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’1619,’ Episode 2: The Economy That Slavery Built

Today on “The Daily,” we present Episode 2 of “1619,” a New York Times audio series hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones. You can find more information about it at nytimes.com/1619podcast.

The institution of slavery turned a poor, fledgling nation into a financial powerhouse, and the cotton plantation was America’s first big business. Behind the system, and built into it, was the whip. Guests: Matthew Desmond, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and the author of “Evicted,” and Jesmyn Ward, the author of “Sing, Unburied, Sing.”

This episode includes scenes of graphic violence.

Background reading:

  • “As the large slave-labor camps grew increasingly efficient, enslaved black people became America’s first modern workers,” Matthew Desmond writes.
  • The “1619” audio series is part of The 1619 Project, a major initiative from The Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. Read more from the project here.

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