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Today, we introduce the first installment of a new project on American history, Black life, and the resilience of memory. It’s called “Inheritance.”
“For so many Black Americans, history is a dead end,” one of our managing editors, Gillian B. White, recently told our editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg. “I look at my daughter and my niece and my nephew and wish I had more of their history to share with them. I really want them to see themselves represented in the story of this country and to know that America has always been ours, too. And yet Black people are left out of so many commonly shared American histories.”
Read the first chapter of “Inheritance.” Beginning today, stories will appear on our site, with some in this month’s print magazine. The project includes:
Anna Deavere Smith on attending a mostly white college in the late 1960s: “A veil separated the student body from the reality outside … [Martin Luther King Jr.’s] assassination shredded what was left of the veil.”
Clint Smith on the Federal Writers’ Project, which compiled the largest archive of testimony from formerly enslaved people in history: “So many stories that would give us a fuller picture of America are known by so few Americans.”
Joy Priest’s poem “Ghosts in Schools,” with lines from In the Wake, by Christina Sharpe: They whisper like fish. The police / in schools like fish