Ta-Nehisi Coates Wins National Book Award, Dedicates it to Friend Killed by Police

By Kenrya Rankin Nov 19, 2015

Last night, author and The Atlantic correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction. His book, “Between the World and Me,” explores America’s troubling relationship with the Black body via a letter to his son.

He accepted the award at a ceremony in New York City last night and used his acceptance speech to talk about his motivation for writing the book. “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people. Over and over and over again. And it keeps happening,” he said.

The New York Times reports that Coates dedicated the award to Prince Jones, a fellow Howard University student who a police officer shot and killed in what was called a case of mistaken identity.

“I’m a black man in America. I can’t punish that officer; ‘Between the World and Me’ comes out of that place,” Mr. Coates said. “I can’t secure the safety of my son. I just don’t have that power. But what I do have the power to do is say, ‘You won’t enroll me in this lie. You won’t make me part of it.’”