In a few weeks, I’ll submit my memoir Finding Josephine to my editor – the most thrilling, rewarding and terrifying work I’ve ever done in my life. To keep me company during this final stretch and my anxiety at bay, I’ve been doing a lot of reading including a steady diet of The New York Times Magazine 1619 project. Published in August it marks the anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in what would become Virginia. As painful as some of the truths between its covers are to read, this concise and comprehensive history of slavery in the United States and its lasting impact has buoyed me as I write about my own ancestors’ enslavement and how recovering their stories has shaped me. A lot of the information was not new to me, but almost all of it I learned in college and later, researching slavery for my own interest and for my book, but this is foundational U.S. history that everyone should have access to. It’s been a thrill to see how so many educators are already using the 1619 project in their schools. I plan on incorporating it when I speak at my town’s commemoration of this 400th anniversary. I’m so grateful to the New York Times Magazine staff and project creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones for giving us this gift.