$100 million Harvard reparations pledge is not enough for 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones of The 1619 Project recently blasted Harvard University’s $100 million plan intended to remedy the school’s past associations with slavery.

Speaking at Harvard, Hannah-Jones called the initiative a 'joke' and said that a 'true investment would be hundreds of millions more.'

The primary author of The 1619 Project recently blasted Harvard University’s $100 million plan intended to remedy the school’s past associations with slavery.

On Tuesday, April 23, Nikole Hannah-Jones described Harvard’s $100 million “Legacy of Slavery” pledge as a “joke” during a speech at the school’s “Legacy of Slavery Symposium” in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to The Harvard Crimson.

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In addition to her work with the controversial 1619 Project, Hannah-Jones reports on “racial injustice” for The New York Times Magazine. She also serves as the Knight Chair of Race and Journalism at Howard University. 

During her speech about Harvard’s pledge to address the effects of slavery, she called the $100 million commitment a “rounding error” and said that “no reckoning has occurred,” according to The Harvard Crimson.

“A true investment would be hundreds of millions more,” Hannah-Jones continued.

Hannah-Jones reportedly said that Harvard’s pledge was especially insufficient because of its alleged past of ignoring the problems caused by the institution of slavery.

In an interview with the Crimson, the author explained that she also was concerned about where the money was being spent, and whether it was actually being used to effectively counter the perceived aftereffects of slavery.

“If you are serious about an acknowledgement and trying to make repair, transparency is the number one thing because why would people trust an institution with this history to do the right thing,” she argued, according to the Crimson.

Hannah-Jones also apparently contended that buildings dedicated to historical figures with any connections to slavery should be altered.

“Absolutely these should be renamed,” Hannah-Jones reportedly stated. “We have to say that we are not going to hold up people who were engaged in one of the worst human rights atrocities in the history of the world.”

Hannah-Jones concluded her speech by advocating for a “lineage-based affirmative action program” and for there to be a “substantial sum” of Harvard’s endowment donated to historically black colleges, the Crimson noted.

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She is said to have also blasted the Supreme Court’s landmark 2023 decision against affirmative action as being overly broad.

“They’re using that law to sue every type of program that even mentions race,” Hannah-Jones reportedly argued. “We have to be beyond that. We have to be demanding more.”

Last year, Hannah-Jones was openly critical of the court’s ruling when she suggested that an “elite, white majority” were undoing “half-hearted affirmative action efforts” to redress the “racial exclusion against Black people.”

Campus Reform has contacted Harvard University and Nikole Hannah-Jones for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.