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The new Hulu docuseries, “The 1619 Project,” is giving hope to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.
“There’s a great deal of hope in knowing that all of the inequality we see has been constructed,” Hannah-Jones said in an interview with ABC News. “That means it’s not natural. It’s not innate. It doesn’t have to be that way.”
The show, based on the award-winning New York Times long-form multimedia project developed by Hannah-Jones in 2019, looks at American history through the legacy of slavery and how it still impacts the country to this day, centering on the contributions of Black Americans.
The first enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, Va., in 1619, the namesake of the project: “No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed,” the NYT project reads.
Hannah-Jones said she doesn’t often feel hopeful about America’s path toward racial justice. However, she said the series is full of hope, because she has “hope in Black people.”
The six-episode project, produced by Hannah-Jones, Oprah Winfrey and Roger Ross-Williams, will release two, one-hour episodes weekly starting on Thursday, Jan. 26.
The 1619 Project has conservatives running scared
According to Salon, right-wing outrage over The 1619 Project, but specifically, critical race theory, spans as far back as 2012 when Breitbart unleashed a fury over former President Barack Obama hugging Harvard professor and critical race theorist Derrick Bell.
During an acrimonious interview with CNN host Soledad O’Brien, then Breitbart’s Editor-In-Chief, Joel Pollak, exclaimed that “Derrick Bell is the Jeremiah Wright of academia.”
“Critical race theory is all about white supremacy,” Pollack added. “Critical race theory holds that civil rights laws are ineffective, that racial equality is impossible, because the legal and Constitutional in America is white supremacist.”
As one of the staunchest opponents against American history today, it’s unclear whether Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to ban Hulu from Floridian homes.
Despite manic critics sending everything from mean tweets to death threats, Hannah-Jones’ “The 1619 Project” has since taken several different forms – a 600-page book, a digital collection of essays, a podcast series, school curriculum adapted from the project and now a television show.
“I’m from Waterloo, Iowa. I come from working-class people, people who haven’t any further education than high school,” she said. “They want the information, they’re interested in the information, but how can they access that information?”
Hannah-Jones said “The 1619 Project” challenges the narrative of “American exceptionalism, that we are the freest, greatest country in the history of the world.”
ABC News reports the series, which touches on Hannah-Jones’ own upbringing, dives into the aspects of Black American life that continue to be touched by slavery: democracy, race, music, capitalism, fear and justice.
The series ends with an episode on justice that focuses on the reparations movement, or the movement to offset the impacts of the country’s racial injustices. She said she does this as if to ask the viewer to look for a way forward, a path in remedying the generations-long effects of slavery.