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Samuel G. Freedman

Samuel G. Freedman, a professor of journalism at Columbia University, is the author of eight books, including Upon This Rock: The Miracles of a Black Church (HarperCollins, 1993) and Breaking The Line: The Season in Black College Football That Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights (Simon & Schuster, 2013). He also writes the “On Religion” column for the New York Times.


The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America. By Ethan Michaeli. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. 633p. HB, $32.

Black Stories Matter

Fall 2016 | Criticism

During the summer of 2013, shortly after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager named Trayvon Martin, word leaked out that a juror was already shopping around a prospective book about the case. One particular Twitter user, Genie Lauren, was so outraged that she logged on to condemn the literary agent who was representing the juror. As Lauren later explained, “I didn’t think it was right that someone would make money off of this tragedy.” Almost immediately, thousands of other people began tweeting at the agent, a protest petition circulated online, and the book project was dropped.