LOS ANGELES - Black history is American history. That’s part of the message in "The 1619 Project." It won a Pulitzer Prize and expanded from a New York Times Magazine special, into an education curriculum, a children’s picture book, a podcast and now a docuseries.
Praise for the project in all its forms has been fierce. But the blowback has also been intense. The project’s creator Nikole Hannah-Jones says she expected criticism but didn’t predict how ugly it’s gotten.
"Now we've seen efforts to ban the project in states all across America. I couldn't have predicted that. I've been writing about racial inequality for two decades, and I've never seen this type of attack on the work," Hannah-Jones said.
Critical Race Theory or CRT is a decades-old academic examination of the way racism is embedded in legal systems and policies, usually taught at the law school level. 1619 is the year the first captive Africans were ripped from their country and brought to the Virginia Colony in chains. Hannah-Jones says instead of those factual definitions, 1619 and CRT have become boogeyman terms to stoke resentment.
"What's frustrating is that what we're calling critical race theory is really just a successful propaganda campaign that is targeted anti-racist texts and anti-racist teaching as a political wedge issue," Hannah-Jones said.
The 1619 Project docuseries is available to stream now on Hulu.