This guide serves as a companion and resource for the Valley Cottage Library's discussion series on "The 1619 Project," a publication of the New York Times Magazine, which marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to Jamestown, Virginia.
The series, facilitated by Beverly Braxton, begins a long overdue conversation about wide swaths of American history that have been omitted from our foundational education.
Beverly Braxton is a former public school educator who worked at all levels of the educational system: classroom teacher, PTA officer, school/district committees, and staff development. Since her retirement in 2010, Beverly has been teaching parenting workshops and in 2014, founded Family Central, a grassroots, non-profit parenting support network, based in Warwick. Ms. Braxton is a recipient of numerous teaching awards and honors, and continues to work as an education consultant, adjunct professor, and trained facilitator.
The series highlights the contributions of Black Americans and the many ways the legacy of slavery continues to shape society in the United States. The project includes essays, photos, stories, music and poems that challenge readers to examine their knowledge of U.S. history and provides a lens to understand the moment of racial reckoning we are in today.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Isabelle Wilkerson writes about the United States as an old house in her new book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents ~
"Not one of us was here when this house was built. . . .We are the heirs to whatever is right or wrong with it. We did not erect the uneven pillars or joists, but they are ours to deal with now. And any further deterioration is, in fact, on our hands. We must see past the plaster, beyond what had been wallpapered or painted over, as we now are called upon to do in the house we all live in, to examine a structure built long ago."