Reshaping and Reframing African American History with The 1619 Project Books

Posted by Pulitzer Center on December 21, 2021

The following reflection was written by Abigail Henry, who teaches African American history at Mastery Charter School in Philadelphia, PA. Henry shared the book The 1619 Project: A New Origin with her classes in fall 2021 as part of the Pulitzer Center-Penguin Random House 1619 Pilot Program. Henry is also part of the inaugural cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network.

I am pleased to share that The 1619 Project book has helped me reshape, rethink, and reframe how I teach African American History.  I have been teaching African American History for 10 years, and I feel like it’s finally this year that I am teaching African American history appropriately in a way that meets the needs and demands of my students. In the past few weeks I have become more equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage students in the important study of Black history. My students have worked hard in reading excerpts from The1619 Project essays and primary sources to accompany their understanding of the Atlantic Slave War, the contributions of Black Americans to the United States, and Black resistance. The most rewarding part of my experience teaching The 1619 Project is to witness the high level of cognitive engagement students are exhibiting as they discuss important details of labor camps, the economy of slavery, and the daily experiences of enslaved people.

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