mcloudyn.png
Thursday January 20th, 2022 2:28AM

Prize-winning 1619 Project now coming out in book form

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Thais Perkins is the owner of Reverie Books in Austin, Texas, and the parent of a middle school student and high school student. Among the books she is eager to have in her store, and in the schools, is an expanded edition of “The 1619 Project" that comes out this week.

“My store is a social-justice oriented bookstore, and this book fits very well within that mission,” she says. “I am promoting community sponsorships of the book, where people can purchase a copy and have it donated to one of the schools.”

That is assuming, of course, the school will be allowed to accept it.

The “1619 Project,” which began two years ago as a special issue of The New York Times magazine, has been at the heart of an intensifying debate over racism and the country's origins and how they should be presented in the classroom.

The project has been welcomed as a vital new voice that places slavery at the center of American history and Black people at the heart of a centuries-long quest for the U.S. to meet the promise — intended or otherwise — that “all men are created equal.” Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones received a Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

At the same time, opposition has come from such historians as the Pulitzer Prize winner Gordon Wood, who denounced the project's initial assertion that protecting slavery was a primary reason for the American Revolution (the language has since been amended) and from Republican officials around the country. Sen. Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, has proposed a bill that would ban federal funding for teaching the project, and the Trump administration issued a "1776 Commission” report it called a rebuttal against “reckless ‘re-education’ attempts that seek to reframe American history around the idea that the United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one.”

In 2021, Republican objections to the 1619 project and to critical race theory have led to widespread legislative action. According to Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education at PEN America, dozens of bills around the country have been proposed or enacted that call for various restrictions on books seen as immoral or unpatriotic. Two bills passed in Texas specifically mention the 1619 project.

“When you look at the current movement about critical race theory, you can see some of its origins in the fight over the 1619 project,” Friedman says.

The Texas laws, Friedman says, are “opaque” about how or whether a given school such as the ones attended by Perkins' kids could receive a copy of the 1619 book. He cites a passage which reads “a teacher, administrator, or other employee of a state agency, school district, or open-enrollment charter school may not ... require an understanding of the 1619 Project.” The provision “effectively bars a teacher from teaching or assigning any materials from the 1619 Project,” he says, but not the school library from stocking it — especially if the book has been donated.

A spokesperson for the Austin Independent School District says in a statement that the “academics team is currently working on this internally, and we are not yet able to speak to the issue.”

The 1619 book appears destined for political controversy, but it's also a literary event. Contributors range from such prize-winning authors on poverty and racial justice as Matthew Desmond, Bryan Stevenson and Michelle Alexander, to Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins, to “Waiting to Exhale” novelist Terry McMillan and author Jesmyn Ward, a two-time winner of the National Book Award for fiction. Along with essays on religion, music, politics, medicine and other subjects, the book includes poetry from the Pulitzer winners Tracy K. Smith, Yusef Komunyakaa, Rita Dove and Natasha Trethewey.

“It's just such an amazing part of this book,” Hannah-Jones says of the poems and prose fiction. "It gives you these beautiful breaks between these essays."

“The 1619 Project” book already has reached the top 100 on the bestseller lists of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Online seller Bookshop.org has set up a partnership with the publisher One World, an imprint of Penguin Random House, for independent stores such as Reverie Books to donate copies to local libraries, schools, book banks and other local organizations.

Hannah-Jones' promotional tour is a mix of bookstores and performing venues, and at least one very personal journey. She will make appearances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Free Library of Philadelphia. She will visit Waterloo West High School in her home state of Iowa, partner with Loyalty Bookstore and Mahogany Books for an event at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington and attend the Chicago Humanities Festival.

She also will speak at the annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English. Lynsey Burkins, who leads the council's Build Your Stack initiative, which helps teachers build their classroom libraries, says it was important to reflect a diversity of experiences in the classroom texts. Burkins, a third grade teacher in Ohio, says that it’s easier to engage students with topics like history when they can see themselves in the work they’re reading.

“The more books that we have in our menu, the more that students get to start learning about historical events in a way that is humanizing for them,” Burkins says.

Hannah-Jones says that reaching classrooms was not on her mind when she conceived of “The 1619 project,” but that schools have become important outlets. Through a partnership with the Pulitzer Center, which has teamed with the Times before, the project has been embraced by dozens of schools and educational centers around the country, from high school history faculty in Baltimore to grade school teachers in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to the advocacy group Texas Trailblazers for Equity in Education.

Hannah has a second book out this week. The Penguin Random House imprint Kokila is publishing the picture story “Born On the Water,” a collaboration among Hannah-Jones, co-writer Renée Watson and illustrator Nikkolas Smith that Hannah-Jones says she was inspired to work on after readers of the Times magazine asked for something addressed to younger readers.

It is a mini-history, with verse and images, that traces centuries of Black lives from their thriving communities in Africa to their forced passage overseas and enslavement to their hard-earned freedom. Those once “brokenhearted, beaten and bruised” became “healers, pastors and activists,” Hannah-Jones and Watson write, “because the people fought/America began to live up to its promise of democracy.”

Jess Lifshitz, who teaches fifth grade literacy in the Chicago suburbs, says that although she was familiar with “The 1619 Project,” she didn’t plan to directly incorporate the work into her classroom because of her students’ age. That changed when she received a preview copy of “Born on the Water.”

“It honors what children are able to wrestle with and grapple with, and I think so many books written for children underestimate what they’re capable of,” Lifshitz says. “With all the tension that is swirling around adults, sometimes it’s hard to remember what a beautiful picture book that tells an accurate story about history can do for the kids sitting in the room.”

___

Annie Ma, who covers education and equity for AP’s Race and Ethnicity team, contributed to this report. Follow her on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/anniema15

___

This story has been updated to correct a quotation in the second paragraph to read “social-justice oriented” instead of “socially justice oriented," and to add the word “up” in the quotation “America began to live up to its promise of democracy.”

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Business
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Prize-winning 1619 Project now coming out in book form
It began as a prize-winning magazine issue and became a cultural flashpoint, and now “The 1619 Project” is coming out as a book
11:11AM ( 17 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: Did Rittenhouse lawyers do enough to prevail?
When Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand to testify about his actions the night he shot three men on the streets of Kenosha — sobbing and seemingly unable to continue as he approached the critical moment where he shot the first man — it was one of the most compelling moments in his two-week murder trial
11:10AM ( 18 minutes ago )
The Latest: India tries to block coal phaseout from UN deal
India’s environment minister has sought to block efforts to include references to phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies in a deal proposed at this year’s U.N. climate summit
10:56AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Sinema's shift: 'Prada socialist' to corporate donor magnet
Twenty years ago, when Kyrsten Sinema was a Green Party activist running for the Phoenix City Council, she likened the practice of raising campaign cash to “bribery.”
10:01AM ( 1 hour ago )
More turn to abortion pills by mail, with legality uncertain
COVID-19 and state abortion restrictions like a near-ban that took effect in Texas in September have people with unwanted pregnancies increasingly considering getting abortion pills by mail
9:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden bill would give local news outlets 'shot in the arm'
President Joe Biden’s $1.85 trillion social spending bill includes a provision that, if it becomes law, would mark the first time the federal government has offered targeted support to local news organizations
9:09AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Federal court declines to lift stay on vaccine mandate
A federal court has declined to lift its stay on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more workers
12:05AM ( 11 hours ago )
Sister: Hawaii girl was inside dog cage and not breathing
A biological sister of a 6-year-old Hawaii girl reported missing by their adoptive parents told police that they forced her to keep it a secret that Isabella Kalua was inside a dog cage with duct tape on her mouth and nose and not breathing
9:26PM ( 14 hours ago )
UC Davis says baseball team hazed students with alcohol
A Northern California state university says its varsity baseball team engaged in an annual hazing of new players with challenges including dangerously excessive drinking and other inappropriate activities
9:24PM ( 14 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Kevin Magnussen pulled from Petit Le Mans with illness
Chip Ganassi Racing suffered a setback even before the start of the Petit Le Mans when star driver Kevin Magnussen was pulled from the lineup because of illness
9:48AM ( 1 hour ago )
EXPLAINER: Conservatorships and how Britney Spears was freed
A judge has ended the conservatorship that has controlled Britney Spears' life and money for nearly 14 years
11:14PM ( 12 hours ago )
Taylor Swift fans revel in ‘All Too Well’ film lyrics, clues
Taylor Swift’s short film of “All Too Well,” set to the tune of her expanded and re-recorded version of the song, has Swiftie Sleuths digging deeper into new lyrics and symbolism in the video
8:59PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Hong Kong authorities deny visa to Economist journalist
Hong Kong authorities have declined to renew a visa for a foreign journalist working for The Economist without any explanation
3:23AM ( 8 hours ago )
Rested negotiators hope to take climate talks over the line
Negotiators are streaming into the venue for the U.N. climate talks, hoping that a good night’s sleep will help them seal a deal that could credibly be said to boost the world’s efforts to tackle global warming
2:39AM ( 8 hours ago )
Jokic's triple-double leads Nuggets past Hawks 105-96
Nikola Jokic had 22 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists in his return from a one-game suspension, posting his second triple-double of the season to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 105-96 win over the struggling Atlanta Hawks
1:38AM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business
EXPLAINER: Did Rittenhouse lawyers do enough to prevail?
When Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand to testify about his actions the night he shot three men on the streets of Kenosha — sobbing and seemingly unable to continue as he approached the critical moment where he shot the first man — it was one of the most compelling moments in his two-week murder trial
11:10AM ( 18 minutes ago )
The Latest: India tries to block coal phaseout from UN deal
India’s environment minister has sought to block efforts to include references to phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies in a deal proposed at this year’s U.N. climate summit
10:56AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Parkland activists heal over years while pushing gun reform
The recent guilty plea by the shooter in the 2018 Parkland school slayings drew some renewed attention to the anti-gun March for Our Lives student movement
10:46AM ( 42 minutes ago )
SpaceX launches 53 Starlink satellites into orbit
SpaceX launched 53 Starlink satellites into orbit from Florida on Saturday
10:44AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Cold cash issues cause problems in global warming talks
U.N. talks to curb global warming have run into last-minute problems because of cold hard cash
10:37AM ( 51 minutes ago )