Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times Magazine correspondent and creator of The 1619 Project
According to Pulitzer . org, journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones is a recipient of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for The 1619 Project, described as “a sweeping, deeply reported and personal essay, which seeks to place the enslavement of Africans at the center of America’s story, prompting public conversation about the nation’s founding and evolution” and as “a groundbreaking look at the impact of slavery 400 years after the first slaves arrived in what would become the United States.”
“I did not know this when I pitched the project, but this is the most important work of my life. I did not expect the reaction and the impact that it had. I am not a hopeful person, but every once in a while I felt a twinge in my cold heart to know that so many kids are learning this as curriculum. The amount of response that I’ve received; the fact that a presidential candidate mentioned 1619 during a national presidential debate and it was not career suicide. I think it’s changed me in that way. And honestly, I didn’t realize I was patriotic until I started writing my essay. It wasn’t until working on this project that I really understood that black people should be claiming this country, and we have just as much right as anyone else, so I’ve changed in that way too,” Hannah-Jones said in a 2019 interview with Darcel Rocket, who asked how The 1619 Project has changed her life.
Other noteworthy winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prize award include Colson Whitehead, who won the Fiction award for “The Nickel Boys,” Jericho Brown, who won the Poetry award for “The Tradition,” Michael R. Jackson, who won the Drama award for “A Strange Loop,” and Anthony Davis, who won the Music award for “The Central Park Five.” Posthumously, Ida B. Wells was awarded for her news coverage of lynchings in the 19th and 20th centuries. (In 2018, Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer prize for “DAMN” represented the first win for a non-classical or jazz musician in the award’s 75-year history.)
Hannah-Jones is a domestic correspondent for The New York Times Magazine focusing on racial injustice. She has written on federal failures to enforce the Fair Housing Act, the resegregation of American schools and policing in America. Her extensive print and radio reporting on the ways segregation in housing and schools is maintained through official action and policy has earned a National Magazine Award, a Peabody Award and a Polk Award. She was also named a 2017 MacArthur Fellow.
A resident of Brooklyn, New York, Hannah-Jones earned a bachelor’s in history and African-American studies from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.