Nikole Hannah-Jones, an award-winning investigative reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for The 1619 Project on Monday.
Hannah-Jones is the creator of the 1619 Project, The New York Times Magazine’s groundbreaking exploration of the legacy of Black Americans starting with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in 1619.
“The arts have the power to sustain, unite and inspire us during times of uncertainty and fear,” Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy said before announcing Hannah-Jones as a 2020 winner.
The New York Times’s 1619 Project commemorates the 400th year of slavery and documents how the brutal system of slavery on which the U.S. was built left a legacy that persists. Numerous black authors contributed to the project including essayists, poets, playwrights, scholars, and novelists who explored aspects of contemporary American life rooted in this history.
There has been criticism of the 1619 Project, particularly from conservatives, with the most noteworthy criticism coming from a group of five historians who wrote a letter to the Times expressing their concerns. A version of their letter along with a rebuttal from Jake Silverstein, Editor in chief of the Times, addressed those concerns.