Nikole Hannah-Jones: UB Distinguished Speaker Series


Nikole Hannah-Jones is a MacArthur Genius for “reshaping national conversations around education reform.” This is but one honor in a growing list: She is the creator of the New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project,” about the history and lasting legacy of American slavery, for which her powerful introductory essay was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. She’s also won a Peabody, two George Polk awards, and the National Magazine Award three times.

Nikole Hannah-Jones covers racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, and has spent years chronicling the way official policy has created and maintains racial segregation in housing and schools. Her deeply personal reports on the Black experience in America offer a compelling case for greater equity.  Hannah-Jones is the creator and lead writer of the New York Times’ major multimedia initiative, “The 1619 Project.” Named for the year the first enslaved Africans arrived in America, the project features an ongoing series of essays and art on the relationship between slavery and everything from social infrastructure and segregation, to music and sugar all by Black American authors, activists, journalists and more. Hannah-Jones wrote the project’s introductory essay, which ran under the powerful headline “Our Democracy’s Founding Ideals Were False When They Were Written. Black Americans Have Fought to Make Them True.” The essay earned Hannah-Jones her first Pulitzer Prize, for commentary. Random House has also announced it will be adapting the project into a graphic novel and four publications for young readers, while also releasing an extended version of the original publication, including more essays, fiction, and poetry. Two of these, “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” and “Born On The Water” will be released in November 2021.

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