Jelani Cobb

jelani-cobb-200Jelani Cobb is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Africana Studies Institute. He specializes in post-Civil War African American history, 20th century American politics and the history of the Cold War. He is a recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations. Professor. Cobb is the author of The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama & the Paradox of Progress (Bloomsbury 2010) and To The Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic (NYU Press 2007) which was a finalist for the National Award for Arts Writing. His collection The Devil & Dave Chappelle and Other Essays (Thunder’s Mouth Press) was also published in 2007. He is editor of The Essential Harold Cruse: A Reader. Born and raised in Queens, NY, he was educated at Jamaica High School, Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Rutgers University where he received his doctorate in American History in May 2003.
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Will Jeff Sessions Police the Police?

The dismay that the neophytes in the Trump Administration elicit tends to follow three stages: alarm at what they say, shock at what they do, and outrage at what they propose to do next. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is no political neophyte—he represented Alabama in the Senate for twenty years—but the pattern still applies. His confirmation hearing included a reminder of an indulgent jest he once made about the Ku Klux Klan. On the Senate floor, Elizabeth Warren was silenced when she tried to … [Read more...]

Martin Luther King Day With Trump

April 8, 1968, Representative John Conyers, from Detroit, marched through downtown Memphis with Coretta Scott King, Ralph Abernathy, Harry Belafonte, and thousands of people who had come to that city from across the country. Four days earlier, Martin Luther King, Jr., had been shot and killed there, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, and a fugue of disbelief and despair hovered over the crowd as it continued down the road that King had travelled. The march served as a momentary validation of … [Read more...]

The Matter of Black Lives

A new kind of movement found its moment. What will its future be? On February 18th, as part of the official recognition of Black History Month, President Obama met with a group of African-American leaders at the White House to discuss civil-rights issues. The guests—who included Representative John Lewis, of Georgia; Sherrilyn Ifill, the director-counsel of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and Wade Henderson, who heads the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights—were … [Read more...]

Race and the Free-Speech Diversion

Of the many concerns unearthed by the protests at two major universities this week, the velocity at which we now move from racial recrimination to self-righteous backlash is possibly the most revealing. The unrest that occurred at the University of Missouri and at Yale University, two outwardly dissimilar institutions, shared themes of racial obtuseness, arthritic institutional responses to it, and the feeling, among students of color, that they are tenants rather than stakeholders in their … [Read more...]

No Such Thing as Racial Profiling

#460029928 / gettyimages.com ming just two weeks after the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the non-indictment of Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner has the feel of a grim serial filled with redundant plot lines—a production that few of us wish to watch but none of us can avoid, and that a great many are complicit in creating. This is not imaginary. Here is the man who aspired to become the first black President counselling calm … [Read more...]