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Arlington, Va. library paid 1619 Project author $40k for speech

Nikole Hannah-Jones
by WorldTribune Staff, November 2, 2022

A Virginia public library paid 1619 Project author Nikole Hannah-Jones, a former New York Times journalist, $40,000 for a 45-minute speech, a report said.

The fee paid by the Arlington Public Library to Hannah-Jones caused the library to exceed its budget by $7,500, The Daily Wire reported on Oct. 27.

Hannah-Jones, who used part of the speech to promote her new book, also added a clause to the agreement that there would be no recording of her speech, with a $100,000 penalty if the agreement were to be violated, the report said.

Hannah-Jones was paid $40,000 to give a 45-minute talk on Sept. 20 as part of a three-hour event at Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, Virginia, which is just eight miles from Howard University, where she became a tenured professor with the help of $20 million in donations from the MacArthur, Knight, and Ford foundations.

Including travel time, the fee amounts to approximately $10,000 an hour.

Michael Chamberlain, of the government watchdog group Protect the Public's Trust, told The Daily Wire that Hannah-Jones's fee was a very high for a local library.

"The $40,000 they paid to one particular speaker, which put the program over budget, is an eye-popping amount for a local library to spend on such a controversial figure," Chamberlain said.

The 1619 Project was a long-form "journalism" project that first appeared in The New York Times Magazine in August of 2019. Hannah-Jones's premise was that the founding of the United States was built around protecting the right to own slaves, a premise which many historians have debunked.

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