Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates to Join the Faculty at Howard University

Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates have been appointed to endowed chairs at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Hannah-Jones was appointed to the Knight Chair in Race and Journalism. Coates will hold the Sterling Brown Chair in English and Humanities.

“It is my pleasure to welcome to Howard two of today’s most respected and influential journalists,” said Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University. “At such a critical time for race relations in our country, it is vital that we understand the role of journalism in steering our national conversation and social progress. Not only must our newsrooms reflect the communities where they are reporting, but we need to infuse the profession with diverse talent. We are thrilled that they will bring their insights and research to what is already a world-class, highly accomplished team of professors.”

On June 30, the board of trustees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had voted to award tenure to Hannah Jones as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. Earlier it had appointed Hannah-Jones to the position without tenure. After a major uproar from faculty and students and a threat of litigation, the university agreed to award her tenure.

Professor Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has been covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. She is the creator of the landmark 1619 Project which commemorates the 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in what would become the United States by examining slavery’s modern legacy and reframing the way we understand this history and the contributions of Black Americans to the nation.

“I am so incredibly honored to be joining one of the most important and storied educational institutions in our country and to work alongside the illustrious faculty of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications and the brilliant students it draws in,” Hannah-Jones said. “One of my few regrets is that I did not attend Howard as an undergraduate, and so coming here to teach fulfills a dream I have long carried.”

Professor Coates has served as a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine. He has been a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Management. Coates, who attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., is the author of several books including The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir (Spiegel & Grau, 2008),  Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, 2015), and We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy (One World, 2017).

“I heard a wise man once say, ‘A man who hates home will never be happy.’ And it is in the pursuit of wisdom and happiness that I return to join the esteemed faculty of Howard University. This is the faculty that molded me. This is the faculty that strengthened me,” Professor Coates said. “Personally, I know of no higher personal honor than this.”

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  1. The African/Caribbean immigrant administrator(s) at Howard University (can you say Wayne Frederick) should submit their Resignation for offering employment to Nikole Hannah-Jones who only accepted this position by way of default. If UNC-CH would have granted her immediate tenure Hannah Jones would have never consider in working at Howard. In other words, these so-called HBCUs should not be in the business of hiring so-called Black people who use get abused, exploited, and treated disparately at the HWCUs, then decide to work at an HBCU. Similar sentiments apply to Coates as well. As in the case with Coates, now that he’s through galivanting in Paris and other “white spaces”, he’s suddenly recognizes he needs a job. Howard should have never offer him employment either. Unfortunately, will continue to be the embodiment of so-called Black neoliberalism, status quoism, political correctness along with the continuation of the proverbial and mythical perception of Black advancement. When in fact, Howard University has morphed into unofficially being know for as the gateway for employment for African/Caribbean immigrants.

      • Hey Frank,

        You clearly know exactly what I’m talking about. What’s the probability you fall in that category I’m referencing? Matter of fact Frank, what African/Caribbean country do you hail from? I rest my case. Time for you go eat some conch fritters and jerk chicken. Comprendi!

      • Hey Frank,
        What year did neliberal Ta-Nehisi Coates complete his degree at Howard? He didn’t and should not be identified as an “alumni”. Come JBHE do your homework.

    • Well, Well, Well, Fordham U! This statement was nothing more than a politically correct document that literally said Nothing. That said, this document has the stench of so-called Black elitism on numerous levels. Too bad the NAACP LDF is not truly fighting religiously for the vested interests of everyday so-called Black Americans. In my view, the NAACP and the LDF is nothing more than the “good ole White boys club” just with melanin more affectionately known as The Boule. No sympathies from regarding Howard University default hire Nikole Hannah Jones.

      • I could care less what you say as you sit in judgment on your high horse – I’m glad she found an appreciative academic home.

        • Hey fordham u (lower case “f'” and “u” intentional),

          Your misguided and dimwitted comment is a glaring example of years of miseducation. Don’t even talk about the decades of disparate treatment of so-called Black faculty and Black students at fordham. Let’s be clear fordham, Hannah Jones only selected Howard by DEFAULT (apparently you Do Not understand what that means). Finally fordham, you need to recognize the difference between an “accurate assessment” and ” sit[ting] in judgment on [a] high horse”. You must be over the age of 40 or 50 using that dated phraseology.
          Adios simplona!

  2. Inquiring minds would like to know did the neoliberal and politically correct Howard University grant their DEFAULT faculty hire Nikole Hannah Jones a TENURED position and not just another temporary job? I guess that so-called immigrant President Fredericks is more concerned about obtaining free PR for Howard.

    If Hannah Jones would have been granted tenure at UNC-CH she wouldn’t have never even consider in working at Howard. In other words, HBCUs Do Not Need people like her at their schools.

    • HBCU Watch or Michael: I totally agree with what you have stated. Many of these Caribbean and African immigrants are just simply totally dumb, death and blind.
      As far as Coates he referred to Howard University as the ‘Black Harvard. Only a complete totally lost Black person with a white supremacist mindset would refer to Howard University as the Black Harvard.
      People like Coates have been propped up to prominence by the backward neo-liberal white establishment who are not too discerning over matters of principles
      I wouldn’t pay a penny to hear what Coates said about anything.

      • Hey Ronald,

        Your assessment regarding individuals from the continent of African and the Caribbean is very accurate on numerous levels. We have to keep in mind that colonialism and neocolonialism is still the modus operandi in those countries. In reference to the misguided Coates, the lions share of his work make people from the dominant society feel comfortable along with the establishment Blacks.

  3. Why does it appear that after these so-called Black Americans who profess they have so much respect and love for HBCUs only will work at an HBCU after being disparately treated and disrespected by HWCU (Historically White Colleges and Universities). Give me a break.

  4. Dear HBCU Watch
    GEEZ–it was painful to read your commentary re the two newest scholars attracted to the Howard Community. Perhaps you should thoroughly review sentence structure (grammar and semantics) prior to submitting your comments. I cannot believe that your are a Howard University graduate (perhaps you are not??).
    Might be worth your whille to actually read some of the works written by Hannah-Jones and Coates to get some writing tips.

    • Hey Kizzy,

      Before I proceed, I must ask you what cotton plantation did you just jump off with your misguided comment. You’re in No position to talk about sentence structure or semantics. Have you ever heard of this concept called “writer’s style”? Probably not. It’s quite evident you’re so enamored with placating so-called White academia that it’s part of your identity. As a result, it inhibits collective so-called Black advancement within the boundary called the USA.

      Regarding the works of Hannah-Jones and Coates, I’m not even remotely impressed by any measure. Let’s be clear Kizzy, Hannah-Jones and Coates is akin to a first level book regarding so-called Black American history. In other words Kizzy, it’s not ground breaking and does not uncover anything previous Black scholars already have.

      In sum, Kizzy you have the intellectual acumen akin to a dried field pea during the monsoon period in Sri Lanka. Do you even know where this is? Look it up!

  5. Once neoliberal writer Hannah-Jones see the sub-par facilities at Howard University she will be regretting her decision. For those who dissent, just ask any Howard University faculty about departmental facilities, spacing, and being able to make photocopies. The facts remains, Hannah-Jones is more comfortable in the White spaces as her record has already shown.

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