Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Ta-Nehisi Coates
Coates at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival
Born 1975 (age 38–39)
Baltimore, Maryland
Occupation Writer, journalist, blogger
Genres Journalism, non-fiction, blogging, race, politics, culture

Ta-Nehisi Coates (/ˌtɑːnəˈhɑːsi ˈkts/ TAH-nə-HAH-see KOHTS;[1] born 1975, Baltimore, Maryland) is a senior editor for The Atlantic and a blogger for the publication's website. Coates has worked for The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, and Time. He has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, O, and other publications. In 2008 he published a memoir, The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood.

Personal life[edit]

Coates was raised in a working-class family in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, William Paul Coates, was a Vietnam veteran and former Black Panther. His mother, Cheryl, was the breadwinner in the family and his father was a stay-at-home dad where he ran a small publishing house[2] during Ta-Nehisi's childhood.[3] Ta-Nehisi's father had seven children.[4] Ta-Nehisi is an Egyptian name for ancient Nubia.[5]

Coates attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, and Howard University but dropped out to become a journalist.[6][7] He currently resides in Harlem with his wife and son.[8]

Writing and teaching[edit]

In 2009, he published The Beautiful Struggle, an autobiography of his coming of age in West Baltimore.

Coates is a senior editor at The Atlantic, for which he writes feature articles beside maintaining a blog. Topics covered by the blog include politics, history, race, culture as well as sports, and music. His writing on race, such as his September 2012 Atlantic cover piece "Fear of a Black President",[9][10][8] have been especially praised, and have won his blog a place on the Best Blogs of 2011 list by TIME Magazine.[11] and the 2012 Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism from The Sidney Hillman Foundation.[8][12] Coates' blog has also been praised for its engaging comments section, which Coates curates and moderates heavily so that, "the jerks are invited to leave [and] the grown-ups to stay and chime in".[13][14][15]

Coates is the 2012-13 MLK visiting professor for writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a guest columnist for the New York Times, having turned down an offer from them to become a regular columnist.[8] He has also written for The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, Time, The Washington Post, the Washington Monthly and O magazine.[8][16]


  1. ^ Fresh Air, 2009 Feb 19 The name derives from the Egyptian name of Nubia, nḥsy, for which the vowels are unknown.
  2. ^ Interview with Terry Gross on NPR's radio show Fresh Air
  3. ^ Smith, Jeremy Adam. The Daddy Shift: How Stay-at-Home Dads, Breadwinning Moms, and Shared Parenting are Transforming the American Family. Boston: Beacon Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8070-2120-0, p. 105.
  4. ^ Manning Up The Coates Family's Beautiful Struggle in Word and Deed Felicia Pride June 6, 2008
  5. ^ Bookslut.com
  6. ^ Felicia Pride (2007-04-06). "Manning Up: The Coates Family's Beautiful Struggle in Word and Deed". Baltimore City Paper. 
  7. ^ "The guest list". Vibe, November 2004.
  8. ^ a b c d e Smith, Jordan Michael (March 5, 2013). "Fear of a Black Pundit: Ta-Nehisi Coates raises his voice in American media". New York Observer. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ Coates, Ta-Nehisi (August 22, 2012). "Fear of a Black President". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  10. ^ Levenson, Tom (September 28, 2012). "Notable narrative: "Fear of a Black President," by Ta-Nehisi Coates". Nieman Storyboard. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Full List - The Best Blogs of 2011". Time Magazine
  12. ^ "2012 Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism: Ta-Nehisi Coates". Sidney Hillman Foundation. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  13. ^ Garfield, Bob (December 30, 2011). "How to create an engaging comments section". On the media. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ Azi, Paybarah (October 22, 2010). "NPR's guide to blogging: act like Andrew Sullivan, Ben Smith, Ta-Nehisi Coates". WNYC. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  15. ^ Matias, J. Nathan (October 22, 2012). "The beauty and terror of commenting communities: Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Media Lab". MIT Center for Civic Media. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Ta-Nehisi Coates is 2012-2013 MLK Visiting Scholar". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 

External links[edit]