The Patriotism of the 1619 Project

On August 20, 1619, a ship carrying about 20 enslaved Africans arrived in Point Comfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. 

If you have somehow missed the rollout of the New York Times 1619 project, I hope you will find time to get a printed copy, listen to the podcasts, or find  another way to catch up. This project – groundbreaking, truth-telling, and comprehensive – is a tremendously collaborative endeavor, created and led by brilliant journalist Nikole-Hannah Jones that offers a wide base of knowledge about America’s entanglement with enslavement, and how our systems have been designed to subjugate people, using the construct of race. The other great point made across the essays, the photos, the podcasts, and more is how deeply felt the patriotism is among black Americans who continue to patiently reach out to their fellow compatriots to try to explain what must be fixed.

Excerpts from Nikole-Hannah Jones’ August 14, 2019 NYT essay that introduced her 1619 Project:

They say our people were born on the water.

When it occurred, no one can say for certain. Perhaps it was in the second week, or the third, but surely by the fourth, when they had not seen their land or any land for so many days that they lost count. It was after fear had turned to despair, and despair to resignation, and resignation to an abiding understanding. The teal eternity of the Atlantic Ocean had severed them so completely from what had once been their home that it was as if nothing had ever existed before, as if everything and everyone they cherished had simply vanished from the earth. They were no longer Mbundu or Akan or Fulani. These men and women from many different nations, all shackled together in the suffocating hull of the ship, they were one people now.

What if America understood, finally, in this 400th year, that we have never been the problem but the solution?

..At 43, I am part of the first generation of black Americans in the history of the United States to be born into a society in which black people had full rights of citizenship. Black people suffered under slavery for 250 years; we have been legally “free” for just 50. Yet in that briefest of spans, despite continuing to face rampant discrimination, and despite there never having been a genuine effort to redress the wrongs of slavery and the century of racial apartheid that followed, black Americans have made astounding progress, not only for ourselves but also for all Americans.


 

 

Sept 6 interview w/ Nikole-Hannah Jones:

…what I’m arguing is that our founding ideals were great and powerful. Had we in fact built a country based on those founding ideals, then we would have the most amazing country the earth has ever seen.  But black people took those ideals very literally, and have fought to make those ideals real. And because of that, I say that we are — as much as the white founders whom we recognize — that we are the founding fathers of this country. So yes, it is patriotism, but not that type of blind, performative patriotism that is simply about trying to camouflage the nation’s sins and not trying to fight for the true ideals. But the type of patriotism, I think, that says: If you love your country, you have to fight to make your country the country that it should be.

Does any particular piece of criticism or praise stick out to you?

The criticism has been all about the framing, because people can’t actually criticize the facts.There was some critique that I was centering black people and not spending time on Native and Indigenous people, and I understand it to a degree. I did not want to render Native people invisible, but this was a story about chattel slavery. But I think it also speaks to how little good, comprehensive, smart, empathetic coverage we have of the two most marginalized groups in America, which are Native people and black people.

 

The 1619 Project at the New York Times

Nola Files: The First 20 Stories

The Nola Files is preparing stories of the most influential people and places in New Orleans history. To do this history project justice we need to first focus on the people and places that had the widest impact and connected with most of the city. Please look through some of these options and vote for those you think need to be our focus first.

In this survey you will vote on PEOPLE who stories must be told.

 

The First 20 Stories

Interview with editor of N.O Lit: 200 years of New Orleans Literature

Listen to The Anthology of Louisiana Literature‘s 2-part interview with Dr. Nancy Dixon, editor of one of the necessary books for any New Orleans scholar or armchair historian: N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature. Even if this brilliant woman wasn’t my pal, I’d still be urging you to get a copy. I open it up again and again to read her selections from different authors.

The 560 pages includes a well-curated set of short fiction and plays that reflect the city’s literary history, from Paul Louis LeBlanc de Villeneuve’s 18th-century play The Festival of the Young Corn, or The Heroism of Poucha-Houmma to Fatima Shaik’s 1987 short story “Climbing Monkey Hill.”

Dixon provides informative introductions to each author’s section, placing the works and their creators within the context of the city’s history and the history of its literature, making the anthology both an enjoyable artful artifact and an important academic resource.

Part 1

Part 2

Royal Street dig is underway

I talked for a few seconds to the very approachable team member who informed me that they were focusing on colonial artifacts and will gently place the later ones aside for others to peruse. This team is also doing two other digs presently, one in Treme.

Royal dig2

Their excellent website is found here

The owners of the site, information found on the website:

808-810 Royal St., Square 47, Lot 18525

  • From: Francois Picard To: Francois Balthzar Languille, Jan. 19, 1801 To: Francois Balthzar Languille, Jan. 1, 1808
  • From: Francois Balthzar Languille To: Pierre Maspero, Azelia Maspero, Zuline Maspero, Pierre Maspero, & Pliny L. Maspero; Jan. 3, 1828
  • From: Azelia Maspero & Zuline Maspero To: Pierre Maspero, Nov. 23, 1883
  • From: Pierre Maspero To: Emile B. Angaud, Jan. 2, 1884
  • From: Emile B. Angaud To: Henry Parlongue, Apr. 22, 1897
  • From: Henry Parlongue To: Eliza Redacher Camors Parlongue & Solidelle Lemelle Parlongue, Nov.26, 1907
  • From: Solidelle Lemelle To: Eliza Redacher Camors Parlongue, Dec. 7, 1907
  • From: Eliza Redacher To: Paul Camors, Emma Camors Musso, & Bertha Camors Angaud, Jul. 23, 1917
  • From: Emma Camors, Paul Camors, & Bertha Camors To: Joseph Petrie, Oct. 2, 1917
  • From: Joseph Petrie To: Petrie Realty Company, Inc., Jul. 12, 1927
  • From: Petrie Realty Company, Inc. To: Joseph Petrie, Dec. 2, 1935
  • From: Dorothea Reiser To: Rosa E. Petrie, Myrtle Ruth Petrie, Earl Joseph Petrie, Warren Petrie, Elaine Doris Petrie, & Joseph Petrie; Jul. 20, 1944
  • From: Joseph Petrie To: Rosa E. Petrie, Myrtle Ruth Petrie, Earl Joseph Petrie, Warren Adolph Petrie, Elaine Doris Petrie, Apr. 27, 1953
  • From: Myrtle Ruth Petrie To: Earl Joseph Petrie, Warren Adolph Petrie, Elaine Doris Petrie, & Benito Estalotte Johnson, Aug. 1, 1956
  • From: Rosa E. Petrie To: Benito E. Johnson, Aug. 8, 1956
  • From: Benito E. Johnson To: Edna Johnson Kenney, Oct. 1, 1981