The 1619 Project

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What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New American Origin Story offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.

In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.

The New York Times Magazine‘s award-winning “1619 Project” issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself.

This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction-and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.

Featuring contributions from: Leslie Alexander Michelle Alexander Carol Anderson Joshua Bennett Reginald Dwayne Betts Jamelle Bouie Anthea Butler Matthew Desmond Rita Dove Camille Dungy Cornelius Eady Eve L. Ewing Nikky Finney Vievee Francis Yaa Gyasi Forrest Hamer Terrance Hayes Kimberly Annece Henderson Jeneen Interlandi Honorée Fanonne Jeffers Barry Jenkins Tyehimba Jess Martha S. Jones Robert Jones, Jr. A. Van Jordan Ibram X. Kendi Eddie Kendricks Yusef Komunyakaa Kevin Kruse Kiese Laymon Trymaine Lee Jasmine Mans Terry McMillan Tiya Miles Wesley Morris Khalil Gibran Muhammad Lynn Nottage ZZ Packer Gregory Pardlo Darryl Pinckney Claudia Rankine Jason Reynolds Dorothy Roberts Sonia Sanchez Tim Seibles Evie Shockley Clint Smith Danez Smith Patricia Smith Tracy K. Smith Bryan Stevenson Nafissa Thompson-Spires Natasha Trethewey Linda Villarosa Jesmyn Ward

© Nikole Hannah-Jones 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Critics Review

  • ***** [A] visionary work … imaginative, all-encompassing … the sheer breadth of this book is refreshing and illuminating, challenging each and every reader to confront America’s past, present and future

    BookPage (starred)
  • [A] groundbreaking compendium… bracing and urgent… This collection is an extraordinary update to an ongoing project of vital truth-telling

    Esquire, "Best Books of Fall 2021"
  • Readers will discover something new and redefining on every page … This visionary, meticulously produced, profound, and bedrock-shifting testament belongs in every library and on every reading list … [an] invaluable and galvanizing history … revelatory

    Booklist (starred)
  • This invaluable book sets itself apart by reframing readers’ understanding of U.S. history, past and present

    Library Journal (starred)
  • A sweeping study of the “unparalleled impact” of African slavery on American society… The result is a bracing and vital reconsideration of American history

    Publishers Weekly (starred)

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