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The 1619 Project

A New Origin Story

by Nikole Hannah-Jones

The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones X
The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones
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Arthur M.

Compelling, eye-opening review of scholarship
Though each chapter is followed by literary reflections and a photo introduces each chapter, it is the documented scholarship marshaled to make each of the cases that stands strongest in the book‘s impact. Remarkable research has yielded new insights into the short life expectancy of enslaved and post-enslaved sugar cane workers in Louisiana. Genetic records show that enslaved women’s DNA is found much more broadly than for enslaved men. This reflects enslavers’ use of these women whose children were ruled slaves as well to expand their chattel wealth. Discussed too is the fear among whites of enslaved groups rebelling, from colonial days through the second amendment to the Constitution, that addendum at odds with the preamble’s call for “domestic tranquility.” In the present the lawlessness among the formerly enslaved in 2020-21 threatens a new backlash in federal elections in 2022 and 2024. The chapter on progress, really the lack of it, contradicts Obama’s message of hope. If reflected in the recent unrest, its impact will be disturbing. The brilliant work is long on diagnosis, while offering little constructive direction forward. But truth telling is the purpose of this book. It seems leave it to the rest of us to find solutions to problems and a path forward—community by community as well as within the nation. But leadership like Obama’s or Dr. King’s is needed to win both former enslaved and enslaver descendant minds to make effective change. Why no chapter by Obama? Not a scholar, though an author much respected, too.
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