The Perfecters of Democracy – Reading & Panel Discussion with Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times

[Newark, New Jersey, November 19, 2019] On Wednesday, November 20, 2019, the Newark Board of Education proudly welcomes world-renown author and investigative reporter for the New York Times, Ms. Nikole Hannah-Jones, to Weequahic High School in Newark, New Jersey.

Ms. Hannah-Jones will visit with students from multiple History and English Language Arts classes from American History and Weequahic High Schools. Students will have the opportunity to hear her read from her essay, “The Idea of America.”

After the New York Times published The 1619 Project in August, 2019, it became clear to the leadership team of the Newark Board of Education, that these writings represented important history for high school students. The work commemorates the 400th year of when the first enslaved Africans were first brought to what would become the United States. “For the last few months, we have been working with representatives from the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies and leaders from other school districts, to create Amistad-related curricula,” explained Dr. Mary Ann Reilly, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. “After reading The 1619 Project, I knew we needed to reach out to Ms. Hannah-Jones and invite her to come to Newark. I was so pleased when she quickly agreed.”

A unit of study pertaining to The 1619 Project was developed and shared with high school English and US History teachers who have been working with students. As a result, students have produced three original performances focusing on Ida B. Wells, Simeon Booker, and Emmett Till that will be presented at this event.

One of my favorite quotes is “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,” said Deputy Superintendent Nicole Johnson. “Over the past few weeks, students across our City have been involved in learning and studying The 1619 Project. As educators, it is often challenging to motivate students to love history and be genuinely involved with the texts, themes and issues. The 1619 Project has sparked a love of history with our students and it is exciting to watch,” she concluded.

“Ms. Hannah-Jones has done groundbreaking work as an investigative reporter, covering such topics as civil rights, segregation and racial injustice to name a few” said Superintendent of Schools, Roger León. “We have shared this critically acclaimed body of work with our students through curriculum, bringing the Amistad Commission to life,” he added.

Following the event at Weequahic High School, Ms. Hannah-Jones will close out the day at Central High School, featuring performances by students, poets and a panel discussion on “The Perfectors of Democracy.”