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SpeakHER50 - Nikole Hannah Jones

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Nikole Hannah-Jones’ controversial book The 1619 Project officially hit the web on Nov. 13, and it’s already within the top 100 bestsellers list on and Barnes & Noble, AP News reported. Soon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning piece will be sold at a few independent bookstores across the U.S. due to The New York Times staff writer’s partnership with One World Publishing, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

“The 1619 Project” was introduced to the world almost two years ago when a special issue of NYT brought critical race theory to the forefront. Written by Hannah-Jones, the long-form journalism endeavor aimed to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the center of the United States’ complicated history and national narrative.

The book features essays on religion, music, and politics from a number of esteemed writers, authors, and thought leaders in the world of racial justice and poverty including “Matthew Desmond, Bryan Stevenson…to Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins,” AP News noted.

“It’s just such an amazing part of this book,” Hannah-Jones said of the book’s diversity. “It gives you these beautiful breaks between these essays.”

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While some folks are eagerly awaiting their copy, others have strongly contested “The 1619 Project’s” content, citing that the piece sparks too much debate over racism and the country’s origins. The controversial piece has been used in some schools across the country to teach critical race theory. A slew of education officials and politicians have slammed the move including Sen. Tom Cotton from Arkansas he claimed that it was “reckless re-education” and that it sought to “reframe American history around the idea that the United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one.”  Cotton worked alongside the Trump administration to establish the “1776 Commission” report in November 2020, to fight back against what former President Trump called a “twisted web of lies” being taught in U.S. schools. Republicans argued that their “version” of the initiative would give American students a more “Patriotic” view of the United States’ core principles and how those ideas went on to spawn “the blessings of liberty.” Since the commission’s launch, dozens of bills around the country were proposed or passed to prevent the book from being implemented in schools, such as the Critical Race Bill that was signed into law by Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott in June that restricted how material from the project can be taught in classrooms, The Texas Tribune noted.

Hannah-Jones released another book this week called Born on the Water that addresses themes from the “1619 Project” for younger readers. The book features beautiful illustrations from Nikkolas Smith and is also backed by The Random House imprint for publishing.

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