John Legend Donates 2,000 Copies Of New York Times’ 1619 Project Magazine To FAMU

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Written by Dana Sanchez
John Legend
John Legend is donating copies of the New York Times Project 1619 Magazine to HBUCs commemorating the 400-year anniversary of the first African slave arrivals. In this photo, he arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, Feb. 24, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

On Aug. 18, The New York Times Magazine published a special project commemorating the 400-year anniversary of the first African slave arrivals by boat at the Virginia colony in what would become the United States.

The project, which was authored by all-Black writers, reframed the conversation from a historically white perspective to a Black point of view on slavery and its effect on current-day America. It also showed how slavery shaped the country, including modern capitalistic norms and how America’s “original sin” is taught in schools.

The project was greeted with an outpouring of thanks, love, appreciation and paid subscriptions for the New York Times. People took to Twitter to say they had subscribed. But not everyone was supportive of changing the narrative.

One of the supporters was singer, actor and philanthropist John Legend. His name is listed on Page 11 of the 100-page New York Times Project 1619 Magazine under the “Special Thanks” section. It reads: “To bring The 1619 Project to non-Times subscribers, we have printed hundreds of thousands of additional copies for distribution at libraries, schools and museums. This would not have been possible without the generous support of donors: Wilson Chandler, John Legend on behalf of the Show Me Campaign, Ekpe Udoh, Gabrielle Union, Fund II Foundation and the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund.”

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Florida A&M University (FAMU) acknowledged in a tweet that it received 2,000 copies of the Project 2019 Magazine thanks to a John Legend donation.

Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans also announced that Legend and his nonprofit The Show Me Campaign was sending 2,000 copies of the issue to XUMedia to be distributed free to students, according to Xavier Herald.

On the day The 1619 Project was published, President Donald Trump blasted the New York Times, tweeting, “The New York Times will be out of business soon after I leave office, hopefully in 6 years. They have Zero credibility and are losing a fortune, even now, especially after their massive unfunded liability. I’m fairly certain they’ll endorse me just to keep it all going!”

https://twitter.com/glamelegance/status/1163241663009099776?s=20

The project, led by New York Times Magazine editor Nikole Hannah-Jones, puts “the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story of we tell ourselves about who we are.”

“This project is, above all, an attempt to set the record straight,” Hannah-Jones said at the project debut. “To finally, in this 400th year, tell the truth about who we are as a people and who we are as a nation. It is time to stop hiding from our sins and confront them. And then in confronting them, it is time to make them right.”