The 1619 Project is rich in resources. We hope that this page helps to clarify how all aspects of the project might be utilized in your teaching and learning goals. 

This guidance on using The 1619 Project cohesively is adapted from an extensive Educator Guide to the 1619 books created by Pulitzer Center staff in partnership with Penguin Random House. Download the K-12 Curriculum Guide here.

The 1619 Project: NYT Magazine Publication 

The 1619 Project was inaugurated with a special issue of The New York Times Magazine in August 2019. It includes essays by journalists and historians, as well as original creative works that bring to life consequential moments in U.S. history. Accompanying the writing are …

  • Photo essays
  • A broadsheet with primary source documents and artifacts curated by Mary Elliott, curator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • A K-8 section of the NYT about the lasting impact of slavery in the United States 

Teaching Tip: Classrooms studying journalism, writing, and media can talk about what it means for journalists and scholars to review and update their work by comparing essays in the original publication and with their expansions in A New Origin Story. They can also investigate how Born on the Water synthesizes the facts, events, and themes laid out clearly in this publication and weaves them together in a narrative form for younger audiences. 

Interact with the original 1619 Project in a dynamic way on the NYT Magazine website or read through the full PDF of the publication. The Pulitzer Center curricular resources developed for the original magazine publication are available at this link.

1619 Podcast

The 1619 podcast is a five-episode series (the last episode is two parts) that expands on major themes from the project. Some episodes align directly with essays included in the project and feature the essays’ authors as guest speakers. The two-part fifth episode is not built from one essay in the project, but ties directly with the themes throughout. It also pairs well with essays from The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story like “Race,” “Dispossession,” and “Inheritance.” 

Teaching Tip: The podcast format allows for the historical facts and events to be shared alongside personal anecdotes from the podcast narrators and contributors, as well as several sources of primary source audio from historical archives. These resources make the episodes a great tool for scaffolding conversations for students and a strong resource to pair with Born on the Water, which uses a similar narrative approach. Students can explore podcasting as a tool for teaching and learning and practice developing speaking and listening skills that allow them to share their own stories.

Listen to 1619 on the NYT Magazine website and explore our listening guides for the 1619 podcast in the curricular resource collection.

A New Origin Story

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story expands on the original magazine publication in a substantial way. Each essay provides a scholarly approach to the major topic or theme it centers and includes primary sources and references that can help students start to understand the nature of historiography and how scholars draw different conclusions and opinions while studying sources about the same events.

The impressive collection of creative works forms a literary timeline that allows for students to process themes in a different way and exposes them to an anthology of modern Black artists and writers. A New Origin Story shows students how critical thinking and historical research are necessary to fully understand the society around them no matter what their future goals and interests may be.

Planning Tip: Consider introducing the preface of The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story to educators as a source for evaluating the core themes and compelling questions explored by all of the essays and creative works. After educators review the preface to analyze the book’s core themes, encourage them to utilize the curriculum guide above, or the table of contents in the book, to identify essays and creative works that support their content standards and/or highlight themes that will engage students and support district goals. For a closer look at the core themes and compelling questions explored throughout The 1619 Project materials, educators can also start by listening to "Episode 1: The Fight for a True Democracy" from the 1619 podcast or review Born on the Water.

Teaching Tip: The essays and creative works model an abundance of writing strategies that students can use to practice their literacy skills. Students can engage with these texts to evaluate how authors ...

  • Structure nonfiction texts to support key claims
  • Organize details from multiple source to support main ideas and explore compelling questions
  • Apply literary strategies to communicate to shape meaning and tone, and to communicate a point of view or purpose

Find more tips for classroom implantation of the A New Origin Story in Penguin Random House's Teacher’s Guide for The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

Born on the Water

Born on the Water grounds the themes and goals of The 1619 Project overall in the lived experiences of Black Americans. The narrative begins with a story that mirrors the one Nikole Hannah-Jones tells at the end of her essay on “Democracy” in The 1619 Project: A New Origin: a young Black student unsure of how to complete a class project that asks students to share their ancestry. In this entry point alone the book brings forth the reality of how Black history, culture, and contributions to society have been overlooked and undervalued. The book then provides some of that story of origins and ancestry through the narrator. 

Teaching Tip: The structure, independent verses woven together, provides a useful tool for chunking the text and exploring themes with focus and intent. Each section of the book, as we divided them in this guide, aligns well with different essays, podcast episodes, and other elements of the project. 

Planning Tip: Born on the Water is equally useful as a tool for pre-work to support engagement with other texts from the project, and also as a tool for building enduring understanding after exploring other elements of the project. 

Teaching Tip: The illustrations support the text while telling a beautiful visual story of their own and students can study them alongside the photographs included in A New Origin Story and the photo essays from the original publication. 

Born on the Water is an origin story of its own and provides a model for sharing family, community, and historical narratives that will be accessible and memorable for all students.

Find more tips for classroom implantation of Born on the Water in Penguin Random House's Teacher’s Guide for The 1619 Project: Born on the Water.


The 1619 Education Impact Grant

The <em>1619 </em>Education Impact Grant

Explore Curricular Resources

Explore Curricular Resources