UNC-Chapel Hill Grants Nikole Hannah-Jones Tenure After Backlash
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MAY 16: Author Nikole Hannah-Jones attends the 137th Commencement at Morehouse College on May 16, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Nikole Hannah-Jones, a journalist for The New York Times who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on the 1619 Project, was given tenure by the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill after they convened in a closed session Wednesday.

Hannah-Jones, who assumes her position as Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism on Thursday, was initially denied tenure in the position because of opposition from “conservative groups” with “direct ties to the Republican-dominated UNC Board of Governors,” as The Daily Wire previously reported.

According to NPR, “Some of that opposition came from Walter Hussman, a UNC donor and Arkansas newspaper publisher whose name adorns UNC’s journalism school. Hussman, who is also an alumnus, told NPR he was given pause by some prominent scholars’ criticism that Hannah-Jones distorted the historical record in arguing that the protection of slavery was one of the Founding Fathers’ primary motivations in seeking independence from the British.”

“The case inspired a bruising debate over race, journalism and academic freedom. It led both to national headlines and anger and distress among many Black faculty members and students at UNC. Some professors there have publicly said they were reconsidering their willingness to remain at the university over the journalist’s treatment,” NPR added.

According to video, students clashed with police outside the closed-door meeting of the trustees.


“It has taken longer than I imagined, but I am deeply appreciative that the board has voted in favor of our school’s recommendation,” wrote Susan King, dean of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media in response to the trustees’ decision. “I knew that when the board reviewed her tenure dossier and realized the strength of her teaching, service and professional vision they would be moved to grant tenure.”

Hannah-Jones also issued a statement in response:

“I want to acknowledge the tremendous outpouring of support I have received from students, faculty, colleagues, and the general public over the last month – including the young people who showed up today at the Board of Trustees meeting, putting themselves at physical risk. I am honored and grateful for and inspired by you all. I know that this vote would not have occurred without you.

“Today’s outcome and the actions of the past month are about more than just me. This fight is about ensuring the journalistic and academic freedom of Black writers, researchers, teachers, and students. We must ensure that our work is protected and able to proceed free from the risk of repercussions, and we are not there yet. These last weeks have been very challenging and difficult and I need to take some time to process all that has occurred and determine what is the best way forward.”

She also posted a picture of herself on Twitter drinking a celebratory shot.

As The Daily Wire has previously reported:

Hannah-Jones, who has not published a piece for The New York Times since June of last year, won a 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Commentary for her essay in “The New York Times Magazine,” which was titled, “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.”

The article argues that the American Revolution was “motivated by the urge to protect slavery” and that plantation slavery was the model for modern American capitalism.

In October 2020, a group of scholars demanded that Hannah-Jones be stripped of her Pulitzer Prize for her essay, which they described as “profoundly flawed.”

“We call on the Pulitzer Prize Board to rescind the 2020 Prize for Commentary awarded to Nikole Hannah-Jones for her lead essay in ‘The 1619 Project,’” the statement begins, which was signed by 21 professors, academics, and historians. “That essay was entitled, ‘Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written.’ But it turns out the article itself was false when written, making a large claim that protecting the institution of slavery was a primary motive for the American Revolution, a claim for which there is simply no evidence.”

The New York Times eventually had to retract portions of the 1619 Project’s claims after scholars eviscerated its claims.

Among the historians who excoriated the 1619 Project was Allen C. Guelzo, who serves as a senior research scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University and director of the James Madison Program’s Initiative in Politics and Statesmanship.

Guelzo dismantled what he described as the “historical sloppiness” of the 1619 Project during an interview last year with The Daily Wire.


Related: ‘Profoundly Flawed’: Group Of Scholars Call For Pulitzer Prize To Be Revoked From 1619 Project Author

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