Famous writer visits neighboring state

Nikole Hannah-Jones. Photo by Leon Laing.

After earning the Pulitzer Prize for The 1619 Project last year, Nikole-Hannah Jones is having a banner year in 2021, too.   

Time magazine named her one of the most influential people of 2021. And today, her highly anticipated book, “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story,” hits the bookstores. “Born on the Water,” a book authored by Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson will also be released that day. The 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.”

To help promote her book, Hannah-Jones made an appearance in Columbia, Maryland, on Oct. 10. The 46-year-old reporter for The New York Times Magazine headlined the Books in Bloom Literary Festival. Tomorrow, she’ll make an appearance at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Busboys and Poets booked her Oct. 10 appearance. Busboys and Poets is a restaurant, bar, bookstore, coffee shop and events venue in Washington, D.C., founded in 2005 by Andy Shallal. The business runs other locations in Maryland. On the day of Hannah-Jones’ appearance, the venue held a soft opening at its location in Columbia.

While on stage, Shallal interviewed Hannah-Jones in front of a diverse crowd. During the interview, her fire-engine red hair contrasted her black outfit. Tamu Ankle Wrap Sandals by Keeyahri complemented the outfit. The brainy and unapologetic writer answered each question articulately.

“I am tremendously blessed to be able to do the work that I do,” Hannah-Jones said. “And I do it in the service of our ancestors … If you control the memory, you can control the policy. It’s not incidental that the same states passing these anti-1619, anti-Critical Race Theory laws are passing anti-voter laws.”

She also explained that slavery is not just black history — it’s white and American history.

Shallal said he handpicked Hannah-Jones for the literary festival and soft opening.

“We [wanted] to make sure we got the right person to raise the awareness of what we do,” Shallal explained. “I think it’s been a very successful opening.”

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