Writer, Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates to speak at first event in new JHU Forums on Race in America series

University plans discussions on how race affects life, culture in U.S.

As recent events in Ferguson, Staten Island, North Charleston—and right here in Baltimore—have turned a spotlight on racial inequality and community policing, members of the Johns Hopkins community have called for a meaningful conversation on the subject of race.

Image caption: Ta-Nehisi Coates

In response, JHU President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Robert C. Lieberman worked with the Diversity Leadership Council and the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity to establish the JHU Forums on Race in America. This series of mixed-format discussions will begin with an event on April 28 at 6:30 p.m. in Shriver Hall featuring guest speaker Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine who has written a number of influential articles on race in contemporary black America. Coates has a popular Atlantic blog, contributes to a number of publications, and is the author of The Beautiful Struggle, a memoir of growing up in Baltimore during the age of crack.

Nathan Connolly, an assistant professor of history in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, will moderate the discussion. Debra Furr-Holden, associate professor of mental health in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, will also participate.

"The turmoil over racial inequality and community policing around the country has sparked difficult and important conversations on our campuses," Daniels and Lieberman wrote in a message announcing the new forums to the JHU community. "… It is our hope that [this series] will lead to a sustained universitywide exchange that will resonate with our community and inform our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and academic freedom."

The president and provost encouraged students, faculty, and staff to attend the April 28 forum, which is also sponsored by the Diversity Leadership Council, the Office of Institutional Equity, the Center for Africana Studies, the Black Student Union, the Black Faculty and Staff Association, and Student Affairs.

Attendees are asked to register to attend on the Office of the Provost website.