Meet a famous Iowan: Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nicole Hannah-Jones after winning a MacArthur #x201c;genius grant.#x201d; (James Estrin/The New York Times)
Nicole Hannah-Jones after winning a MacArthur “genius grant.” (James Estrin/The New York Times)

New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones doesn’t take things at face value.

As a journalist, she digs deeper into the history behind issues of civil rights and racial injustice. That’s what she did for the “1619 Project,” a series that examined the history and impact of race — and racism — in building America. The project is named for the year the first enslaved Africans were brought to what would later become the United States.

Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on the project, the most prestigious award in American journalism.

She also has written about racial segregation and schools, an interest dating back to when she was a young student herself. Her first letter to the editor was published around the time she was in middle school, Hannah-Jones told the Waterloo Courier in 2017. She shined a light on injustices she saw in both her middle school and high school.

Hometown: Waterloo

Fun fact: Her journalism career started as a student at her high school newspaper in Waterloo.


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