In August 1619, as colonist John Rolfe wrote at the time, “twenty and odd Negroes” who were captured and taken from Angola arrived on the Virginia coast; they were promptly sold to wealthy English landowners, setting the stage for the American slave trade for centuries to come.
To recognize the 400th anniversary of the arrival of those first Africans in what would become the United States of America, The New York Times is launching what it’s calling The 1619 Project, a three-month editorial series anchored by a special issue of The New York Times Magazine, out Aug. 18, devoted to slavery’s history and legacy in America. The 1619 Project will also include a five-part audio series, recurring stories in the Times itself and a handful of live events in New York and Washington, D.C.—the sum total of which will be adapted for an educational curriculum designed in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center to be distributed to high schools and universities in the coming months.
Spearheaded by investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who covers racial injustice for the Times, the project has enlisted prominent black writers and artists to contribute, tackling topics including slavery’s impact on modern labor practices and the influence of race on medical care.
To find out more about the project, check out Ad Age's interview with with Hannah-Jones at The New York Times headquarters in Manhattan along with NYT Mag Labs Editorial Director Caitlin Roper, who has been involved in helping the endeavor manifest across multimedia and educational platforms.