Jelani Cobb is a staff writer at the
New Yorker, to which he has been contributing since 2012. In 2015, he won the Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism for his columns on race, the police, and injustice. In addition, he is the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, joining the faculty in 2016. Previously, Cobb was associate professor of history and director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut, where he specialized in post-Civil War African American history, 20th-century American politics, and the history of the Cold War. Earlier, he taught at Rutgers University and at Spelman College. He is a recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations. Cobb is co-editor of the just-published anthology The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from The New Yorker (2021) and author of 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 & Dave Chappelle and Other Essays (2007). He recently edited and wrote a new introduction for the Kerner Commission—a historic study of American racism and police violence—contextualizing it for a new generation. Cobb is the recipient of the Walter Bernstein Award from the Writer’s Guild of America for his investigative series Policing the Police, which aired on PBS Frontline. Another recent Frontline documentary, Whose Vote Counts, explores allegations of voter disenfranchisement and fraud in the 2020 election. Cobb earned his undergraduate degree from Howard University and a PhD in American history from Rutgers University.