Book Review: “The 1619 Project” by Nikole Hannah-Jones

I rarely read non fiction. It’s hard for me to pay close attention, I find myself having to re-read paragraphs, sometimes whole pages. But, in the case of The 1619 Project, by Nikole Hannah-Jones, I made an exception. It all started when…

A few weeks ago, my granddaughter and I were discussing how little we actually learned in high school social studies. In my case, I was bombarded with dates to memorize–dates that I could never remember and that ended up having little significance for me. It wasn’t until I discovered historical novels as a young adult that I really became immersed in history: here was something I could relate to and–in the process of reliving history–I learned a lot that I’d missed in history class.

When I read a news article about The 1619 Project, my interest was piqued. An alternative look at U.S. History, The 1619 Project is a collection of essays on how racism influenced the making of our country. Chapters include commentaries on how politics, religion, race relations, health care, and music have influenced and are influenced by our country’s collective presumptions about the culture and characteristics of both the Black and white races.

In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the English colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.

The New York Times Magazine, August 14, 2019

Every chapter gives the reader “food for thought.” How much of our way of life would be different–and how different–if the Black-white relationship had not been so imbalanced? I can’t say I always agreed with the essayists’ points of view, but, at the very least, their opinions were thought-provoking.

For that reason alone, I recommend you have a look at The 1619 Project. It’s going to make you think.

*Feature image credit

3 thoughts on “Book Review: “The 1619 Project” by Nikole Hannah-Jones

  1. If you were intrigued by “The 1619 Project” you might be inspired by “The Sum of Us”, by Heather McGee

    McGee is a public policy specialist who writes about how whites in America have shot themselves in the foot by historically supporting racist public policy that also hurt themselves and ultimately squeezed the life out of the middle class. But she also writes about how, through her recent travel across the country and interviews with both law makers and average Joes, she found increasing support for and activity in multi-racial public policies.


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