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An early interest in books and writing essays as punishment worked oddly in Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ favor. As national correspondent at The Atlantic, he writes about culture, politics and social issues. His work can also be found in The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, O Magazine and other notable publications.

The Baltimore, Maryland native is the son of a stay at home dad who ran the Black Classic Press, a small publishing house specializing in African-American studies.

After matriculating through a number of area schools, Coates graduated from Baltimore’s Woodlawn High and graduated from Howard University.

The accomplished speaker and author penned his first novel Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood in 2008. The unique tales of growing up as the son of a former Black Panther coupled with the impact the high crime rate in Baltimore had on him, Coates’ memoir proved to be full of cultural and societal imagery.

Best known for his writings on race and politics, his work has earned him an NAACP Image Award nomination and TIME Magazine named his blog one of the best in 2011. In addition, he won the Hilman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism from the prestigious Sidney Hilman Foundation in 2012.

The last few years have been good to Coates professionally, as he was the MLK visiting professor in 2013 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a guest columnist for the New York Times that same year. In 2014 he joined the City University of New York as its journalist in residence.

He currently lives in Harlem with his wife and kids.

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Shifting Society: Ta-Nehisi Coates  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com