In February 2007, Ta-Nehisi Coates had lost his third job in seven years and was scrambling to find work to support his family. A little more than a year later he published a well-received essay on the black conservatism of Bill Cosby, which launched his career at the Atlantic.

What followed was a number of widely read blogposts and essays, most notably The Case for Reparations, interviews with President Obama and eventual celebrity status with the publication in 2015 of Between the World and Me, a book about race in America. Coates is now a leading intellectual of his generation; second place might not even be close.

Coates’s latest book, We Were Eight Years in Power, is pulled in two different directions. His attempt to narrate how the first black presidency triggered a racist backlash that gave rise to Trump is intertwined with an autobiographical account of his unexpected rise to fame.

African American History, Black History, Ta-Nehisi Coates, African American Intellectual, African American Intellect, American History, Atheism, We Were Eight Years in Power, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN


The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).

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