Letter to the Editor: The 1619 Project

Jordyn Martin 

Dear Editor for The Spokesman, 

I am writing this letter to propose the idea of The 1619 Project as a required reading for all undergraduate history courses at Morgan State University. 

Published in November 2021 by The New York Times, The 1619 Project, took the world by storm. 

The 1619 Project is a literary work that consists of 17 Black creatives and their pieces that dive deep into the roots of America’s racist system. These pieces include poems, pictures, essays, and short stories that highlight America’s continuous exploitation of Black people and provide reasoning for every single system within the country. 

It argues America’s celebrated birth date of 1776 and instead says it began around Aug. 20, 1619, when the first ship of enslaved Africans arrived in Point Comfort, Virginia. From that day forward, the exploitation and forced labor of Black people have plagued the American system and any person that lives in it.  

Within the book, the 17 creatives discuss racism in Western medicine, reasonings for traffic and impoverished areas, the history of sugar and explanations for common health issues within the Black community caused by sugar, racial violence, mass incarceration, and many other topics that make up the American system today. 

As an HBCU, all these topics have impacted the lives of the students that attend Morgan State University. The 1619 Project not only explains things that just seem like bad luck, but it also provides ways to combat all of these struggles placed on Black people.   

Regarding mental health, the majority of Black people have experienced depression at some point in their lives. The depression can always be traced back to racism. The problems always stem from monetary issues, lack of resources, yearning for relocation, and every other issues that were deliberately put in place by White people. Even abuse within the home and in certain neighborhoods have direct lineages to slavery. 

The 1619 Project forces readers to unlearn everything they know about themselves and the country they live in. 

The 1619 Project can aid students in understanding why they feel the way they do. It will validate their feelings and make them dig deep within themselves and heal traumas that they may have blamed on themselves or their circumstances. The 1619 Project will allow students to know that their environment is not their fault and that every single other Black American has the same experience in some form.  

I recommend that you personally read The 1619 Project. Along with the few reasons I have just listed, you will find more points on why this book should be a required reading. You will find the importance in the book and many connections to yourself and others around you no matter your race or background.  

I hope that you consider my proposal and agree that The 1619 Project is useful for every undergraduate history course at Morgan State.