Indiana taxpayers shelled out more than $100,000 to 1619 Project author Nikole Hannah-Jones for just over 24 hours of work, according to a contract obtained by The Daily Wire under public records laws.
The deal between the Trustees of Indiana University and Hannah-Jones’ speakers bureau said the university would pay $101,700 for a “2022 Themester Lecture on Identity and Identification.” The “Themester” reference meant that for an entire semester, Indiana students were told to focus on the “theme” of identity.
“During the fall of 2022, we invite members of the College and campus community to reflect on identity and all that it entails,” the university’s website says. “Race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, native language, socio-economic status, and myriad other identities shape our worldview: how we see, how we portray ourselves, and how we are perceived (and received).”
The “themester” is run by an advisory committee that includes a gender studies professor and undergraduates “majoring in Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance” and “Anthropology and Folklore and Ethnomusicology.”
Indiana is a deep-red state. Its governor, Eric Holcomb, is a Republican, and its state legislature is overwhelmingly Republican. The university did not return a Daily Wire request for comment on whether the six-figure sum was a wise expenditure of taxpayer money or whether it reflects the desires of Indiana’s electorate.
The lavish paycheck was in return for Hannah-Jones arriving on the afternoon on October 19 and participating in two classroom discussions followed by a “dinner-party with invited students and Union Board directors involving some discussion, but no prepared remarks from Speaker.” The next day, she was to participate in two more classroom sessions, followed by a “30-min public lecture, and 30 minutes of moderated discussion/q&a with the audience. A meet/greet and booksigning will conclude the program.”
The $101,700 is the largest known sum of taxpayer money paid for a single engagement to the woman who has parlayed her assertions that America is “one of the most unequal societies in the history of the world” into a lucrative enterprise. Hannah-Jones was raised in Iowa, the daughter of a mixed-race couple.
The Daily Wire previously obtained records for 11 speeches she made in 2022, averaging $40,000 even though some were made online. She made at least 33 speeches last year, which at that average figure would work out to $1.2 million in 2022 speaking fees.
Most of the speeches were at universities, despite historians from across the political spectrum pointing to significant errors in her writing, down to the foundational assertion that America’s colonists fought for independence from Britain in order to preserve slavery.
The speeches also serve to promote her book, which earned an estimated $2 million in royalties.
Among her other income sources, Hannah-Jones received nearly $75,000 not to work at the University of North Carolina last year as part of a legal settlement. In 2020, Hannah-Jones inked a deal with Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate to develop 1619 “into an expansive portfolio of feature films, television series and other content,” including a Hulu series that will premier this month.
Despite her heavy speech schedule, the New York Times Magazine writer is employed by Howard University following the Knight Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and other philanthropists earmarking $25 million.
The list of speeches is:
- 1/19/2022: Union League Club of Chicago
- 1/21/2022: Metro State University-Denver (via Zoom) $25,000
- 1/25/2022: University of Wisconsin $55,000
- 1/16/2022: University of Buffalo
- 1/31/2022: Grand Rapids Community College $25,000
- 2/1/2022: Fordham University
- 2/9/2022: University of Houston (via Zoom)
- 3/15/2022: Notre Dame
- 3/22/2022: Southern Methodist University
- 3/23/2022: Macalester College (via Zoom)
- 3/25/2022: University of Lynchburg
- 3/30/2022: U-Conn $36,500
- 4/1/2022: SUNY-Brockport $50,000
- 4/15/2022: Dartmouth
- 4/26/2022: Colby College
- 5/3/2022: University of Maryland $40,500
- 5/5/2022: St Johns University
- 5/17/2022: Rutgers
- 5/21/2022: NC A&T State U
- 9/20/2022: Arlington, VA library $40,000
- 9/24/2022: The Links Inc (via Zoom)
- 9/27/2022: Sarah Lawrence University
- 10/11/2022: Lehigh University
- 10/13/2022: Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis
- 10/20/2022: Indiana University $101,700
- 10/27/2022: Northern Illinois University (via Zoom) $30,000
- 10/28/2022: Syracuse University
- 11/2/2022: Iowa State University $38,000
- 11/7/2022: French Embassy
- 11/18/2022: Newark Public Library
- 11/19/2022: Cleveland Library (via Zoom) $20,000
- 11/20/2022: Howard University School of Law / Pulitzer Center
- 12/6/2022: University of Minnesota $50,000