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Nikole Hannah-Jones on Race, Education, and Growing up in Waterloo

Karsten Moran
Redux Pictures
Nikole Hannah-Jones

  This conversation originally aired on January 29, 2018

New York Times Magazine Staff Writer Nikole Hannah-Jones is no stranger to hard conversations about race. She grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, being bused to a school across town that was mostly white, compared to her majority black neighborhood. She says she grew up spending about two hours on the bus each day. 

"Our bus would pick up elementary, middle school, and high school kids. What I remember about the actual school - academically, it was challenging. I remember feeling like I was learning a lot," she says. "Socially it was very, very difficult. I was one of a handful of black kids in the school, and I was one of the low income kids in the school. I got teased a lot for being black. I tended to really gravitate toward friends who also rode the bus." 

During this Talk of Iowa conversation, she talks with host Charity Nebbe. 

Hannah-Jones is a 2017 MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow, and during this conversation, she challenges liberals to "walk the walk" when it comes to conversations about equality in schools in Iowa. 

"Whose kids are we willing to sacrifice? That's the question I'm asking people." 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa