cover image The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

Edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones et al. One World, $35 (624p) ISBN 978-0-593-23057-2

In this substantial expansion of the New York Times Magazine’s 2019 special issue commemorating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America, Pulitzer winner Hannah-Jones (coauthor, The 1619 Project: Born on the Water) and an impressive cast of historians, journalists, poets, novelists, and cultural critics deliver a sweeping study of the “unparalleled impact” of African slavery on American society. In an enlightening preface, Hannah-Jones pinpoints the origins of the project in her reading of Lerone Bennet Jr.’s Before the Mayflower as a high school student, and discusses the political and scholarly backlash it’s received. Updated versions of the original 10 essays examine the struggle for African American voting rights and the centrality of Black music to American culture, among other topics, while new essays by Carol Anderson and Leslie and Michelle Alexander spotlight double standards in the application of self-defense laws and the police response to Black Lives Matter protests and the January 6 Capitol riot. Stories and poems by Claudia Rankine, Terry McMillan, Darryl Pinckney, and others bring to vivid life historical moments such as the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to “one of the first Black military brigades.” The result is a bracing and vital reconsideration of American history. Photos. (Nov.)