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Nikole Hannah-Jones, the main character behind the fictional history project known as the 1619 Project, has announced a new after-school program for students in fourth and fifth grade focused on teaching Black American history and Critical Race Theory.

The program is called the “1619 Freedom School.” It gets its name from the 1619 Project.

It is expected to open this fall and will be housed in the Masonic Temple in downtown Waterloo.

The press release sent out about the program states:

“This type of programming — which does not rely on government funding — is especially important since Iowa’s governor signed into law a bill that seeks to limit the public school teaching of histories that offer a more honest understanding of the racial history of this country, a bill that is already having a chilling impact on the state’s educators.”

Hannah-Jones had few positive things to say about Iowa when she spoke virtually at Drake University earlier this year. And she almost laughed when asked if she’d ever move back here. Yet she decided Waterloo would be a good place for this program.