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Globe opinion staff and BU Center for Antiracist Research launch The Emancipator

Announcing: The Emancipator
Reimagining 19th-century antislavery newspapers to reframe today's conversations on racial justice.

The Boston University Center for Antiracist Research and The Boston Globe’s opinion staff announced Tuesday that they will launch The Emancipator, a new media platform that takes the name of a 201-year-old antislavery newspaper and seeks to shift the national conversation on racial justice.

The Emancipator, set to launch later this year, will build on the tradition that abolitionist newspapers began two centuries ago while attempting to further racial justice by amplifying important voices, arguments, and fact-based analysis, organizers said in a statement.

The Emancipator will feature original opinion and ideas writing, including contributions by top experts and community voices captured by student journalists. It will offer its content free to the public, with funding provided by philanthropic donors, according to the statement, which did not identify supporters. A spokeswoman for the Globe said more information would be released in the coming weeks.


Ibram X. Kendi, cofounder of The Emancipator and founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, hearkened back to the platform’s newsprint forebear in describing its mission.

“When The Emancipator was first founded in 1820, it was very difficult for people to believe that slavery, 45 years later, would be no more, just as I think there are many people today who can’t imagine that there could be a nation without racism and inequality,” Kendi, the best-selling author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” said in the statement. “This reimagined platform will marry the best of scholarship and journalism to analyze, comment, and seek truth about the racial problems of our time.”

Linda Henry, chief executive of Boston Globe Media Partners, said the Globe opinion page was honored to partner with Kendi and the BU research center to spark a conversation on race and racial justice.

“This collaboration exemplifies an alignment of values and passion from two legendary and influential Boston institutions and demonstrates the kind of innovation we are committed to pursuing as we seek new ways to invest in journalism,” Henry said in a statement. “Boston Globe Opinion is a leader in amplifying diverse perspectives on the most pressing issues of the day and provoking important conversations — we look forward to following The Emancipator’s original ideas journalism as it reframes the national conversation on race to provoke progress toward racial justice.”


Bina Venkataraman, editorial page editor at The Boston Globe and cofounder of The Emancipator, pointed to the city’s long history as a center of newspaper journalism.

“Resurrecting The Emancipator is an opportunity for journalists — and readers — to be engaged in something historic: an engine of ideas grounded in data, community experience, and scholarship that provokes new conversations and progress on racial justice,” Venkataraman said in the statement.

The Emancipator’s cofounders also include Kimberly Atkins, a Boston Globe opinion columnist and MSNBC contributor, and Dr. Monica Wang, associate director of narrative for the BU Center for Antiracist Research.

Organizers are seeking two coeditors-in-chief to lead The Emancipator, which they plan to launch by building a hybrid newsroom anchored by the Globe and the Center for Antiracist Research, according to the statement.

The new venture’s advisory board includes Sunny Bates, Sewell Chan, Jelani Cobb, Eddie Glaude, Annette Gordon-Reed, Ian F. Haney López, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Peniel Joseph, S. Mitra Kalita, Heather McGhee, Julian Brave NoiseCat, Emily Ramshaw, Joy Reid, and Jose Antonio Vargas.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at Follow him @jeremycfox.