Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb is the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University and a staff writer for The New Yorker, where he writes frequently about race, politics, history and culture. Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia, he was an associate professor of history and the director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut where he specialized in post-Civil War African American history, twentieth-century American politics, and the history of the Cold War. He has received the 2015 Sidney Hillman Award for Opinion and Analysis writing as well as fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations.

He is the author of The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress (2010), To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic (2007), and The Devil and Dave Chappelle and Other Essays (2007). His articles and essays have appeared in the Washington Post, The New Republic, Essence, Vibe, The Progressive, and, and he has contributed to a number of anthologies. He is also the editor of The Essential Harold Cruse: A Reader (2002). His forthcoming book is "Antidote to Revolution: African American Anticommunism and the Struggle for Civil Rights, 1931."

Cobb is participating in the OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program in partnership with the Lavin Agency.

Twitter: @jelani9.


  • The Half-Life of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement and the Return of Racial Populism *

Lectures marked with a * are offered as part of the OAH's initiative, Historians' Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump.