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On November 20, 2016, Ta-Nehisi Coates will give a talk on race in America at Xavier University as part of the Ethics/Religion and Society lecture series. Ta-Nehisi Coates has emerged in recent years as one of America’s most important critical voices, particularly on issues of race, inequality, mass incarceration, and reparations. His award-winning essay for The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations,” was widely read and discussed during the summer of 2014 and is now taught in classrooms across the US, including Xavier. His powerful book, Between the World and Me, a letter to his son about race and police brutality, won the National Book Award in 2015 and is a New York Times bestseller.
VIDEO UPDATE: The video of Ta-Nehisi Coates's talk from Nov. 20, 2016 is available here.
The Case for Reparations
With this essential article, Coates reingited the debate about reparations. In one of the essay's many striking passages he writes: "What I’m talking about is more than recompense for past injustices—more than a handout, a payoff, hush money, or a reluctant bribe. What I’m talking about is a national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal. Reparations would mean the end of scarfing hot dogs on the Fourth of July while denying the facts of our heritage. Reparations would mean the end of yelling “patriotism” while waving a Confederate flag. Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness, a reconciling of our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history."
The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration
A long-form essay on mass incarceration, the Moynihan report on "The Negro Family," and the criminalization of African Americans.
Fear of a Black President
An important essay by Coates from 2012 on Obama and his avoidance of issues of race during the first part of his presidency.
Between The World and Me
Badwin's Letter to his Nephew
Coates's book BTWM is modled after James Baldwin's piece "My Dungeon Shook (Letter to My Nephew)," which you will find here.
This year's Spark event for the First-Year Seminar program is Ta-Nehisi Coates talk. As part of the First-Year Seminar program, Faculty are strongly encouraged to send their students and to consider incorporating Coates's work, talk, and relevant themes into their courses, particularly since his work touches on the greater good from the perspective of race and racial justice. Below are some items that might be useful to First-Year Seminar faculty and others considering incorporating Coates's work into their classes. These pieces deal with his undergraduate experience and learning French.