Nikole Hannah-Jones is one of three cover stories for the November/December issue of ESSENCE magazine.
The publication unveiled its special three-cover edition of the magazine, which also features Grammy Award-winning star, Lizzo and Olympic gold medalist, Simone Biles.
Hannah-Jones was thrown into the global spotlight as editor of the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” published in 2019 as a special issue of The New York Times Magazine. The project reframed the American story through the lens of slavery, earning Hannah-Jones a Pulitzer Prize for her introductory essay.
The prize-winning journalist then made headlines again in June when her alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, announced that she would teach in the Knight Chair position that comes with the expectation of tenure.
Critics of her “1619 Project” complained and UNC doubled back, instead granting her a different role with the option for a tenure review in five years. Her tenure offer, revoked. Following a public uproar and protests from other faculty members, the UNC backtracked once again, offering Hannah-Jones tenure. She declined and accepted a faculty role at Howard University — an HBCU.
“It was important for me to say no to UNC, for my dignity, my self-respect,” she explains to ESSENCE Senior News and Politics Editor Malaika Jabali. “When ‘NO’ Opens Doors.” “And then, outside of me, I needed to do it for Black people and marginalized people, for their dignity and respect, too.”
This week, Hannah-Jones’ new project, “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story,” Nikole Hannah-Jones hit bookshelves across the country. The book features essays, poems and works of fiction examining the legacy of slavery in present-day America.