Thursday, April 11, 2019

HuffPost Highline: The exceptional life of Paul Coates

HuffPost Highline
April 10, 2019
Paul Coates In Conversation With Wil S. Hylton
Portrait by Neal Fox

Reaching out to share a new piece from HuffPost Highline, in which writer-at-large and Baltimore native Wil S. Hylton has an in-depth discussion with Paul Coates, a community leader in Baltimore and father of writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose analysis of American history has transformed the public discourse on race.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Coates talks about his unlikely path from childhood poverty to the Vietnam War to the Black Panther Party and the political ideals that he has tried to enact in the community and model for his children. Coates also weighs in on Obama vs. Clinton, saying that “she probably would have made better decisions for black people. She would have been more responsive to a black electorate, whereas Obama didn’t have to worry about that.”

Paul’s legacy and impact on the city of Baltimore have been profound. After leading the local chapter of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early ’70s, he founded a prison literacy program, opened a bookstore devoted to community service and established the publishing company Black Classic Press to disseminate the work of contemporary authors like Walter Mosley and historic writers like W.E.B. Du Bois, John G. Jackson, and Carter Woodson. At a time when the country, and Baltimore in particular, face existential challenges, few people offer such a clear-eyed perspective on the past and the road ahead.

The full article is available here:

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