She discussed the modern legacy of slavery in America in conversation with Dr. Christina Greer
NEW YORK —November 6, 2019— On Monday, November 18, the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University (NYU) and the Office of NYU President Andrew D. Hamilton hosted a fireside chat with Nikole Hannah-Jones, who is an award-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times Magazine and the creator of the publication’s 1619 Project.
Ms. Hannah-Jones and political scientist Dr. Christina Greer discussed the ground-breaking, interactive 1619 Project, which commemorates the 400th year of slavery in what would become the United States by examining slavery’s modern legacy and reframing the way we understand this history and the contributions of black Americans to the nation. Their discussion took place before an at-capacity audience of over 300 people, at the NYU Kimmel Center, the Rosenthal Pavilion.
Ms. Hannah-Jones described the public reaction to the 1619 Project in this manner: “It has been eye-opening for people to actually see the way architecture [that originated in slavery] was built into every aspect of American life; and for White people it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I had no idea my country was like this,’ and for Black people it’s like, ‘Thank you for actually giving me the tools and the knowledge and the history to argue the fact that I knew were true, but I didn’t have the basis and the facts to argue them.'” She also clarified that the 1619 Project was never intended to be a history lesson, but rather “the modern legacy of slavery” in America.
Said President Hamilton, “The best pieces of journalism, quite frankly like the best university courses, open up deeper levels of understanding and new perspectives on the world— and most importantly, they lead to probing and critical conversations. The 1619 Project accomplished all of those things.”
Dr. Michael A. Lindsey, executive director of the McSilver Institute, told the gathering, “The articles from the 1619 Project remind me that so much of what we’re fighting for in our work comes down to the original sin of slavery. That’s why I knew we had to have this conversation at McSilver, and at NYU. Conversations like this inspire us to provoke change – which historically hasn’t happened unless provoked.”
Ms. Hannah-Jones is a domestic correspondent for The New York Times Magazine. Her reporting has earned the National Magazine Award, a Peabody and a Polk Award. She was a 2017 MacArthur Fellow.
Dr. Greer is an Associate Professor of Political Science and American Studies at Fordham University and she was the 2018 Fellow-in-Residence for the NYU McSilver Institute.
Community co-sponsors for the event included Africana Studies at NYU Arts and Science; FPWA; New York State Conference of the NAACP; New-York Historical Society; Center on Race, Inequality and the Law at NYU School of Law; and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture—New York Library.