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Ibram Kendi launches new publishing project with Boston Globe to ‘reframe’ race discussions

Another project for the professor who advocates for anti-racism

Professor Ibram Kendi has announced the launch of his latest project, a collaboration with The Boston Globe.

The new publishing deal will “help reframe today’s national conversation on race,” according to a Boston University news release.

Kendi will work with Bina Venkataraman, the editorial page editor for the newspaper, to launch an independent anti-racist multimedia platform called The Emancipator, modeled after a 19th century anti-slavery publication founded in 1820 by abolitionist Elihu Embree.

No one involved in the project would respond to questions about the project and if it meant the professor would be pausing his racial data tracker project.

The College Fix reached out to Kendi’s media relations team twice in the past two weeks via email. The Fix asked what the collaboration with the Globe hopes to accomplish, if Kendi will pause his work on the racial data lab with Professor Azer Bestavros, how the professor and news editor will divide up the work and when publication will begin.

Kora Fernandez, the listed spokesperson for the university, did not respond. The data tracker project has no updates on the Center for Antiracist Research website. The only research is a link to a no longer updated tracker compiled by The Atlantic magazine and its volunteers.

MORE: What has Kendi accomplished?

The Fix also reached out to Venkataraman twice in the past two weeks as well and asked about how the pair will divide the work, Venkataraman’s inspiration behind this new project and what kind of topics she hopes to tackle. The Fix did not receive a response.

The College Fix emailed Heidi Flood, a spokesperson for the Globe, but did not receive a response to inquiries. The newspaper did not respond to questions about Kendi’s role and if the project meant that The Globe had an editorial position in support of anti-racism.

The anti-racist platform is expected to launch by summer 2021 on the newspaper as a microsite. Unlike the newspaper’s main website, readers won’t need a paid subscription to access The Emancipator, the media relations team said in its announcement.

Anti-racist enthusiasts can expect the Emancipator to publish scholars’ and journalists’ works in a variety of formats.

Students from the Boston University’s College of Communication will also have a chance to get their pieces published. The news site will feature abolition-era editorials, annotated by scholars and writers, for readers to see how they relate to current public debates.

Globe editor explains inspiration

“If you look back at those 19th-century abolition newspapers,” Venkataraman said, in an interview on CBS on March 19, listing several of the historical newspapers based in Boston, “what you find, I think, is a great set of inspiring editorials and visions for how opinion journalism can move forward conversations that is so resonate today.”

“Here we are, flash forward 200 years later after the founding of The Emancipator,” Venkataraman said in the same interview with CBS, “And we have a great need to achieve a racially just society…we have to help people imagine that that’s even possible.”

The situation today, the newspaper editor said, is “a very similar fashion to the way abolition era newspapers writers and editors had to do in their time.”

Kendi’s spotty record on fulfilling promises

According to previous reports, Kendi usually falls short on academic projects. As the Washington Free Beacon described in a September 2020 article, the anti-racism proponent never fulfilled a promise to develop a “racial reporting guidebook” at American University after securing a $50,000 grant.

He also never completed the “National Antibigotry Project” after receiving a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. He also failed to deliver on his promise for the “world’s largest” data library on race data.

MORE: Kendi likely made at least $300,000 calling America racist

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Lela Gallery -- Mount Holyoke College