Baltimore Native Ta-Nehisi Coates Wins Polk Award

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Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates at the University of Virginia during the MLK Celebration 2015. Photo by Montesbradley.

If you neglected to read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “The Case for Reparations,” back when it was cover story for the Atlantic in June of last year, here’s your second opportunity. The Baltimore native and Woodlawn High grad’s provocative analysis of the forces that have hindered African Americans in accumulating wealth since the end of slavery just earned him a George Polk Award for commentary.

If you’ve been privy to the conversation surrounding “The Case for Reparations” but haven’t read it yet yourself, you may have a skewed idea of what it argues and how. Which is to say, the article stirred up an awful lot of discussion among people who didn’t actually read it.

NPR published an enlightening — and hilarious — article titled “How to Tell Who Hasn’t Read the New ‘Atlantic’ Cover Story.” Contrary to what many assume from the title, the essay is not mostly about the “residual effects” of slavery, it doesn’t concern itself with logistics of distributing reparations, and it’s not talking about welfare programs. It’s about specific discriminatory public policies that have prevented African Americans from building capital for generations.

It is seriously interesting. Read it.

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