Activists and Journalists as Co-Creators and Co-Revisionists of U.S. Histories: The 1619 New York Times Project

Elaine Almeida, Sue Robinson


This article explores the 1619 Project of The New York Times (NYT) on the 400th anniversary of the first ship carrying kidnapped and enslaved people from Africa to what would become Virginia in the United States. NYT investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones compiled the works of 27 academics, artists, poets, writers, and other activists to argue that that ship landing represented a more authentic birthday for the United States than the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence. The essays, photo collages, features, poems, and other media reflect what we consider to be an output of Black Radical Thought and Tradition, representative of an emerging genre of journalism that eschews what some are calling “false objectivity” in favor of justice, equity, and authenticity. In this blending of journalism and activism, we use the 1619 Project as a case study of how authors from each tradition can use both journalism and activist practices to articulate traditionally othered or marginalized stories, presenting a possible way forward for a nation forced into a racial reckoning with its past, present, and future.



1619 Project, race, activism, journalism, Black Radical Tradition

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