When it's clear you're not wanted somewhere, go somewhere else where you are.
Journalists Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates are joining Howard University’s faculty, school officials announced Tuesday in a major recruiting victory for the private institution in the nation’s capital.
The surprising development came less than a week after trustees for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted to award tenure to Hannah-Jones. Initially, the public university hired her as a professor without the job-protection status. But its board of trustees approved tenure for her on Wednesday, after faculty and students at Chapel Hill protested that she had been mistreated.
In an interview Tuesday on CBS This Morning, Hannah-Jones said she would not join the UNC faculty.
Now Hannah-Jones will have tenure at Howard in the new position of Knight Chair in Race and Journalism, starting this summer at the historically Black university in Washington.
“I am so incredibly honored to be joining one of the most important and storied educational institutions in our country … ” Hannah-Jones said in a statement. “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.”
Hannah-Jones will also found a Center for Journalism and Democracy at Howard. She said it will aim to train journalism students from historically Black schools to “accurately and urgently [cover] the challenges of our democracy with a clarity, skepticism, rigor and historical dexterity that is too often missing from today’s journalism.”
Coates, an award-winning author known for his work on topics including race and white supremacy, will be a writer-in-residence in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, and hold the Sterling Brown Chair in the English department. He said in an interview he plans to teach a class in creative writing next year.
“That really is the community that made me,” Coates said. “I would not be who I am without the faculty at Howard.”
Coates also has plans to finish his bachelor’s degree, which he started at Howard in 1993. He hasn’t picked a major but said he’d like to learn more about math, science and economics.
A very wise move for Hannah-Jones, Coates, Howard U., and for Black Lives Mattering.
In another life I would have graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill's journalism school myself, I understand why Hannah-Jones pursued the offer. But to create a journalism program, well...that's something that will long outlive you. That's a legacy.
Oh, and Howard U. got $20 million from their own rich donors to do it.
Black Lives Still Matter.
Report on that.