More Support for Nikole Hannah-Jones
“While the denial of tenure is egregious, it is not an isolated incident,” reads an open letter in support of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, written by writer Ta-Nehisi Coates; Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, the Peter V. & C. Vann Woodward Professor of History Emerita at Yale University; and Martha S. Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and professor of history at Johns Hopkins University. The letter, signed by scores of other academics, artists, athletes and other public figures, was first published by The Root. Hannah-Jones, whose tenure vote was deferred by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees, reportedly for political reasons, gave Chapel Hill until last week to grant her tenure or face legal action. The board did not take up her tenure case again before that deadline, but the university is reportedly in talks with her legal team.
“The same anti-democratic thinking that blocked Hannah-Jones’ appointment at her alma mater has also fueled efforts in state and local legislatures to ban the teaching of histories of slavery and its legacies through the ‘1619 Project,’” the letter says, referring to Hannah-Jones’s New York Times Magazine project recentering the contributions and struggles of Black Americans within U.S. history. “We call on all people of conscience to decry this growing wave of repression and to encourage a recommitment to the free exchange of ideas in our schools, workplaces, legislatures and communities.”