2017 Ruhl Lecture Welcomes Ta-Nehisi Coates as main speaker

“The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free,” Ta-Nehisi Coates, author, journalist, educator, writes in his National Book Award-winning work “Between The World and Me.”

On Friday, Feb. 3 author Ta-Nehisi Coates is scheduled to give a lecture, A Deeper Black: Race In America, at Matthew Knight Arena for the 2017 Ruhl Lecture.

Since 2015 Coates has traveled to universities across the nation giving students an opportunity to delve into the conflicted and hopeful state of black America today.

“Our task is to see the facts as they are. To see the world as it is and to see the country as it is, even as painful as it might be to look at it in that way,” Coates said at a Temple University lecture.

The annual Ruel lecture has taken place at the University of Oregon since 1976. It honors Robert W. Ruhl who was an editor for a small Oregon newspaper in Medford. His editorial battle against the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s showed courage and defiance against institutional racism and won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1934.

Past speakers at the Ruhl lecture include NBC Correspondent Ann Curry, author Eric Liu, and the Editor of the Los Angeles Times, John Carroll, among many others.

Third year UO student Alana Birkeland is excited about seeing Coates in person.

“I haven’t had a chance to read any of his books but from what I’ve heard he’s an incredibly powerful speaker. He’s very outspoken on Twitter. That’s where I know him from,” Birkeland said.

Tickets are available on the UO website. The lecture will start at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3 at Matthew Knight Arena.