By Joe Garvey

Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, the lead writer for the New York Times Magazine's "The 1619 Project," will be featured as the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies' Dean's Diversity Lecture speaker at 6 p.m. Sept. 16.

The virtual event is free and open to the ODU community and invited guests, but RSVP sare required.

Hannah-Jones, whose talk is titled "1619 and the Legacy that Built a Nation," will discuss "The 1619 Project" - a viral, multimedia initiative observing the 400th anniversary of the first African slaves arriving in America. Hannah-Jones' work explores the legacy of black enslavement on the nation, specifically, how black Americans pushed for the democracy we have today. She examines how, despite our progress, we must remain vigilant in the fight against racial inequality.

"The Darden College of Education and Professional Studies is thrilled to have Nikole Hannah-Jones speak to the ODU community and invited guests about racial injustice and how we can engage in systemic change," said Tammi Dice, the college's interim dean. "This is one of many initiatives from the college to include faculty, staff and community members in continued dialogue to surface and address systemic barriers, promote a more inclusive and equitable community and support social justice in the professional disciplines for which we prepare our students."

The initiative is now being primed for a global audience after Hannah-Jones and the New York Times announced a collaboration with Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate to turn 1619 into an expansive portfolio of feature films, television series and other content.

"The 1619 Project" also partnered with the Pulitzer Center to develop curricula based on the work of Hannah-Jones and her collaborators to some 4,500 classrooms since August 2019.

Highlights of the Center's 1619 Project education work include:

  • Tens of thousands of students in all 50 states engaged with the curricular resources, which include reading guides, lesson plans and extension activities.
  • Tens of thousands of copies of the magazine were shipped by The New York Times and the Pulitzer Center to students and educators at K-12 schools, community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other campuses.
  • Five school systems adopted the project on a broad scale: Buffalo, N.Y.; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Wilmington, Del.; and Winston-Salem, N.C.

Hannah-Jones told ESSENCE magazine that 1619 has "an amazing legacy," especially "when I think children all over this country will be learning a different version, and one that challenges our assumptions, and one that I hope really highlights the contributions and struggles of Black Americans."

Before joining The New York Times, Hannah-Jones was a reporter at the investigative reporting firm ProPublica and at newspapers in Oregon and North Carolina. Her reporting earned the 2015 Peabody and Polk awards, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for public service, the Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting, among others, and the 2017 National Magazine Award. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and earned her master's from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Media and Journalism.

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