Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, but her UNC tenure application was initially halted because of what she said was political opposition among trustees and the opposition of a top donor to the journalism school. She eventually was granted tenure following the controversy.
But in an interview with CBS This Morning, Hannah-Jones said that she decided to decline the offer.
“Every other chair before me, who also happened to be white, received that position with tenure,” she said. “To have that vote occur on the last possible day, after threat of legal action, after weeks of protests…it’s just not something that I want anymore.”
Hannah-Jones will be the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Reporting at Howard, joining Ta-Nehisi Coates, who will be a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences. Howard University said that Hannah-Jones also will found the Center for Journalism and Democracy, which will focus on training and supporting aspiring journalists in investigative skills and historical and analytical expertise.
The appointments are backed by $20 million donated by Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation along with an anonymous donor.