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Jelani Cobb to address policing and racial justice in Krieger Lecture

Media Contact

Jeff Tyson

The escalating tensions between police and the black community in the United States will be the subject of the 2018 Krieger Lecture in American Political Culture, delivered by Columbia University historian Jelani Cobb.

The event will include a screening of Cobb’s PBS Frontline documentary, “Policing the Police,” followed by a conversation with Russell Rickford, associate professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences. The event will take place on May 3 at 4:30 p.m. in Rhodes Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall, and is free and open to the public

“We are seeing violent attacks on black people escalate throughout the country and in many parts of the world, so this is an absolutely crucial time to confront questions of policing and racial justice,” Rickford says. “I am looking forward to a no-holds-barred conversation that addresses the troubled boundaries between reform and rebellion and between amelioration and abolition.”

A professor in Columbia’s School of Journalism and staff writer for The New Yorker, Cobb frequently writes about race, class and cultural politics in the United States. His books include “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress” and “To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic.” His work has appeared in the Washington Post, The New Republic and The Progressive, and he has been a commentator on National Public Radio, CNN and CBS News.

Cobb was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for “combining masterful writing with a deep knowledge of history and a deft reporter’s touch to bring context and clarity to the issue of race at a time when respectful dialogue on the subject often gives way to finger-pointing and derision.” He received the 2015 Sidney Hillman Award for Opinion and Analysis writing from the Sidney Hillman Foundation for his columns on race, the police and injustice.

The Krieger lecture was endowed by Sanford ’65 and Carol Krieger in 2000 and is sponsored by the American Studies Program.

Spencer DeRoos is a communications assistant for the College of Arts and Sciences.