A special delivery of a special edition of the New York Times arrived in Oklahoma Thursday, commemorating the 400th anniversary since the start of slavery. 

Copies are being distributed for free across the state, with the goal is to share the facts.

The first slaves were brought to American 400 years ago this month. The impact is still woven into the fabric of our society.

The Oklahoma organizers for the 1619 Project's distribution are eager to spread the word.

“We want this magazine to end up in the hands of different groups, cultures, all ethnicities really,” said Oklahoma liaison Courtney Garcia.

New York Times staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones had this in mind when she and the team of contributors put together a newspaper, magazine, series of podcasts and school curriculum on the topic.

Hannah-Jones told me during a FaceTime interview, “I felt this was an anniversary that is as critical to the American story as 1776, but it’s a story that in most households will largely go unacknowledged.”

She said it can be easy to feel like slavery is long gone, even when it hit close to home.

“Every story in that magazine will look at some modern phenomenon today, and show how its roots exist in slavery,” Hannah-Jones said.

The journalist admitted the process was not easy, saying, “For all of the black reporters who worked on this, it’s been a very emotional project.”

The end result is rewarding, though, teaching us the facts we do not learn in school.

Garcia added, “I think that a lot of times the reason you are against something is because you really don’t have full understanding of it.”

Eventually 80,000 copies will arrive in Oklahoma, and the 1619 Project team hopes the dialogue helps Americans accept their dark past and move towards a brighter future.

To get your own copies of these publications, email udohbusiness@gmail.com or call Garcia at (405) 679-1600.

For K-12 teachers who wish to access the free curriculum to teach the topic of slavery, click here.