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Psaki says Howard U is “pretty lucky” to have the creator of the 1619 project, Nikole Hannah-Jones


The White House complained Tuesday about Project Creator Nikole Hannah-Jones’ decision in 1619 to turn down an offer for a tenure at the University of North Carolina and instead go to Howard University after a long smoldering drama about a lifelong teaching position.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki praised Hannah-Jones by saying Howard University in Washington DC students were “pretty lucky” to have the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist on the faculty. Hannah-Jones announced Tuesday her decision to turn down a job offer in Chapel Hill after a controversial job battle, calling on the university to improve its dealings with black students and faculty.

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES rejects UNC office and accuses the university of RACISM: “ONLY SOMETHING THAT I WANT MORE”

“Howard students are very fortunate to have her as a professor in their family,” Psaki said Tuesday when a reporter asked her if UNC’s treatment of Hannah-Jones was an example of “systemic racism.”

Psaki said she did not speak personally with President Biden about Hannah-Jones’ decision to go to Howard, a historically black college and university (HBCU), but said Biden was determined to fight systemic racism.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 19: Nikole Hannah-Jones attends the "Neutral mass" Premiere during the 2021 Tribeca Festival at Pier 76 on June 19, 2021 in New York City.  (Photo by Monica Schipper / Getty Images for the Tribeca Festival)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 19: Nikole Hannah-Jones attends the premiere of “Neutral Ground” during the 2021 Tribeca Festival at Pier 76 on June 19, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper / Getty Images for the Tribeca Festival)
(Monica Schipper / Getty Images for the Tribeca Festival)

“There is no question that there is still systemic racism in our country,” said Psaki during the press conference in the White House. “We’re seeing this in a number of sectors, including some educational institutions.”

“The fight against racial justice is a key priority” for Biden and a “crisis” he wants to focus on during his presidency, she added.

UNC TOASTED AFTER NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES REJECTED IT AFTER THE SCHOOL CANCELED THE SCHOOL’S OFFER

Hannah-Jones blamed conservative political interference and objections from a wealthy donor for her stalled tenure at the University of North Carolina. The black journalist won a pultizer for her work on the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 project, which focused on the long history of American slavery. Conservatives and some historians have blown the work due to inaccuracies and tried to block all efforts to teach the 1619 project material in schools.

“These last few weeks have been very dark,” said Hannah-Jones in a written statement on Tuesday of her decision to leave the UNC. “To be treated so shabbily by my alma mater, by a university that gave me so much and just wanted to give something back, was deeply painful.”

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The university after all voted 9-4 in her favor, but Hannah-Jones said Tuesday she was instead accepting a position as the first knight chair in race and reporting at Howard University, “where I can do my job freely.”

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