Hulu’s newly released docuseries, “The 1619 Project,” is narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winner Nikole Hannah-Jones and created in partnership with The New York Times Magazine. The series highlights the struggles Black Americans have faced for centuries and how their voices — or any advocates of Black people — are forced into silence.
Racial inequality has been an especially hot topic in the past few years; the Black Lives Matter Movement, the storming of the U.S. capitol and online voices sharing their stories of racial injustice are just a few examples of movements and events that emphasize discussions made in the docuseries. Through educating and interviewing, Nikole and her team debunk historical myths and recount events in history that concern race in a clear and proper manner.
The show describes how in 2020, legislators in Georgia attempted to pass voting restrictions that primarily targeted elderly, disabled and financially unstable Black Americans. These Black citizens attempted to complete their civic duty of voting by going to their district-assigned voting booths. However, when they arrived they were told that they did not have permission to vote at those particular booths, and were asked to try voting at the next county over. The state had “accidentally” mismatched them with the incorrect county of their residences. Unfortunately, the victims of this “mistake” knew better than to believe it was truly an accident. In addition, Georgia schools around this time attempted to ban discussions of racial theory or anything regarding The 1619 Project as they deemed it a form of propaganda.
As someone from Georgia, I am embarrassed and disgusted by these actions. More so, I feel ashamed that I was not fully made aware of these actions and their extent when they were actively happening. Of course, that could have been my own fault for not immersing myself into these major events as much as I should have, but at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if this is also because of a lack of publicization. Nikole notes that the U.S. has put the sacrifices Black Americans have made in the past, as well as the positive contributions they make to society off to the side. It is for this reason that The 1619 Project exists: to put these points at the forefront of American conversations.
In modern-day elementary and middle school history classes, children are taught that Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation out of the kindness of his heart. In the reality that Nikole reveals, he really did this because he knew that the white population would reject the idea of emancipating slaves, costing him his position. Therefore, he asked the Black population to leave the United States as a way to appease the whites when they would later hear the word “emancipation.” Black people refused to leave, but instead came to a compromise with Lincoln that he would allow them to fight in the Union Army. Since Lincoln was desperate for the presidential win, he agreed.
Some may call the contents of this show controversial, others may call them enlightening. At the moment, only two episodes of “The 1619 Project” have been released so far. It will take less than two hours of your time to give it a chance. There is no such thing as knowing too much, especially when it comes to a topic like this.