Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most original and perceptive black voices today—“the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” (New York Observer). Coates is the author, most recently, of Between the World and Me, the #1 New York Times bestseller that “will be hailed as a classic of our time” (Publishers Weekly) and which Toni Morrison calls “required reading.”
Coates’s debut book, The Beautiful Struggle, is a tough and touching memoir of growing up in Baltimore during the age of crack. In 2012, Coates was awarded the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. Judge Hendrik Hertzberg, of The New Yorker, wrote, “Coates is one of the most elegant and sharp observers of race in America. He is an upholder of universal values, a brave and compassionate writer who challenges his readers to transcend narrow self-definitions and focus on shared humanity.”
A former Village Voice writer, Coates acted as the Journalist in Residence at the School of Journalism at CUNY. He was previously the Martin Luther King Visiting Associate Professor at MIT, and has been awarded the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. He is the winner of a 2015 MacArthur Fellowship.
“I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates’ journey, is visceral, eloquent and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory. This is required reading.”— Toni Morrison
His book Between the World and Me is written in the form of a letter to his teenage son, Samori. In 160 pages, it moves from Baltimore to Howard University to New York City to Paris, France, addressing what it means to be black in America. Slate calls it, “a book destined to remain on store shelves, bedside tables, and high school and college syllabi long after its author or any of us have left this Earth.”
An Atlantic National Correspondent, Coates has written many influential articles, including “My President Was Black,” a cover story that examined the legacy and impact of the first black presidency, and “The Case for Reparations,” which reignited the long-dormant conversation of how to repay African-Americans for a system of institutional racism that’s robbed them of wealth and success for generations. New York called the George Polk Award-winning cover story “probably the most discussed magazine piece of the Obama era.” Coates is also writer for the hit new Marvel Comics series Black Panther, drawn by Brian Stelfreeze.
“Ta-Nehisi was a stunning success as our opening keynote speaker. I think he really helped pump up our partners in the child welfare advocacy and policy community, reminding them of what our mission is all about: fairness and justice for all young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood.”Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative