"When I read about the release of The 1619 Project, I knew I wanted my high school students to engage with the materials. They devoured the articles that touched on cultural appropriation, sugar cane production, mass incarceration, wealth, medical inequality, and even traffic. They spoke with passion about the 'Idea of America' and with pride about the role of Black people and immigrants in bringing democracy to life. It was as if the students had always felt these ideas in their marrow, but now they were seeing them printed in memory of all the enslaved and disenfranchised people whose blood had been shed in their forming.
"It is without question that The 1619 Project is a life-changing work, and the questions, statements, and literature it inspires in its young readers will broaden perspectives and more fully inform our nation of the weight and greatness of being an American."
- Clare Berke, high school English teacher in Washington, D.C.
"My critical position as a teacher of history is focused on supporting my students as we engage in critical scholarship of our country's past to better understand and change the world we live in today. It is what makes history key to our understanding of who we are and how we got here. Providing a space for students to explore, question, and read about the deep, inspirational, and often horrible interwoven experiences of people, communities, and structures is central to shedding light up and making relevant our past to young people. The 1619 Project has been a key resource in rising to meet that challenge. I have shared and engaged with The 1619 Project (and the resources of the Pulitzer Center) for two years and it has never ceased to be the most engaging reading my students have done. This is the piece that has students demanding to talk about it right away, feeling like, for the first time, there is a reading that is speaking directly to them, challenging them to think about what they have learned about our country and demanding to know more. They eagerly engage in the work, compare it to what we have studied and it continues to provide the framework for our later topics. It makes clear the connection between the past and our present. It makes a space for my students and myself to engage in this difficult learning together. For all of my students, all students of color, it is infuriating and inspiring and they see their lived experiences in its words. For my majority Black students it provides a sacred space to see their reality, their communities as a wealth of assets and undiscovered stories of their agency and ongoing demand and dedication for the enumerated ideals of our nation even under the most brutal of systems and most violent of barriers."
- Elizabeth Robbins, high school history teacher in Chicago
"As an ELA educator, I used The 1619 Project to help students understand the power of rhetoric and how language has been used to shape culture, society, and our world views. We took a deep dive into this work in order to evaluate, assess, reflect upon, and challenge the historical records and narratives we have been taught about how our country gained its power and wealth. Many students originally questioned the counter-narratives presented through The 1619 Project's essays, but ultimately appreciated the opportunity to explore, debate, and grow through deep and authentic inquiry surrounding topics introduced through this work. They reported that our studies enriched their lives in immeasurable ways, and helped to prepare them for the harsh realities they soon had to face with all of the race-based conflicts that arose early this year…all products of racist systems that stem from the year 1619. The students were so passionate about this work that they created and delivered a presentation at a recent board meeting to advocate for the teaching of The 1619 Project, as a result of recent efforts by politicians to ban its use as a curricular resource within U.S. public school systems.
"I have seen my students, and their writing abilities, transform throughout our inquiry into this project. No matter if they began the study with skepticism, they ended it with appreciation for Nikole Hannah-Jones and the light her work shed on the white-washed historical narrative that had been taught as truth. Their curiosities and collective passion to learn, dig deeper, challenge single-storied narratives, and to use their voices to advocate for systemic changes has inspired me to fight for all schools to teach history in ways that truly honor and acknowledge the stories, experiences, and accomplishments of all Black and Brown people whose lives have been overlooked and devalued through the telling and teaching of history within our country."
- Christina Sneed, high school English teacher in St. Louis, MO
"DC Public Schools has used The 1619 Project to support more culturally responsive teaching in social studies classes. We strive to use a curriculum that is inclusive of multiple perspectives and critiques dominant narratives. We want our students to engage with each other through an inquiry-centered process so they can encounter windows into experiences different from their own but also perspectives that reflect their identity. The 1619 Project provided the DCPS with sources that challenged some traditional narratives about American history and decentered whiteness in ways that few other curricular sources have done. With support from the Pulitzer Center and The New York Times, DCPS provided copies of The 1619 Project to middle and high school teachers of U.S. History, African American History, and World History courses to use as a supplement to district-created curriculum."
- Scott Abbott, director of Social Studies for DC Public Schools