We called it: Nikole Hannah-Jones, the investigative journalist who was the brainchild of the groundbreaking 1619 project, is an embodiment of unity. Today, the Pulitzer Prize Board recognized it too by awarding Hannah-Jones the 2020 Pulitzer for Commentary.
“The arts have the power to sustain, unite and inspire us during times of uncertainty and fear,” Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy said before announcing Hannah-Jones as a 2020 winner on Monday.
The 2017 MacArthur Foundation “genius” winner (and The Root 100 honoree for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019—whew!) spoke to her colleagues at the New York Times via webcam after learning she received a Pulitzer Prize for her essay America wasn’t a Democracy, Until America Made it One, which led the 1619 project:
Celebrated novelist Colson Whitehead was also awarded the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel The Nickel Boys, which tells the two boys at horrifying reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.
African-American artists were also recognized in the categories for poetry, drama, and music, with prizes going to playwright Michael R. Jackson, poet Jericho Brown, and composer Anthony Davis respectively.
See the full list of 2020 Pulitzer Prize awardees here.
Clarification, 5/4/20, 6:43 p.m.: Ida B. Wells, the acclaimed civil rights era journalist whose investigating reporting inspired Hannah-Jones herself, was also given a posthumous Pulitzer Prize citation.