New Yorker Staff Writer Jelani Cobb to Speak at W&J College

Created: October 12, 2018  |  Last Updated: July 16, 2020  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (Oct. 10, 2018) – Award-winning diversity speaker and New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb will speak at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in Yost Auditorium of the Howard J. Burnett Center.

Cobb’s lecture, “The Half Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today,” is free and open to the public.

This is the first event hosted by W&J’s African-American Studies Program, which was introduced to the College’s academic offerings this fall. Associate Professor of History David Kieran, Ph.D. said Cobb’s lecture will be a wonderful compliment to the program, which seeks to continue discussions of African American culture on campus through new courses, public lectures, and other events.

“Jelani Cobb is one of the most significant scholars and most perceptive critics of race in American writing today,” Kieran said. “We need to have serious conversations in our classrooms and in society about African American culture, as well as about race and racism in American culture. He’s an ideal person for us to have on campus as we continue to have those conversations.”

Cobb is a recipient of the Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism for his New Yorker columns, which examine the complexity of race and race relations in the United States. His articles include “The Anger in Ferguson,” “Murders in Charleston,” and “What We Talk About When We Talk About Reparations.” He also has received the Walter Bernstein Award from the Writer’s Guild of America for his investigative series Policing the Police, which aired on PBS Frontline.

Additionally, Cobb is prominently featured in Ava Duvernay’s 13th, her Oscar-nominated documentary about the current mass incarceration of black Americans, which traces the subject to its historical origins in the Thirteenth Amendment. Cobb teaches in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and recently accepted a duPont-Columbia Award on behalf of Duvernay for the documentary.

Cobb was formerly Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, where he was director of the Africana Studies Institute. He has received Fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations. He is the author of Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of ProgressTo the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic, and The Devil & Dave Chappelle and Other Essays. His forthcoming book is Antidote to Revolution: African American Anticommunism and the Struggle for Civil Rights, 1931.


About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.