The 1619 Project A New Origin Story

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story expands on the long-form journalism from Pulitzer Prize-winner Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times Magazine. The reporting reframes American history to consider the Black American experience; the book expands on the original publication with new contributions and peer revisions from several historians. The expanded content continues the project’s work of revealing previously under emphasized history and contextualizing still-prominent systems of race and caste.

The theme of water is strong throughout the text. A photograph of sea and gray sky, meant to evoke the Middle Passage of enslaved Black people to what would be America, was The New York Times Magazine cover when the work was first published in August 2019. Beclouded, a 2018 seascape by Black American artist Lorna Simpson, serves as the book’s cover art now.

Each chapter opens with a photograph and chapter title and is bookended with poems and essays by some of the country’s smartest people. The rich content challenges the reader–and also the book layout. 

The table of contents helps forge a path through it all and the formatting of each chapter is designed to both thematically consolidate the content and clearly distinguish individual contributors. It’s all built using The New York Times Magazine typefaces.