About these Resources:
These activities for afterschool educators give various entry points into exploring multimedia components and text excerpts from The 1619 Project in order to spark students' creativity, teamwork, critical thinking, and media literacy skills. In addition to examining the history and the legacy of slavery in the United States, these resources guide students in celebrating the contributions of Black Americans to democracy and exploring the genius of Black innovators and artists. Each activity is designed for facilitation across one or two 45-minute sessions. They can be completed in any order, but we recommend beginning with at least one activity from the introductory module to provide a strong foundation for further exploration.
How to Access the Resources:
Below, you will find an outline of the activities available to afterschool educators. The complete activities, including step-by-step instructions, downloadable worksheets, and facilitation tips, are hosted on Mizzen, a free app to help afterschool professionals deliver exciting learning opportunities that inspire, engage, and empower young learners. Register for free below! You can find out more about this content partnership here. Please reach out to us at [email protected] with any questions.
Introductory Module Activities:
1. Introducing The 1619 Project
Students analyze and discuss the main ideas of The 1619 Project after watching a video in which Nikole Hannah-Jones introduces the project. They then explore how the legacy of slavery can be seen in modern life through a pair activity, and reflect on themes and issues related to Black history they want to know more about.
2. The Idea of America: Celebrating Black Americans' Contributions to Democracy
Students evaluate how the values stated in the Declaration of Independence have manifested in U.S. society, and examine what it would mean to reframe U.S. history by considering 1619 the country’s founding date. Students read and discuss excerpts from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’s introductory essay to The 1619 Project.
3. Visualizing the Legacy of Slavery: Gallery Walk and Quote Museum
Students will learn about the ways in which slavery’s legacy persists in U.S. systems and society by examining images and text in an engaging gallery walk activity. They will also practice visually communicating tone and information to others by creating a group “quote museum.”
4. Fact-sorting Challenge: Examining Common Myths About U.S. Slavery
Students learn about common inaccuracies in how slavery is taught and then strengthen their own knowledge and media literacy skills by working together to distinguish myths from facts, using credible sources.
5. Analyzing and Constructing Timelines of Racial (In)justice
Students reflect on how myths about history are perpetuated, analyze a timeline of racial (in)justice from The 1619 Project, and collaborate to build timelines that illustrate how the fight for racial justice continues in their own lifetimes.
Activities for Further Exploration:
1. Symbols of Democracy: Exploring the 1619 Podcast
Students develop a deeper understanding of how the U.S. is still working to achieve its ideals by engaging with the 1619 podcast episode 1, “The Fight for a True Democracy." Students will develop personal definitions of democracy and freedom, and will share a symbol of democracy as they define it using visual art.
2. Exploring Primary Sources from The 1619 Project
Students examine primary sources on the history of enslavement, curated by Mary Elliott of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
3. Highlighting Underreported Stories About Black Innovators
Students explore the meaning of the word innovator, analyze two stories about Black American innovators from The 1619 Project, and conduct their own research on underreported stories about Black American innovators.
4. Reclaiming Narratives: Creative Accounts of Black History
Students explore creative accounts of underrepresented or misrepresented events in Black history. After considering the power of creative writing as a means to process and interpret history, they will write their own creative reimagining of a historical event.
5. Freedom, Resistance, and Genius in Black American Music
Students learn how Black American music has helped to change and define American culture and history, and create a playlist of songs by Black American artists that they believe portray freedom, resistance, and genius.
6. Erasure Poetry as Resistance
Students discuss what erasure means, and how it can be used both as a tool of oppression and resistance. They then explore examples of poems that use erasure to question, challenge, and subvert existing texts, and create erasure poems of their own in the spirit of resistance.
Invite a Journalist to Join Your Classroom!
Would you like to host a Pulitzer Center-supported journalist in your afterschool program or K-12 classroom to support the exploration of themes related to The 1619 Project?
Here are a few examples of journalists who may be able to join your class to share their reporting on racial justice and issues affecting Black Americans.
- C. Zawadi Morris, the founder and editor of a BK Reader, who has been documenting COVID-19's impact on Black and brown communities in Brooklyn, NY, through a project inspired by The Federal Writers Project.
- Melissa Bunni Elian, a photojournalist and writer who reported on how Afropunk connects the African Diaspora not only through music, but also socially and politically.
- Arionne Nettles, a multimedia journalist and scholar who reported on how museums are responding to and documenting the movement for racial justice, including a children's museum of African American history in Chicago.
- Rickey Ciapha Dennis Jr., a journalist in South Carolina who has been reporting on environmental racism.
- Noreen Nasir, a video journalist with the AP who reported on how former "Sundown Towns" are reckoning with their legacies and contemporary realities of racism amid the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Gloria Browne-Marshall, a journalist and professor who wrote and produced a journalistic play about police shootings of Black men and boys in the U.S.
- Gavin McIntyre and Jennifer Berry Hawes, a reporting team who examined the life, writings, and legacy of Omar ibn Said, a Senegalese scholar enslaved in the U.S.
- Brian Palmer, a journalist who has been reporting on the disproportionate impact of evictions on Black and brown communities.
- Francesca Bentley, a journalist who reported on immigrants' experiences with racism in the U.S.
- Melba Newsome, a journalist who is reporting on inequities in vaccine distribution and the role of race in vaccine hesitancy.