Howard University 149th Charter Day Convocation Recap

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Coates Pays Homage to Howard University Legacy and ‘Beauty’

WASHINGTON (March 4, 2016) -- Ta-Nehisi Coates, the award-winning author and Howard University alumnus, delivered an empowering keynote address at the University’s 149th Charter Day Convocation in Cramton Auditorium on Friday.

“There is no geographic quadrant, no place on the globe, nowhere in this world, that I’ve felt is more beautiful than Howard University,” Coates said.

In his remarks, Coates expressed deep appreciation to his predecessors, and encouraged today’s students to revel in the beauty and the empowering aspects of campus life.

“I knew that when I was here that I was not just experiencing a present beauty of an institution. I was experiencing the beauty of a heritage, going way, way back,” Coates said. “That put a pressure on me, a kind of responsibility. Beauty is not free.”

Coates majored in history and studied at Howard from 1993 to 1999. Many of Coates’ siblings, extended family members and close friends have attended the University as well. Coates’ father, William Paul Coates, also worked for the Moorland Spingarn Research Center.

A national correspondent for The Atlantic, Coates published a memoir, The Beautiful Struggle, in 2008, and his New York Times best seller, Between the World and Me, in 2015. Coates is the recipient of the National Magazine Award and the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. He received the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story, “The Case for Reparations.” In addition, Coates was presented the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation MacArthur Fellowship in 2015. Coates also received the highly acclaimed 2015 National Book Award for Between the World and Me.

This year’s Charter Day celebration marks the 149th anniversary of the charter enacted by the United States Congress and approved by President Andrew Johnson on March 2, 1867, that established Howard University.

The 92nd annual Charter Day Dinner will be held at The Washington Hilton Hotel on Saturday, March 5, at 6 p.m. The University will honor five alumni for their extraordinary accomplishments in their respective fields: Dr. Gina F. Adams, Esq., the Honorable Ras J. Baraka, Michelle D. Bernard, Esq., Paulette Brown, Esq., and  Artis G. Hampshire-Cowan, Esq., former senior vice president and secretary to the Howard University Board of Trustees. Each will receive a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.