As “The 1619 Project” creator Nikole Hannah-Jones headed to Sundance for the launch of the Hulu docuseries adaptation of her New York Times Magazine series — which re-examines the legacy of slavery in the United States on the 400th anniversary of the first Africans’ arrival in Virginia — news broke that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had blocked an AP African American Studies course from being taught in the state’s high schools.

For Hannah-Jones, the political move was just another example of the controversy over what history is taught that’s flooded into school board meetings and become talking points on news channels of what history.

“This is exactly why ‘The 1619 Project’ exists,” Hannah-Jones said in response to DeSantis’ decision. “Our history has always been contested, a… reckoning with the fact that we were founded as a slaveholding Republic has always been contested. If we were taught this history, well, you wouldn’t need a project like ‘The 1619 Project.'”

She continued: “And the beauty of something like [‘The 1619 Project’] is Ron DeSantis can try to block children’s ability to learn a truer and more accurate history, try to marginalize, particularly, the history of black people in this country, but there are many ways that people are going to be able to access this — including the documentary series.”

Joined by her collaborators — Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams and Peabody-winning producer Shoshana Guy — for a conversation at the Variety Studio, presented by Audible, the journalist elaborated on the process of adapting “The 1619 Project” from its written form into the docuseries and why bringing it to television is a gamechanger.

“TV, to me, is democratizing medium. You don’t have to get it in your classroom, you don’t have to be able to read 10,000 word essays to be able to experience the reckoning that we were hoping to bring about,” she explained.

Hannah-Jones has been covering racial injustice and civil rights throughout her career and “The 1619 Project” began as a long-form piece of journalism published in the New York Times Magazine in 2019. In 2020, after the piece was adapted into a book, children’s book and popular podcast, Hannah-Jones teamed up with Williams, Guy, executive producer Oprah Winfrey, The New York Times and Lionsgate in developing the groundbreaking six-episode series, which will be available to stream on Hulu, beginning Thursday, Jan. 26.

This iteration will include six stories from the original 2019 project (and the filmmakers have already ID’d at least six more, if Disney orders a sequel after the docuseries premieres). The studio has exhibited unwavering support of the project in its aim to reach and educate audiences.

“Even Oprah said it was the biggest campaign she had ever seen, and that’s saying a lot,” Williams eagerly noted, as Hannah-Jones chimed in, “For a documentary series on the legacy of slavery.”