Pulitzer Center Update August 16, 2019

Media Coverage of 'The 1619 Project'

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Artwork by Adam Pendleton in The 1619 Project, page 15. 2019.

The Pulitzer Center is proud to partner with The New York Times Magazine on The 1619 Project to...

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"The 1619 Project" from The New York Times Magazine

This post will be updated with significant coverage of 'The 1619 Project' and the Pulitzer Center's corresponding curricula.

Columbia Journalism Review

The Columbia Journalism Review highlighted the significance of The 1619 Project and the Pulitzer Center's curricula for teachers and students across the country in partnership with the magazine. 

"Inside the magazine, black reporters, novelists, poets, photographers, historians, and artists reframe American history, centering the arrival of those first few dozens of enslaved Africans, whose descendants would become the first African-Americans," Alexandria Neason writes. 

"Contributors consider various modern quandaries—rush hour traffic, mass incarceration, an inequitable healthcare system, even American overconsumption of sugar (the highest rate in the Western world)—and trace the origins back to slavery...Taken together, the issue is an attempt to guide readers not just toward a richer understanding of today's racial dilemmas, but to tell them the truth. For many, it may be the first time they've heard it," she continues.

Through the issue, readers begin to explore how and why American schools "failed to teach children this significant history," Neason writes, "and in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, the Times has offered curricula, including lesson plans, guides, and activities to help teachers bring this material into their classrooms."

To read the full article, please visit the Columbia Journalism Review site.

Education Week

"Most schoolchildren can recite the founding date of the United States of America: July 4, 1776. But a searing project from the New York Times Magazine changes that date to August 20, 1619—the day 20 enslaved Africans first arrived on Virginia soil," writes Madeline Will in an Education Week blog. 

Will spotlights the Pulitzer Center's curriculum to bring conversations about the legacy of slavery in America into classrooms. "The Pulitzer Center created a curriculum for teachers of all grade levels. The curriculum asks students to examine the history and legacy of slavery in the United States, as well as our national memory," she writes.

Last year, a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights and advocacy organization, found that there's no systematic approach to teaching slavery in schools—and lessons often leave out crucial aspects of this fundamental part of American history.  

"I wish, now, that I could go back to the younger me and tell her that her people's ancestry started here, on these lands, and to boldly, proudly, draw the stars and those stripes of the American flag," Nikole Hannah-Jones writes in her essay in the issue, "The Idea of America." 

"The reading guide for the issue includes broad questions that can be posed to students even if they're not ready to read the full project, [Senior Education Manager Fareed Mostoufi] said. And the Pulitzer Center pulled out quotes and key names, dates, and terms from each essay in the 1619 Project, so educators can identify which ones are right for their students," Will writes, continuing on to highlight the Pulitzer Center's various educational resources for 'The 1619 Project' and the Center's call for educators to share their own lessons developed from the 1619 Project. 

Already, Pulitzer Center Education Director Mark Schulte said, there's an incredible amount of interest in the project, and the essays are getting in the hands of people who might not normally read The New York Times

"I have to believe that this is going to really change the way history is being taught in this country," he said. 

To read the full blog, please visit the Education Week website

Katie Couric Media

"Part of the contention of the issue is that the structural legacy of American slavery is all around us, even if we don't see it — or maybe not all of us see it," The New York Times Magazine editor Jake Silverstein told Katie Couric in an interview about 'The 1619 Project.' 

In the interview, Silverstein highlighted the magazine's education partnership with the Pulitzer Center. "[The Pulitzer Center] has turned [the 1619 issue] into free curricula on their website. They have a network of schools all around the country that they work with to get this stuff taught. We will be sending some of our writers on multi-city tours to talk to students, and we will be sending copies of the magazine to high schools and colleges. Because to us, this project really takes wing when young people are able to read this and understand the way that slavery has shaped their country's history," he said. 

The issue of the magazine and the Pulitzer Center's accompanying curricula, Silverstein said, will hopefully spark discussion about the way that slavery reaches down into current systems and structures in the United States. "This wasn't supposed to only be a historical issue. In fact, I feel like that would've been a failure if it was all about the past. We very much wanted it to be a project that tried to help readers understand that certain aspects of this country were built during slavery, and we still live with these structures today."

To read the full interview, please visit the Katie Couric Media website.

Nonprofit Quarterly

"The New York Times has embarked on an ambitious new project, one that takes on not only the work done by the organization and its industry over the past two centuries but the entire scope of American history," writes Erin Rubin in Nonprofit Quarterly

Rubin notes the wide-ranging praise the project has already received. Ava DuVernay, director of When They See Us and other films exploring race in America, wrote, "A staggering, transformative endeavor has been successfully undertaken by @nhannahjones and team. The most dazzling array of thinkers on slavery's true impact on this 400th year of bondage. It's not a must-read. It's a whole experience."

"No project of reinvention can succeed without the artists, and they have not been overlooked here. Black literary luminaries like Jesmyn Ward (author of Sing, Unburied, Sing), Yaa Gyasi (author of Homegoing), and Yusef Komunyakaa, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, contributed to a new literature that explores the Black experience in America," Rubin continues, going on to draw attention to the Pulitzer Center's educational resources to bring issues explored inside the issue out into classrooms around the country. 

"The Pulitzer Center published a collection of reading guides, indices, and other material that can help educators use the lessons of the 1619 project to inform their teaching."

To read the full piece, please visit the Nonprofit Quarterly website.

National Catholic Reporter

"'The 1619 Project,'" the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) Editorial Staff writes, is "an undertaking of The New York Times that might well go down as a publishing landmark under the heading of bold truth-telling."

NCR cites the project's "unflinching" and "minutely researched" telling of the historical reality of slavery and its present-day ramifications. "It is timely, the kind of truth-telling essential at a moment when facts and fantasy have become fungible. The bottom line: These are ugly realities that have resonance in nearly every corner of contemporary life in the United States. They need to be taught as an irreducible element of our history. To that end, The Times has printed hundreds of thousands of extra copies distributed free to libraries, museums and schools. Additional materials are available, including podcasts and a broadsheet page by Hannah-Jones on the subject for kids. The publication has also produced, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, a curriculum to be distributed in schools across the country."

The editorial issues a call to action: "Demand that your school—public, private, Catholic or other religious institution, charter or home—include the curriculum as a required course of study."

To read the full editorial, please visit the National Catholic Reporter website.