The 1619 Project premieres January 26, 2023 on Hulu.
Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’ The 1619 Project comes to screens this week. The docu-series, based on her Pulitzer prize-winning collection of essays that first appeared in The New York Times Magazine, reframes the country’s history by examining the consequences of slavery and how Black Americans’ contributions to this country need to be a part of the national narrative. It’s a deeply personal project for Hannah-Jones, who shares her own African American origin story in the six-part series.
Along with her personal retrospect, the series shares the stories of the warriors who fought on the front line during the Civil Rights Movement, such as MacArthur Cotton, the former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) field secretary who was imprisoned and tortured during the fight for equality, along with modern-day activists still protecting our rights today.
EBONY: When you were first putting together The 1619 Project, did you know how much of an impact it would have on America?
Nikole Hannah-Jones: I had no idea when I first pitched this project more than three years ago, everything that this would become. It’s a project on slavery and its legacy, and this is a country that has willfully not wanted to grapple with those truths. So I didn’t know if anybody would care and the fact that this work has now become two books that are now a six-part documentary series is incredible. So many Americans have actually been grateful to learn this history and have wanted to better understand their country. It is deeply gratifying and surprising in many ways.
You get personal in the first episode, sharing the story of your father. Why did you decide to take this route?
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