Author Ta-Nehisi Coates to headline 'Color of Education' event in Raleigh

Monday, May 13, 2019


FILE -- Author Ta-Nehisi Coates in Baltimore, July 16, 2015. (Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times)

RALEIGH, N.C. — Author Ta-Nehisi Coates will headline "Color of Education 2019" in Raleigh this October, a summit focused on race, equity and education in North Carolina.

The one-day event, scheduled for Oct. 26 at the Raleigh Convention Center, will include workshops and presentations focused on racial equity, eliminating racial disparities in education, discipline disparities and racial trauma. Sessions will be open to educators, parents, students, nonprofits, policymakers, researchers, community groups and others.

The event is a collaboration between the Public School Forum of North Carolina, The Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, and Policy Bridge at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy.

Last October, the inaugural "Color of Education" event featured New York Times Magazine reporter and MacArthur "Genius" Fellow Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Coates will be reading from his forthcoming book and first novel, "The Water Dancer," slated for release at the end of September. In addition to the reading and a Q&A with the audience, Coates will be joined on stage for a conversation about race in America with William “Sandy” Darity, Samuel DuBois Cook professor of public policy at Duke University.

"Ta-Nehisi Coates offers thought-provoking insight on the influence of race and racism on access to opportunity – which is pertinent to addressing racial equity and inclusion at the local and national level," Keisha Bentley-Edwards, associate director of research for the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity and co-chair of the Color of Education guiding committee, said in a statement.

Coates is a distinguished writer in residence at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He is the author of the bestselling books, "The Beautiful Struggle," "We Were Eight Years in Power," and "Between The World And Me," which won the National Book Award in 2015. He is also the current author of the Marvel comics, "The Black Panther" and "Captain America."

 Cover of  Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Forthcoming Novel Revealed

"One of the key goals for Color of Education is to bring educators and practitioners from all across the state who are doing the hard work in the classroom and on the ground to eliminate racial barriers in education together with some of the nation’s best thought leaders and equity leaders for professional development, training, inspiration and motivation," Keith Poston, president and executive director of the Public School Forum of N.C. and co-chair of the Color of Education guiding committee, said in a statement. "One of the first steps in addressing racial inequities both within and outside of our schools is to have honest and critical conversations about the historical and ongoing realities of systemic racism, and Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the country’s most important voices addressing it."

The impact of race in education was a central focus of the Public School Forum’s Study Group XVI: Expanding Education Opportunity in North Carolina. The Committee on Racial Equity’s findings and recommendations were published in October 2016. The committee covered issues such as resegregation, teacher diversity, discipline disparity and lack of access to advanced, more rigorous coursework for students of color.

Earlier this year, WRAL News produced a two-part investigation about the lack of teacher diversity in North Carolina's public schools, colleges of education and Teaching Fellows program. Across North Carolina, 80 percent of teachers are white, while minority students make up 52 percent of the traditional public school body.

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