The Hulu docuseries of The 1619 Project purports to “examine how the legacy of slavery shapes different aspects of contemporary American life.” But the program, which began airing right before the start of Black History Month, isn’t telling the whole story. Viewers won’t hear about Americans’ remarkable resistance to and triumph over slavery, which led to flourishing black communities and unprecedented achievements. Without that context, it’s impossible to understand the real black American story.
Black History Month would have been a great occasion to make that complex but victorious narrative better known. Black history is full of generous spirits, brave leaders and heroes who demonstrated virtue and achieved success in the face of adversity. And—perhaps above all—it is the story of racial and political coalitions that made the US the most peaceful and prosperous multiethnic society in the world.