Nikole Hannah-Jones (306689)
Nikole Hannah-Jones Credit: Photo courtesy of Howard University

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A settlement between journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill linked to her tenure dispute in 2021 contains concessions designed to help faculty and students of color, according to her post on Twitter on Tuesday.

Hannah-Jones tweeted that she and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund fought for the concession, which were not mentioned in the university’s settlment announcement last Friday. At the time, the school said the settlement with Hannah-Jones was for less than $75,000 and was approved by school Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz.

“But my settlement was about much more than that,” she tweeted.

The settlement includes $5,000 reserved in the provost’s office to pay for meeting expenses, events and symposia sponsored by the Carolina Black Caucus per year through June 2025, according to Hannah-Jones. She said the concessions were based on the requests of student and faculty groups.

“We believe that these concessions will help make my alma mater better and help it live up to its promise,” she said. “As I said again and again: This was never about me.”

Hannah-Jones — who won the Pulitzer Prize for her work on The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project focusing on America’s history of slavery — was hired as UNC’s Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

dispute over whether UNC should grant Hannah-Jones a lifetime faculty appointment prompted a widespread outcry from professors and alumni as well as Black students and faculty. Her tenure application stalled over objections by a powerful donor and concerns by conservatives about her work.

Hannah-Jones’ tenure application was submitted to UNC’s trustees in 2020, but it was halted after a board member who vets the appointments raised questions about her nonacademic background. She would instead be given a five-year contract, despite the fact that her predecessors were granted tenure when appointed. After weeks of mounting pressure, the trustees finally voted 9-4 to offer tenure.

Hannah-Jones told The Associated Press that the unfairness of how she was treated as a Black woman steered her toward turning the offer down. She accepted a chaired professorship at Howard University, a historically Black school in Washington, D.C.

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  1. She will like it better at HOWARD UNIVERSITY anyway, plus she will blossom more than what Winston Salem has to offer, and there isn’t anything to do down there but lay on the couch and become an alcoholic. The war on black women is disgraceful, but with strength, those that are not hypnotized, better yet whitematized by the inorganic will surely rise to the occasion. Peace and Oneness, ABORIGINE LOVE IS ABORIGINE POWER.

    1. 19 July 2022

      I’m elated for Hanna-Jones, as she has made it constantly clear in her ever gratuitous saying “This was never about me!”

      The soft eloquent and stern reminder from her to the community of conscious thinkers, is a voice of sentiments forever historically landmarking the like the proverbial “breaking the glass ceiling.” Thank you Hanna-Jones for keeping the door(s) from closing. Thank you for kicking in the door and/or taking off the door hinges. From NPR; CNN interviews and other media reporting on the 1619 Project, making the people proud.

      Holding even just the one door open or yet alone thinking to act upon the notion(s) for iterating the right to knowledge is courageous. Some people view it as troublesome and some in fact read it as a revolutionary stand.

      What history I know of Winston-Salem, North Carolina is a place where one of HBC “WSSU” founded in 1892. Thousands of students go o. To become productive citizens from education to medicine.Also. a place Dr. Maya Angelou settled and taught. Togo West, US Secretary of Veterans Affairs as second African American appointed. Then Safe Bus Company 1926 by a corporation of African Americans. Today this city is known as the a place for welcoming Black Theatre Arts. TV, Stage/Broadway and [Black] Hollywood Stars support the local community. It is a place that has a bonafide legacy in history, and stories archived in African American Heritage Committee.

      I would take umbrage of the to the opinion: “…. and there isn’t anything to do down there but lay on the couch and become an alcoholic. ….” Let me suggest that there’s a plenty to do down there, like keeping the proverbial “door open” for social, political and cultural justices is a call for Hanna-Jones.

      I’m sure a Hanna Jones in Winston-Salem would not lounge and lush it up. Let’s us motivate couch potatoes off the couches and alcoholics out of the bottles. Let us rise to the occasion against any disgrace.

      Perhaps the NAACP and the Carolina Black Caucus will consider utilizing the some portion of Hanna-Jones settlement help rising off the couches and rising out of the bottles.

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