Four hundred years after enslaved Africans were first brought to Virginia, many Americans still don’t know the full story of slavery, or understand the many ways its legacy continues to shape society in the United States. The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times to correct the record, reframing the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the national narrative.
The project takes its name from the moment in August 1619 when a ship appeared off Point Comfort, a coastal port in the English colony of Virginia, carrying more than 20 enslaved people from the African nations of Ndongo and Kongo. These people were sold to the colonists, marking the beginning of the system of chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began.
The 1619 Project was introduced with the Aug. 18, 2019, issue of The New York Times Magazine, an ambitious collection of journalism and historical inquiry that examines the many aspects of contemporary American life that can be traced back to slavery. That same day, the magazine also published a broadsheet section excavating the untaught history of the slavery era.
The 96-page magazine contains more than 80 pages of historical essays. It also includes 17 original literary works by contemporary black writers that bring to life key moments in African-American history, and original artwork by leading black artists.
The 16-page newspaper section, produced in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture, explores slavery’s disturbing history.