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Counter Narrative: Black Americans, the 1619 Project, and Nikole Hannah-Jones | GZERO World

Counter narrative: Black Americans, the 1619 Project, and Nikole Hannah-Jones

According to the 1619 Project's’ Nikole Hannah-Jones, America was founded on liberty, equality, and…slavery. The institution of slavery, she argues, was the foundation upon which the country achieved its economic and political greatness. It’s a claim that set the cultural world on fire when the 1619 Project was published in the New York Times in 2019 and now, as she compiles and expands upon that project in a new book, controversy has erupted once again.

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Nikole Hannah-Jones Pushes Back Against "Disqualifying" 1619 Project Criticism | GZERO World

Nikole Hannah-Jones pushes back against "disqualifying" 1619 Project criticism

Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones has often had to defend her work as the creator of the 1619 Project, a piece of modern journalism that has gained as much praise on one end of the US political spectrum as it has sparked outrage on the other.

Hannah-Jones admits some of the criticism was fair game — and that's one reason she’s just published an extended version of the project in book form, entitled The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story. But she rejects those who’ve tried to disqualify her and the project.

"People were saying these facts are wrong... [and] that this journalism needed to be discredited, and that's not normal," she explains. "And I don't agree with that type of criticism because... it's not true.”

According to Hannah-Jones, part of the problem is the mistaken perception that the 1619 Project claimed that slavery was uniquely American. It did not, she says, but did argue that the history of US slavery is quite exceptional in another way.

"There is something clearly unique about a country engaging in chattel slavery that says it was founded on ideas of individual rights and liberty. And that was not Brazil. That was not Jamaica. That was not any of the islands in the Caribbean. They didn't pretend to be a nation founded on God-given rights. We did."

Watch all of Hannah-Jones' interview with Ian Bremmer on the upcoming episode of GZERO World.

1619 Project’s Nikole Hannah-Jones on the Rittenhouse Verdict | GZERO World

1619 Project’s Nikole Hannah-Jones on the Rittenhouse verdict

When Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all counts, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who created the "1619 Project" tweeted: "In this country, you can even kill white people and get away with it if those white people are fighting for Black lives. This is the legacy of 1619." In an upcoming interview with Ian Bremmer, she explains why she saw the verdict as a consequence of this country's long history of double standards when it comes to racial justice. "The fact that we own more guns in this country than any other country is certainly a legacy of 1619" Hannah-Jones says. "This idea that white Americans can patrol, that they have the right to open carry, this is not something that Black Americans can engage in, in the same way." Watch her full conversation with Ian Bremmer in an upcoming episode of GZERO World.

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