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Ta-Nehisi Coates Visits Norfolk State University

Ta-Nehisi Coates photo

New York Times bestselling author, Ta-Nehisi Coates, visited Norfolk State’s campus on October 19.  Held in the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center, Coates discussed his memoir "The Beautiful Struggle," which was selected as the NSU Common Reader for all first-year and Transfer students for the fall semester.

Growing up in Baltimore as a black male in the 1980s, Coates discussed how he had to have a strong focus on his survival rather than his education due to the rise of the crack epidemic, HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, and gun violence. He went on to say, "Racism is the privilege to not wake up in the morning and your entire morning routine consisting around your personal safety."

Coates is an award-winning author and journalist. His bestselling books include “The Beautiful Struggle,” “We Were Eight Years in Power,” “The Water Dancer,” and “Between the World and Me,” which won the National Book Award in 2015. He was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2019. Coates also enjoyed a successful run writing Marvel’s Black Panther (2016-2021) and Captain America (2018-2021) comic series.

When asked about the title of his book "The Beautiful Struggle," he said the HBCU experience is simply that. "These institutions were founded to educate free descendants of slaves, but so many beautiful things have come out of it. Oppression is unfortunate. But one of the things about being forced to live at the bottom is you get to confront the elements and truths of the world.”