Announcing The Launch Of 1839 » VSB


Announcing The Launch Of 1839

Courtesy of 1839


For the past several months, I’ve been working with a number of people — including writer Deesha Philyaw, janera solomon of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, and VSB’s own sarah huny young — to create 1839, a Pittsburgh-based magazine that takes a nuanced look at the intersection of race, politics, the arts, community and culture in the city and beyond.

It’s a pilot project inspired by the life, work, and legacy of August Wilson’s love of community and financially supported in part by The Heinz Endowments.

This afternoon, 1839 launched, featuring pieces from a dozen contributors (including yours truly). Check it out when you get a chance.

(And add 1839 on Facebook and Twitter. Pretty please.)

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Good look.

    *adds 1839 to my feedly stream.*

    • How? I couldn’t get it to add it for me.

      • You know what? When I opened my stream at work I saw I only added the comments. I’ve been trying to get the site added.

        • Yup, I could tag it using my chrome feedly extension but I couldn’t add it. Maybe it takes it a while to be indexed. Thanks though!

  • fxd8424

    I love it. Just added 1839.

  • jolly

    Janera Solomon- Brooklyn’s gift to Pittsburgh! She’s inspiring on so many levels. Very interested to tune into 1839! Sounds like an awesome collaboration. Congrats.

  • Echo

    I’m way in Alabama, but I still will support!

    • Keisha

      Me too…what part?

      • Echo


        • Keisha

          Oh cool! I’m in Huntsville…small world!

  • Keisha

    Cool…congrats!!! :-)

  • Aly

    Nice! What does 1839 stand for?

    • Damon Young

      Aunt Ester, the iconic character from August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, lived at 1839 Wylie Avenue, an actual street in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, but a fictitious address. Wilson chose “1839” as the address to commemorate the year of the Amistad rebellion. At nearly 400 years old, Aunt Ester is as old as the African presence in America. As such, she represents the Black community’s collective history and memory.

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  • YeaSoh

    Nice site… just an outsider observation but err uh… do white people live there? Ya’ll need some vanilla to make it interesting/balanced. Get a token – they always do it. #You’veBeenBlessed… You’re welcome

    And don’t even THINK about saying balance deez cause I already did sucka

    • Aly

      From what i understand, Pittsburgh is majority white. They probably have an excess of white opinions there lol. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having spaces just for black folks (not saying that’s the goal of 1839, just speaking in general)

      • YeaSoh

        No I get that but we’re always so separate in our discussions. Of course I’m down for my brethren having they own tings and such but I on’t know… just thought it would be a nice spin to have a black mag with a token white writer… in a majority white city too!!… duh well

    • Damon Young

      well, it exists primarily because pittsburgh is so white. it’s literally the whitest major metropolitan area in the country. and there just aren’t many spaces/place there for people of color

      • YeaSoh

        Fair enough… It looks great! Congrats!

  • LadyIbaka

    Love the name. Read the article and it mentioned Aliqappa. Western PA, stand up!!! Steel city, home of the black and yellow, uh huh, you know what it is!!!

  • Cleojonz

    I know nothing of Pittsburgh at all but I support this latest endeavor nonetheless. Congratulations, the site looks great and I enjoyed the articles that have been posted so far.

  • Diva


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