Starling of the Month - August 2019
The New York publication re-centers America's founding on the untold stories of the race that built it.
What do we really celebrate with each of America's birthdays? Is it freedom—is freedom truly the direct export of America's triumph and founding? Is it prosperity—does prosperity activate among Americans upon its inception? Maybe pride—maybe pride is what this behemoth nation has accomplished over its long, complicated history? Whatever it may be, it's clearly not consistent throughout. For the nearly 48 million Black Americans in the United States this is especially true. If one simply grazes over the history of this country, It becomes evident that it has never been guided with its founding ideals.
Four hundred years have now passed since the first enslaved people were brought to the shores of Jamestown, Virginia. With this anniversary comes a collection of articles, poems essays, and imagery all packaged together from the Times.
Featuring writers both within and outside of the Times, the 1619 project offers personal takes on often ignored aspects of slavery and its still-existing conditions. Nikole Hannah-Jones helms the direction and offers narration into her own familial history as a Black child growing up Iowa.
At length, the project explores not only the introduction of enslaved Africans to the shores of the new world but the continuing effects to this day. As slavery permeates through its lifespan into American culture, 1619 asserts the aspects of modern science, politics, infrastructure, economy and more have all been molded from the stolen labor of enslaved Africans. All in all, it's an interesting and emotional re-education of American history.
The New York Times receives designation as the Starling of the Month for exactly that reason. 1776 need not be the end-all and be all of American history. The hypocritical grievances of the declaration lead to the ideals later established in subsequent governing legislation, and of course, the Constitution. These ideals, of course, had not been present since transport of "20 and odd Negroes" to the Jamestown shores in 1619.
Read more about the families of the original enslaved Africans here.
See what Twitter had to say about the project below: