Journalist and critical race theory activist Nikole Hannah-Jones announced the creation of the 1619 Freedom School this week.
“It’s not enough to succeed if your community is struggling. You have to try to pull people up with you,” Hannah-Jones wrote on Twitter. “I am so proud to announce the launch of the 1619 Freedom School in my hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, labeled in 2018 the worst place in U.S. to be Black.”
Hannah-Jones’ 5-day per week after-school program will be free to elementary school children primarily from Walter Cunningham Elementary School in Iowa and is designed to increase literacy and a knowledge of black history.
The hope is to develop a curriculum that could be expanded to communities throughout the country. The curriculum, she said, will be open sourced and made freely available.
Nikole Hannah-Jones won a pulitzer for her reporting contributions to the New York Time’s 1619 project. Developed by Hannah-Jones and the New York Times Magazine, the ongoing 1619 project aims to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States’ national narrative.”
“I used many lessons learned from years of reporting on segregated, high-poverty schools to found the 1619 Freedom School, a free, after-school program that infuses intensive literacy instruction with a Black history curriculum,” Hannah-Jones tweeted. “Our motto: Liberation Through Literacy.”
The school will focus on the history of American racism throughout its curriculum.
The founders also hope to use their curriculum to help influence students around the nation.
“We have partnered with educators from Georgetown University and the University of Missouri to design a literacy curriculum built around Black history,” the group said. “This curriculum will be available as an open sourced, free resources for communities across the country.”