The Atlantic‘s Ta-Nehisi Coates has won the George Polk Award for Commentary for “The Case for Reparations.” The story graced the cover of the magazine’s June 2014 issue.
“Honored to receive a Polk award,” Coates wrote on Twitter Monday to announce the award. “Is it weird to dedicate awards to people? Oh well. This one is so much for @carr2n.”
Coates was first discovered by NYT‘s late media columnist David Carr at Washington City Paper.
In 2008, Coates offered more praise for Carr. In a post he called “A plug David Carr doesn’t need,” he wrote, “Very few people know this, but David Carr is arguably the biggest reason you are reading this blog right now. Some day, I’ll tell you guys about that–it’s not half as exciting as his book. Anyway, here he is on the Colbert Report. The kid cleans up well.”
A release by The Atlantic states that “In this powerful essay, Coates mapped the obstacles African-Americans have faced in accumulating wealth across generations, challenging the country to reckon with the moral debts it has incurred from slavery through Jim Crow to racist housing policies.”
In a quote for The Atlantic, Coates expressed gratitude for the magazine. “It’s a tremendous honor to receive the Polk Award,” he said. “I take it as recognition for the tremendous effort and investment The Atlantic has put into pushing new ideas into the mainstream backed by thorough research and reporting.”
The story apparently did well for the magazine. “The Case for Reparations” brought more unique visitors in a single day to The Atlantic’s site than any previous magazine story,” they announced. The June issue sold 60 percent more copies on newsstand than its 2013 counterpart.
The George Polk award was created by Long Island University honors “special achievement” in journalism. It’s named for George Polk, a CBS correspondent who was murdered in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war.