Jake Silverstein @jakesilverstein Editor in Chief of The New York Times Magazine; formerly at Texas Monthly; author of Nothing Happened and Then It Did; Oakland grown. Aug. 18, 2019 2 min read

Let us now praise the source. 1/11

Many people @NYTMag & @nytimes worked on (& are still working on) the #1619Project. Rough count = ~80. All of them, me included, were inspired, driven, encouraged--in a word, *led*--by the vision, intellectual rigor, ambition & charisma of 1 amazing person: @nhannahjones 2/11

Nikole is a national treasure. She's one of the most tenacious & profound journalists you will ever encounter, in any era. And this project is hers, through & through. She often said, when we were working on it, that she felt like her whole life had been leading up to this. 3/11

She hatched the idea, envisioned the special issue, amassed the contributors, developed the concept, made many of the assignments, crafted the ideas, pitched it to sponsors, secured funding for bonus distro, helped guide the editing, rallied the team on deadline... 4/11

...launched the finished product into the world with a spectacular event, and this weekend is personally hand-delivering print copies to readers our of the back of her car. 5/11

And in the midst of all THAT, she wrote one of the most profound essays abt American history & identity that you'll ever read. Nikole's essay for the #1619Project, which I think of as its keynote address, is something that will be studied for generations. It's that profound. 6/13

If you haven't yet read it, here's the link. Stop reading this thread and read that instead:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/black-history-american-democracy.html  7/13

This is simply a piece of writing. It's not a VR film, or a social campaign, or a movie, or innovative digital storytelling. It's just words. But Nikole's words are so powerful, so deeply felt, thought, and learned that they can electrify your mind and change your life. 8/13

Every American should read this piece. It's painful & shameful, but it also fills you with pride, & it contains within it some incredibly deep ideas about the path forward, ideas that manage to balance aggressive truth-telling w/ a spirit of generosity, inclusivity and hope. 7/11

Yeah, hope. Nikole often says she's not a hopeful person--she knows too much history for that--but what is so moving to me about her project is that it contains so much hope... 10/13

...hope that readers will understand these truths, hope that those truths will eventually become self-evident for everyone, hope that someday they might set us free from the fears, hatreds & wrong thinking baked into our country from the beginning. 11/14

Hope, frankly, for America itself. 12/14

(And btw, that's what criticisms of the project generally fail to recognize: Nikole's vision is deeply and profoundly patriotic. Her essay is literally an argument for why black Americans should fly the stars and stripes.) 13/14

So let us all praise the brilliance and energy and vision of this remarkable person, the one and only @nhannahjones. And let's do what we can to keep lifting her up in the weeks/months to come. The #1619Project does not end this weekend. It only begins. 14/14

You can follow @jakesilverstein.


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