Skip to content

Dear Ann,

This week I listened to a podcast interview that I found so fascinating that as soon as it was over, I listened to it again.

I think that many Americans are determined to gain an understanding of the history of our country that is fully truthful, even if some of the most painful parts of that historical truth were omitted from the education we received. It’s hard work, a reckoning that makes us question some of our most cherished beliefs about who we are.

In the July 30 episode of the Ezra Klein Show podcast, the host interviewed two people who are at the forefront of both showing us the facts and helping make sense of them, author Ta-Nehisi Coates and investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.

One of the reasons I listened to this conversation twice was that it gave me hope. The honesty, nuance, and grace with which these writers speak gave me hope in humanity, in each other, in our ability to absorb a truer accounting of history and to move forward from this moment to a better, if still necessarily imperfect—because humans are imperfect—future.

I hope it has the same effect for you. You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript here.




  • Thank you for this, Kay. Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste is also a very valuable resource.

  • You are the second person in two days who has recommended this episode of this podcast — it’s in my “up next” now.

  • Thanks for this, Kay. I have not read the 1619 Project, but have just now pre-ordered the hardcover version available in Nov.

  • History is nuanced. It’s not a straight line. It contains hard truths. It’s messy, ugly and sometimes brilliant as well as sad.
    So many don’t understand it. Many don’t want to. They need discussions like this to open their eyes and minds.

    • Yes, and, brings to mind a meme making its way around – more or less; if you are reading what you believe is history and it does not make you uncomfortable, you are not reading history.

  • Excellent! Thank you so much for recommending

  • I was interested in reading or listening – but your link takes you to The NY Times which you have to pay to be able to see anything. Is there another link not associated with them?

    • I listened to it on Apple podcast

    • There is an Ezra Klein podcast which is free, and at NYT, as Klein is an opinion columnist for NYT. The same interview was repeated on the NYT Daily podcast, which should be free.

      • Yes, it’s EXCELLENT, and free on Klein’s podcast!

    • I was able to listen to it via the podcast app on my phone.

  • These are people that speak “truth to power”. They are messengers of truth and hope.

  • I agree;that was a great podcast! I think he (or Kara Swisher) also did one with Isabelle Wilkerson. Both worth listening to again.

  • Sadly, I too have been unsuccessful in finding a way to listen to this podcast or read the transcript without paying for the NYT

  • great podcast, addresses lots of issues we confront these days, thanks for sharing

  • The problem with 1619 is that it has a lot of factual errors and Nikole Hannah-Jones specifically said she was not out to report facts, but to create a new narrative. I am 100% for teaching history as history is, with all sides of the story being represented. But to modify facts to suit the story you want to tell isn’t history or journalism, and to present it as such isn’t a solution to these very real problems we face.

    • JANIEMG, Do you have a link where I can read about errors in the writing? Personally, I don’t think that changing the narrative is necessarily in opposition to publishing facts.

      • Anyone who is 100 percent for teaching history as history is has to acknowledge that there has been systematic erasure of vast amounts of absolutely factual history of what white people have done to Black people and indigenous people in the USA. Yes we do need a new narrative, one that is truthful and whole.

        • Cold, rainy weather and I was finally able to listen to this. I kept it bookmarked since you posted it and I so appreciate that. They are so thoughtful in their research and writing and I look forward to reading their future works. How lucky their students at Howard will be. I wish I could go back 40 years and enroll! I especially appreciated their nonfiction recommendations. Have you all read, “The Warmth of Other Suns”?

        • For me, coming to terms with being white in America is a complicated unfinished process. For example, when I first heard the term “white feminism” I was offended, because I thought of the first and second wave feminists and how much they accomplished. But as I learned more about how women of color were deliberately shut out of the suffrage movement, I had to take a hard look at the hypocrisy.

          It’s all to the good. Ultimately I was able to see both the greatness in what they accomplished, the ways in which they erred, and learn from their mistakes.

          Where I am now about all of it is that I recognize that our painful past is not my fault. But now that I’m aware of it, it is my responsibility to do what I can to mitigate the damage and promotes more fairness in the future.

My Cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping