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Rutgers Reads 2020

Rutgers Reads provides incoming first-year students with a shared, intellectually engaging experience and serves as an introduction to academic life at Rutgers University–Camden. Each year, a small committee convenes to discuss and decide on a selection, which is then incorporated into the English and writing curriculum for all first-year undergraduate students. The Office of New Student Programs provides these incoming students with a copy of the Rutgers Reads book before they begin their first semester at Rutgers University–Camden.

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES is a MacArthur Genius for “reshaping national conversations around education reform.” She is the creator of The New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project,” about the history and lasting legacy of American slavery, for which her powerful introductory essay was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. She also has won a Peabody, two George Polk awards, and the National Magazine Awards three times.

Hannah-Jones covers racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, and has spent years chronicling the way official policy has created—and maintains—racial segregation in housing and schools. Her deeply personal reports on the Black experience in America offer a compelling case for greater equity. Hannah-Jones is the creator and lead writer of the New York Times’ major multimedia initiative, “The 1619 Project.” Named for the year the first enslaved Africans arrived in America, the project features an ongoing series of essays and art on the relationship between slavery and everything from social infrastructure and segregation, to music and sugar—all by Black American authors, activists, journalists, and more. Hannah-Jones wrote the project’s introductory essay, which ran under the powerful headline “Our Democracy’s Founding Ideals Were False When They Were Written. Black Americans Have Fought to Make Them True.” The essay earned Hannah-Jones her first Pulitzer Prize. Random House has announced it will be adapting the project into a graphic novel and four publications for young readers, while also releasing an extended version of the original publication, including more essays, fiction, and poetry.