Jelani Cobb

Wednesday, Feb. 1
7 p.m.
LaSells Stewart Center, Corvallis, and livestream
 

Jelani Cobb is a staff writer at The New Yorker, writing on race, history, justice, politics, and democracy, as well as Columbia University's Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and next Dean of Columbia Journalism School.

He recently co-edited The Matter of Black Lives, a collection of The New Yorker's most ground-breaking writing on Black history and culture in America, featuring the work of legendary writers like James Baldwin and Toni Morrison.

The event is free, and registration is required for in-person and livestream. Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made by Jan. 25 to University Events at 541-737-4717 or [email protected].

 

Keynote Registration

About Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb is a staff writer at The New Yorker, writing on race, history, justice, politics, and democracy, as well as Columbia University’s Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and next Dean of Columbia Journalism School. He recently co-edited The Matter of Black Lives, a collection of The New Yorker’s most ground-breaking writing on Black history and culture in America, featuring the work of legendary writers like James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. Publishers Weekly writes, “Beyond the stellar prose, what unites these pieces, which range widely in length, tone, and point of view, is James Baldwin’s insight, paraphrased by Jelani Cobb, that ‘the American future is precisely as bright or as dark as our capacity to grapple with [the legacy of racism].’” Cobb also edited and wrote a new introduction for The Kerner Commission—a historic study of American racism and police violence originally published in 1967—helping to contextualize it for a new generation. The condensed version of the report, called The Essential Kerner Commision Report, is described as an “essential resource for understanding what Cobb calls the ‘chronic national predicament’ of racial unrest” (Publishers Weekly). 

During a historic election in the midst of a global pandemic, Cobb investigated allegations of voter fraud and disenfranchisement as a PBS Frontline correspondent in the documentary Whose Vote Counts, revealing how these unfounded claims entered the political mainstream. He clearly presents how racial inequities, COVID-19, and voter suppression became interlinked crises, contributing to a long legacy of inequality. For tackling one of the key issues at the heart of modern U.S. politics and carefully elucidating what the fight for voting rights looks like in the 21st century, Whose Vote Counts received a Peabody Award. Cobb was also the correspondent for the Frontline documentary Policing the Police, where he examined whether police reform is a viable solution in the wake of mounting protests calling for racial justice, and explored how we can hold police departments accountable. Previously, Cobb was prominently featured in Ava Duvernay’s 13th, her Oscar-nominated documentary about the current mass incarceration of Black Americans, which traces the subject to its historical origins in the Thirteenth Amendment. 

Cobb is the recipient of the  Hillman Prize for opinion and analysis journalism, as well as the Walter Bernstein Award from the Writer’s Guild of America for his investigative work on Policing the Police. He is the author of Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress, and To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic. He was appointed the Dean of Columbia Journalism School in 2022.

Engagement Toolkit for Instructors

This toolkit was created by the Office of Institutional Diversity to encourage university community members to engage more deeply with the Commemoration events. The information included may be used as a resource for individual reflection, group dialogue and academic discourse. 

Recommended watching and Reading

Videos
Books
New Yorker Articles
  • Death of a King; April 9, 2018
    • Abstract: The article discusses the legacy of the April 4, 1968 assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Topics include the significance of the Kerner Report by the U.S. National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, King's book "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?" and the relation of King's death to the U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968 and gun control advocacy. 

    • Themes: 

      • REPORT of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders 

      • WHERE Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? 

      • GUN control in the United States 

  • History Lessons; January 17, 2022

    • Abstract: Article draws upon Martin Luther King, Jr., speech titled "Our God Is Marching On!" And today where new laws are being written not to protect the vote but to deny it, not only to suppress the vote but to subvert it. He argues that restricting access to history curriculum threatens to narrow our understanding of both past and future. 

    • Themes:  

      • American History  

      • Democracy  

      • False information 

      • Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr.  

      • Presidential elections 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration

The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration is the longest running annual event at Oregon State University focused on social justice and transformative change. 

COMMEMORATION OBJECTIVES

  • Learn about and reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King and collaboratively envision ways to carry forward his work;
  • Participate in an impactful, inclusive and engaging celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King; and
  • Collaboratively learn about and reflect on the legacy of Dr. King in a way that is relevant in today's context.

Commemoration Details