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Sixth & I

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6:30 pm

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Dec 18, 2017 • 7:30 pm

In 2008, Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, went from believing that a black president was impossible to being challenged by the sudden prospect of one.

In his new book, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, Coates examines the threads between the unprecedented election of Barack Obama and the vicious backlash that fueled the election of Donald Trump, a man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.” He does so through the point of view of a young writer who begins his journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing the President of the United States.

More than an analysis of our first black president, We Were Eight Years in Power is a personal narrative that examines the symbiosis of Obama’s influence on American culture, Coates’s intellectual and professional growth, and the inspiring new voices, ideas, and movements that emerged together over this period.

Comprised of eight fresh essays, We Were Eight Years in Power revisits each year of the Obama administration through Coates’ experiences and observations, all of which are linked together through iconic essays previously published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” and more.

We Were Eight Years in Power illuminates what this period of time has taught us about the heart of America and the shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates, the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, won the National Book Award for his #1 New York Times bestseller, Between the World and Me.

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