Two Iconic American Writers Join Howard in Establishing Center to Help Educate Next Generation of Black Journalists


WASHINGTON – Howard University announced today that Nikole hannah jones and Howard’s alumnus Ta-Nehisi Coates will join the faculty of Howard University. Hannah-Jones will be a full faculty member at the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, occupying the new Knight Chair in Race and Journalism. Coates, journalist and author, will be a faculty member at the flagship College of Arts and Sciences. Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, will also found the Center for Journalism and Democracy, which will focus on training and supporting aspiring journalists to acquire investigative skills and historical expertise and analysis needed to cover the crisis facing our democracy. The center hopes to work at several historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that offer journalism degrees and concentrations.

The nominations are supported by nearly $ 20 million donated by the Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation, as well as an anonymous donor, to support Howard’s continuing education and investment in black journalists.

“It is a pleasure to welcome two of today’s most respected and influential journalists to Howard,” said Wayne AI Frederick, MD, MBA, President of Howard University. “At such a critical time for race relations in our country, it is essential that we understand the role of journalism in driving our national conversation and social progress. Not only do our newsrooms need to reflect the communities in which they report, but we also need to infuse the profession with diverse talents. We are delighted that they are bringing their ideas and research to what is already a world-class and highly accomplished team of faculty.

“In addition, we are grateful to the Knight, MacArthur and Ford Foundations, as well as an anonymous donor, for their support in our ongoing efforts to educate the next generation of journalists and to provide a diverse pool of talent to American editorial staff. said President Frédéric.

Hannah-Jones, the creator of Project 1619, will be the first Knight Chair in Race and Journalism and begin her role as a professor this summer. Award-winning author Coates will hold the Sterling Brown Chair in the Department of English and will begin this position after fulfilling several current obligations.

“I am incredibly honored to join one of the largest and most renowned educational institutions in our country and to work alongside the illustrious professor of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications and the brilliant students she attracts. “, Hannah jones noted. “One of my few regrets is that I didn’t hang out with Howard as an undergraduate student, and therefore coming here to teach fulfills a dream that I have long carried. I hope the decision Ta-Nehisi and I made to bring our talents to an HBCU will lead others to make a similar choice.

“We are at a critical juncture in our democracy, yet our press fails to reflect the nation it serves and too often struggles to grasp the danger to our country as we witness growing attacks on freedom of movement. expression and the fundamental right to vote, ”he added. Hannah jones continued. “In the historic tradition of the black press, the Center for Journalism and Democracy will help produce journalists capable of accurately and urgently covering the challenges of our democracy with a clarity, skepticism, rigor and historic dexterity that make too often lacking in journalism today. I am very grateful to the Ford, Knight and MacArthur Foundations for the initial funding to launch the center and hope to meet the centre’s fundraising goal of $ 25 million very quickly.

“I heard a wise man say once, ‘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 prestigious faculty of Howard University. It’s the faculty that shaped me. It is the faculty that has strengthened me ”, Coats noted. “Personally, I know of no higher personal honor than this.”

For 50 years, the Howard University School of Communications has trained the country’s top communicators and media professionals, from award-winning presenters and journalists to filmmakers, public relations officers and researchers. The school will celebrate its 50th anniversary during the 2021-22 school year, highlighting its history of spreading truth through communication and community service through storytelling.

The College of Arts and Sciences (COAS) is at the heart of Howard University, recognized around the world as a comprehensive and leading research university. SFOC is often referred to as the University’s flagship because it is the oldest and largest of the University’s 13 schools and colleges. Its predecessor was founded in the university’s second year of existence and today has over 3,000 students, making it the most popular choice among Howard’s undergraduates.

Three foundations and an anonymous donor donated nearly $ 20 million to support the University’s demonstrated academic and journalistic excellence.

Chevalier Foundation is providing $ 5 million in total to establish an endowment at Howard University to support a Knight Chair in Race and Journalism and to develop symposia, led by the Knight Chair, to support journalism students and faculty across the network of HBCUs. Howard chose Hannah-Jones as the first Knight President.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation provides a $ 5 million grant to support the Center for Journalism and Democracy. Up to $ 1.25 million of the funding will go to support the next phase of Project 1619. Hannah-Jones and Coates are both MacArthur Fellows from the 2017 and 2015 classes respectively.

The Ford Foundation will provide $ 5 million for general operating support for the creation of the center at Howard University, which will be headed by Hannah-Jones. Ford’s funding is designed to support the centre’s infrastructure and its programs to help increase the number of black professionals entering journalism and improve their career preparation.

a anonymous donor contributed $ 5 million to the funding of the Sterling Brown Chair in English and Humanities and to the creation of the Ida B. Wells Endowment Fund to support the Knight Chair.# # #

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private research university that includes 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 degree programs leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to excellence in truth and service and has produced one Schwarzman Fellow, three Marshall Fellows, four Rhodes Fellows, 12 Truman Fellows, 25 Pickering Fellows and over 165 Fulbright Fellows. Howard also produces more African American doctorates on campus. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The Knight Foundation supports democracy in America by fostering informed and engaged communities. The foundation invests in community journalism, arts and culture, media and democracy research, and the success of the towns and villages where John S. and James L. Knight have published newspapers. To learn more, visit

About the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions and influential networks in building a more just, greener and more peaceful world. MacArthur is betting that truly meaningful progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including promoting global climate solutions, reducing nuclear risk, promoting local justice reform in the United States, and reducing corruption in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows program and the global 100 & Change competition, the foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsive democracy and the vitality of our home city, Chicago. For more information visit

About the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit granting organization. For 85 years, she has worked with courageous people on the front lines of social change around the world, guided by her mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation and advance achievements. human. With its headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Media contact:

Contact RP, Frank Tramble, [email protected]

Howard Public Relations Team, [email protected]

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