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A graduation-themed mural on Howard's campus on July 6. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

With the surprise twin hiring of two of the country's most prominent writers on race, Howard University instantly becomes one of America's primary centers of Black academic thought, AP's Ashraf Khalil writes.

The backdrop: For more than a century, the historically Black institution in Northwest Washington has educated generations of Black political and cultural leaders — Vice President Harris, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Stokely Carmichael, Toni Morrison.

Why it matters: Even by that standard, the school is on a hot streak, with new funding streams, fresh cultural relevance and high-profile hires.

  • This week's hiring of Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates, a Howard alumnus, shows the school diving into America's great debates.
  • "Howard University has been on that caravan for social justice for about 154 years," Howard President Wayne Frederick said.

Driving the news: Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the New York Times' 1619 Project, announced last week she would Join Howard instead of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall, after UNC's board of trustees set aside Hannah-Jones' tenure application despite recommendations from the school's faculty and administrators.

  • The decision sparked backlash and a national controversy, with reports emerging that a prominent donor to UNC's journalism school had raised concerns about Hannah-Jones' academic credentials and impartiality.

Go deeper: How UNC lost Nikole Hannah-Jones after all

Go deeper

Tenure changes coming to Georgia universities

Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Professors are protesting a controversial policy change approved yesterday by the Board of Regents that they say will give administrators the power to terminate tenured faculty.

  • The policy, critics say, essentially eliminates the concept of tenure — the peer-awarded and peer-reviewed status in higher education that gives professors academic freedom — at 25 public colleges and universities in Georgia.

Parkland shooting victims' families settle suit with school district

A makeshift memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2020. Photo: Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Families and survivors of a 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., reached a $25 million settlement in their lawsuit against the Broward County school district Monday, per the South Florida SunSentinel.

Why it matters: The deal was reached in the suit over the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after the school district won a Florida Supreme Court ruling that could have capped damages at $300,000 in total without approval from the state legislature, AP notes.

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.