The Fourth of July in 1776 is regarded by most Americans as the country’s birthday. But what if we were to tell you that the country’s true birth date, the moment that its defining contradictions first came into the world, was in late August 1619?
That was when a ship arrived at Point Comfort in the British colony of Virginia, bearing a cargo of 20 to 30 enslaved Africans. Their arrival inaugurated a barbaric system of chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years and form the basis for almost every aspect of American life. The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times memorializing that event on its 400th anniversary. The goal of the project is to deepen understanding of American history (and the American present) by proposing a new point of origin for our national story. In the days and weeks to come, we will publish essays demonstrating that nearly everything that has made America exceptional grew out of slavery.
Join us at 7 p.m. Eastern for an evening of conversation and performance, streamed live below, featuring Nikole Hannah-Jones, Jamelle Bouie, Mary Elliot, Eve Ewing, Tyehimba Jess, Yusef Komunyakaa, Wesley Morris, Jake Silverstein and Linda Villarosa.