Two African American Scholars Win Pulitzer Prizes

In addition to multiple awards in the field of journalism, Pulitzer Prizes are awarded in fiction, playwriting, poetry, history, biography, general nonfiction, and music. This year, two of the Pulitzers in these categories were awarded to African Americans with ties to academia.

Tracy K. Smith won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her collection entitled Life on Mars (Graywolf Press). The judges called Life on Mars “a collection of bold, skillful poems, taking readers into the universe and moving them to an authentic mix of joy and pain.”

Smith is an assistant professor of creative writing at Princeton University. She joined the Princeton faculty in 2006.

Smith was raised in northern California. She is a 1994 graduate of Harvard University, where she majored in English and American literature as well as Afro-American studies. She earned a master of fine arts degree at Columbia University.

Manning Marable, the late Columbia University professor, won the Pulitzer Prize in history for his book, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking Books).

The book was published in April 2011, three days after Professor Marable’s death. Dr. Marable was the M. Moran Weston and Black Alumni Council Professor of African-American Studies and professor of history and public affairs at Columbia University.

Dr. Marable was a graduate of Earlham College. He held a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Maryland.

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