#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • Marie Claire
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.
Cover image: Lorna Simpson Beclouded, 2018 © Lorna Simpson. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.
Read by a full cast, including:
Nikole Hannah-Jones, January LaVoy, Claudia Rankine, Nikky Finney, Janina Edwards, Dorothy Roberts, Shayna Small, Terrance Hayes, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Yusef Komunyakaa, Eve L. Ewing, Karen Chilton, Aaron Goodson, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Erin Miles, Dominic Hoffman, Adenrele Ojo, Matthew Desmond, Tyehimba Jess, Tim Seibles, Jamelle Bouie, Cornelius Eady, Minka Wiltz, Martha S. Jones, Darryl Pinckney, ZZ Packer, Carol Anderson, Tracy K. Smith, Evie Shockley, Bryan Stevenson, William DeMeritt, Jasmine Mans, Trymaine Lee, A. Van Jordan, Yaa Gyasi, Linda Villarosa, Danez Smith, Terry McMillan, Anthea Butler, Rita Dove, Camille T. Dungy, Wesley Morris, Natasha Trethewey, Joshua Bennett, Chanté McCormick, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Ron Butler, Kevin M. Kruse, Bahni Turpin, Gregory Pardlo, Ibram X. Kendi, JD Jackson, Jason Reynolds, and Sonia Sanchez
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Nikole Hannah-Jones’ Pulitzer Prize–winning project is a game changer for U.S. history. In 2019, to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship of enslaved Africans on these shores, Hannah-Jones oversaw a special New York Times Magazine issue dedicated to reexamining how slavery has shaped this country, which was then expanded and adapted into this invaluable audiobook. In powerful, thought-provoking essays and poems, several authors explore how slavery profoundly affected everything from the American Revolution to the development of the sugar industry to modern misconceptions about African American sexuality. We were bowled over by the way that a simple change in perspective—backed by rigorous research and analysis—can flip the script on so much history we normally take for granted. Hearing vital thinkers like Wesley Morris and Ibram X. Kendi delivering their deeply penetrating works makes the experience even more impactful. No matter what you think you know about America, The 1619 Project will expand your understanding.
Never felt more American
This book inspires me to believe that I am apart of the American story as not just blot but a beautiful and great distinction waiting to be understood. I bought this book after hearing the author in a news interview discussing critical race theory..this book is a deep dive into American identity and a must buy for any patriot
Truth built on Lies is Still a Lie
I have only read the first five sections and have been amazed at the new information I’ve learned. The first essay is experiential but the following ones are written compilations of facts on various subjects by learned historians. Some things most people already knew. Maybe we don’t know the number of slaves that were traded but we know about the trade, the middle passage, and the ships. So, some of this is not news. However, there is a great deal of information underlying those simple facts that we already knew. Being adverse to reading and drawing your own opinion is sad. I encourage everyone to read it. If you don’t want to buy it, get it from the library or share a used copy w a group of friends. It will be worth your while to see what all the hype is about.
Phenomenal and well researched
A must read. Excellent and well researched.