PHILADELPHIA - Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the acclaimed New York Times 1619 Project observing the 400th anniversary of the advent of American slavery, will be the recipient of the “We The People” award at the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania’s Centennial Celebration Philly on February 29, 2020.

The ACLU-PA will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the national American Civil Liberties Union in 1920, and the celebration will be held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

“Nikole Hannah-Jones is the ideal person to receive this important award,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU-PA. “She has been exposing readers to the impacts of racial injustice throughout her distinguished career. Her ground-breaking 1619 Project radicalizes our understanding of our history: how the foundations and consequences of slavery have shaped the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a nation, centering the contributions of Black Americans to our democracy. It is a conversation that is at once timely and long overdue.”

Before joining the staff of the New York Times Magazine, Hannah-Jones was a reporter at ProPublica, the Oregonian, and the Raleigh News and Observer. She covered a number of civil rights issues, including education and housing.

The recipient of over 30 prestigious awards and an honorary doctorate, in 2012 her coverage of federal shortcomings in enforcement of the 1968 Fair Housing Act won her Columbia University’s Tobenkin Award for distinguished coverage of racial or religious discrimination. In 2017, she received a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” Fellowship for her work on inequality in education. She is a former Russell Sage Foundation visiting journalist and a New American fellow. She serves on the boards of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the Spencer Foundation, and the Teacher Project.

In 2016, Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a training and mentorship organization geared towards increasing the numbers of investigative reporters of color.

Hannah-Jones received her B.A. in 1998 from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. in 2003 from the University of North Carolina.

In commenting on the 1619 Project, Hannah-Jones observed, “At 43, I am part of the first generation of black Americans in the history of the United States to be born into a society in which black people had full rights of citizenship. Black people suffered under slavery for 250 years; we have been legally ‘free’ for just 50. Yet in that briefest of spans, despite continuing to face rampant discrimination, and despite there never having been a genuine effort to redress the wrongs of slavery and the century of racial apartheid that followed, black Americans have made astounding progress, not only for ourselves but also for all Americans.

“What if America understood, finally, in this 400th year, that we have never been the problem but the solution?”

The ACLU Centennial Celebration Philly will take place at the National Constitution Center at 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia, on Saturday, February 29, 2020.

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