Home » ‘1619 Project’ head Nikole Hannah-Jones gets tenured UNC job
US

‘1619 Project’ head Nikole Hannah-Jones gets tenured UNC job

'1619 Project' head Nikole Hannah-Jones gets tenured UNC job

All’s well that ends well for Nikole Hannah-Jones.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees voted 9 to 4 Wednesday to offer tenure to the Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project” mastermind after initially declining to do so amid concerns about the historical accuracy of her work.

Hannah-Jones was not present for the closed board meeting, but did tweet a picture of her herself holding a drink after the board vote was made public.

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper praised the board’s decision, saying in a statement that they “did the right thing.”

“Our students will benefit from exploring thought-provoking issues and our campus reputation will be enhanced helping us keep and attract a diverse array of acclaimed scientists, researchers, doctors and scholars,” Cooper added.

The saga began in April, when the school announced that Hannah-Jones would be joining the UNC journalism school’s faculty as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism in July on a five-year contract.

Then in May, the website NC Policy Watch reported that the university would not offer Hannah-Jones tenure over criticism of the “1619 Project” — most notably its central claim that the American Revolution was fought in part to preserve the practice of slavery — from distinguished historians.

Nikole Hannah-Jones
Nikole Hannah-Jones was not present for the closed board meeting.
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File

University leaders said Jones’ application was halted because she did not come from a “traditional academic-type background,” and a trustee who vets tenure appointments wanted more time to consider her qualifications.

“The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story,” which expands upon the New York Times Magazine publication from 2019 that centers the country’s history around slavery and led to a Pulitzer for commentary for the project’s creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones.
“The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” expands upon the New York Times Magazine publication from 2019 that centers the country’s history around slavery.
One World via AP

In the midst of the controversy, another website, The Assembly NC, reported that Arkansas Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman Jr., a major donor to UNC’s school of journalism, had advised university officials against offering a position to Hannah-Jones.

“I worry about the controversy of tying the UNC journalism school to the 1619 project,” Hussman wrote in a December 2020 email. “I find myself more in agreement with Pulitzer prize winning historians like James McPherson and Gordon Wood than I do Nikole Hannah-Jones.

“These historians appear to me to be pushing to find the true historical facts,” Hussman added. “Based on her own words, many will conclude she is trying to push an agenda, and they will assume she is manipulating historical facts to support it. If asked about it, I will have to be honest in saying I agree with the historians.”

Attorneys for Hannah-Jones said last week that she would not report for work without an offer of tenure, leading Student Body President Lamar Richards, who’s also a trustee, to call for the board to convene the special meeting.

Deborah Dwyer, a doctoral candidate, holds a sign while gathered with fellow students and alumni on the steps of Carroll Hall, where the UNC-Chapel Hill Hussman School of Journalism and Media is located, before the university's Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on tenure for distinguished journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, on Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Deborah Dwyer, a doctoral candidate, holds a sign while gathered on the steps of Carroll Hall before the university’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on tenure for journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones on June 30, 2021.
Casey Toth/The News & Observer via AP

With Post wires

About the author

mm

James Partridge

James has worked in various news organizations and now aims to make Stock Market Pioneer one of the best and fastest growing news websites in the U.S. He contributes to the US and World sections.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *