Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of The Beautiful Struggle and Between the World and Me, will be the keynote speaker for our 2015 Community Meeting. The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at Miller Auditorium on the campus of Western Michigan University.
The Beautiful Struggle is Coates' memoir about growing up in Baltimore. Between the World and Me, written as a letter to his 15-year-old son, discusses America’s history of racial violence, and explores what it is like to be black in this country.
Considered one of the most original and perceptive African American voices of our time, Coates – a national correspondent for The Atlantic – has written on how pop culture, politics and history shape discussions of equity, diversity and inclusion. His articles have covered a history of racism in America, the case for reparations, generational and ideological rifts in the black community, the meaning of black culture, and the role of both older and younger generations in shaping that culture.
The New Yorker says he "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."
Coates, whose Atlantic blog was named as one of the best 25 in the world by Time magazine, is Journalist-in-Residence at the School of Journalism at City University of New York and previously served as Martin Luther King Visiting Associate Professor at MIT. His writing for The Atlantic covers culture, politics and social issues. He received the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism in 2012 and the George Polk Award for Commentary in 2014. Before joining The Atlantic, he wrote for The Village Voice and was a contributor to Time, O and The New York Times.
For the 13th time, PNC Bank is the lead sponsor for the event, which will be a highlight of the University Center for the Humanities at WMU’s 2015-2016 Speaker Series: Reimagining Communities. We also are partnering with other people and organizations to maximize the impact of Coates’ visit to our community.