The 1619 Project — Controversy over the Role of Slavery and Racism in U.S. History

Course Leader(s)
Day of Week: Tuesday
Course Length: 10 weeks
Starting: 09/10/2024
Ending: 12/03/2024
Period of Day: Period 1 In-Person
Time: 9:45 - 11:15
Course Fee: $100

Course Description:

The 1619 Project is a long-term effort by journalists from the New York Times that took a critical view of the Patriots in the American Revolution, America’s founding fathers, and other revered figures, including Abraham Lincoln. The book argues that slavery and racism were central to America’s history. The project led to vigorous debate about whether America’s history is exemplary or fundamentally compromised. The 1619 Project—composed of essays written by scholars in their fields—has fueled debates about what we should be teaching about American history in our high schools — a topic that is likely to be raised during the 2024 election season.

This course will be a discussion course. One idea behind it is that we all should know more than we do and be able to discuss without fear. We shall read and talk about Born on the Water and The 1619 Project, A New Origin Story. We shall also read Africa Is My Home by Edinger & Byrd, as well as “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. These books bring information to us that is not necessarily new in time but new in our consciousness. Born on The Water is a children’s book addressed to all ages (as many children’s books are) about how some black people got to the United States; Africa Is My Home has a similar theme.

Please read Born on the Water, Africa Is My Home, and the preface of The 1619 Project prior to the first session. This will be a discussion course with full participation, and reading will average 70± pages per week, which should take approximately one and a quarter hours per week..

Books and Other Resources:

The 1619 Project, Nicole Hannah-Jones, ed. One World, 2021

Born on the Water, by Nicole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson. Kokila, 2021

Africa Is My Home, by Monica Edinger. Candlewick, 2013

“The Case for Reparations,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Atlantic Magazine, June, 2014. (PDF will be provided)

Course Leader Bio(s)

Brooks Goddard

I have been a lifelong teacher and learner in a variety of settings, mostly high schools. I’ve lived and travelled extensively in Africa and Asia. I’ve lived in Needham in the same house for over 50 years where I continue to garden and read. I have presented this course before.