Two books from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones are the gifts that keep on giving. Twitter users excitedly showed off their copies of “The 1619 Project” and “The 1619 Project: Born on the Water.” Jones tweeted she was touched by the posts.
What began as a long-form project for The New York Times Magazine exploring the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the place now called America, the 1619 Project has spurred numerous discussions and projects. But social media users were particularly excited to find a copy of the book under the tree this Christmas.
As previously reported by NewsOne, “Born on the Water” is an adaptation of the award-winning exploration into the impact of slavery and Black resistance in America. Made with younger readers in mind, the book was co-written by award-winning author Renée Watson.
The story centers around a student who was given an assignment to create a family tree but can only trace her roots back a few generations. Her grandmother takes her on a generational journey; detailing her family’s origins in the Kingdom of Ndongo and the strong sense of pride, tradition and ancestral reverence embedded in African culture. The book also explores the harrowing experiences of enslavement, recalling how their ancestors were forcibly taken from their native land, traded, and brought to the U.S. nearly 402 years ago to be treated as property. The vibrant images—illustrated by Nikkolas Smith — and poignant prose captures dimensions of history that are often left out of standard school textbooks.
Smith previously told the Houston Chronicle “Born on the Water” is the type of book he wishes he had as a child.
Happy users posting pictures of the books had #1619Project trending on Twitter late Saturday afternoon into the early evening.
“Can’t wait to read this! My family totally gets me. Love it.”
“This is a perfect Christmas gift! The gift of truth in the hands of many across the country. Kudos to @nhannahjones on two exemplar books!”
“My son and daughter-in-law donated #1619Project copies to indie bookstores around the US in celebration of my recent 70th birthday,” tweeted user @miriammeister. “I’m a retired children’s librarian. Best birthday gift possible!!!”
“My wife got me a signed copy and I won a copy and gifted it to her! Can’t wait to start this reading #1619Project.”
Of course, conservative trolls couldn’t help but chime in claiming the book should be classified as fiction to one user boasting about giving her children two young adult works of fiction for Christmas. Sorry for them, but just because you don’t agree with something doesn’t make it false.