Creator of 1619 Project to give Kops Lecture

Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, will give the Daniel W. Kops Freedom of the Press Lecture on Sept. 9 at 5 p.m.

The event is currently scheduled to be held in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall, with a simultaneous livestream. A limited number of tickets for the in-person event are available to members of the Cornell community. Please email american_studies@cornell.edu from a Cornell email to reserve your ticket. (One per person.) The event will also be livestreamed at this Zoom link; passcode: 4235.

Nikole Hannah-Jones

“The American Studies program is thrilled to be hosting Nikole Hannah-Jones as the Kops Freedom of the Press lecturer. Her significant and ongoing work with the 1619 Project continues to be a crucial part of expanding the concepts and ideas that make for a fuller knowledge of American identity,” said Shirley Samuels, director of the American Studies Program and professor of literatures in English in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Derrick Spires, associate professor of literatures in English (A&S), who is using Hannah-Jones’ work this fall in his Introduction to African American Literature course, said that “the 1619 Project’s challenge is less about the history it offers – which is in line with decades of scholarship – and more about the questions it asks: How does the narrative of the United States look from the eyes of those upon whose backs the nation was built? What stories of pain, loss, as well as joy can we tell? How might these stories help the nation be more accountable for its past and more responsible in its present and future?”

Hannah-Jones has spent her career investigating racial inequality and injustice, and her reporting has earned her the MacArthur Fellowship, known as “the genius grant;” a Peabody Award; two George Polk Awards and the National Magazine Award three times. She also earned the John Chancellor Award for Distinguished Journalism and was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Newswomen’s Club of New York. In 2020 she was inducted into the Society of American Historians and in 2021, into the North Carolina Media Hall of Fame.

In 2016, Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, which seeks to increase the number of reporters and editors of color. In July, she was appointed the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University.

She holds an M.A. in mass communication from the University of North Carolina and a B.A. in history and African American studies from the University of Notre Dame. Her forthcoming edited volume, “The 1619 Project,” includes a contribution by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, the Richards Family Assistant Professor of literatures in English (A&S).

Daniel Kops ’39, former editor-in-chief of The Cornell Daily Sun, established the Daniel W. Kops Freedom of the Press Program in 1990. Each year the program brings a distinguished speaker to campus through the American Studies program. Past speakers include Ta-Nehisi Coates, Amjad Atallah, April Ryan, Frank Rich, Gail Collins, Nadine Strossen, Jeremy Scahill and Dave Zirin.

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