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Spelman College Commencement

2023 Commencement Speaker

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-JonesNikole Hannah-Jones is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine. The book version of The 1619 Project and the 1619 Project children's book, Born on the Water, were instant #1 New York Times bestsellers. Her 1619 Project is now a six-part docuseries on Hulu.

Hannah-Jones has spent her career investigating racial inequality and injustice. Her reporting has earned her the MacArthur Fellowship, known as the Genius Grant, a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards and the National Magazine Award three times.

She also serves as the Knight Chair of Race and Journalism at Howard University, where she founded the Center for Journalism & Democracy. Hannah-Jones is also the co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, which seeks to increase the number of investigative reporters and editors of color. In 2022 she opened the 1619 Freedom School, a free afterschool literacy program in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa. Hannah-Jones holds a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and African-American studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Learn more about Nikole Hannah-Jones