 2023
174.01 KB

Excerpt from the idea of America by Nikole Hannah Jones.pdf

August 10, 2023
138.72 KB

The Idea of America Full Essay.pdf

August 10, 2023
2.92 MB

Graphic Organizer 1.pdf

August 10, 2023
140.59 KB

Graphic Organizer 2.pdf

August 10, 2023
145.02 KB
12 Reviews
I give this a 5 out of 5
Brandon Whitaker
February 02, 2021
I introduced this lesson today 2/24/2020. My high school juniors do not know enough of enslaved people in America. The difficult tasks begin tomorrow. This is a tough lesson to teach but important. Fingers croseed!
February 24, 2020
Fantastic lesson to use during Black History month. Works well for teachers wanting to engage student interest in The 1619 Project.
February 24, 2020
Excellent resource! Very informative and the students were interested
February 24, 2020
A wonderful way to introduce topics of Race in America.
Joan Lewis-Osborne
February 06, 2020