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Baltimore-born Ta-Nehisi Coates earns Polk Award for commentary

Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates has won a prestigious journalism award for his ground-breaking and exhaustively researched essay on the obstacles that African-Americans have faced in building wealth.

"The Case for Reparations," the June 2014 cover story in The Atlantic magazine, won a George Polk Award for commentary, it was announced Sunday.

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Coates grew up in Baltimore and graduated from Woodlawn High School. Currently, he is The Atlantic's national correspondent.

The citation noted that Coates' "provocative and well-documented essay … argued that the gap in wealth and opportunity between white and black Americans is primarily the result of centuries of racist public policy."

Awards for investigative journalism are presented annually by Long Island University. Coates and the other award recipients will he honored at an April 10 ceremony in Manhattan.

Coates, a previous National Magazine Award winner, was a finalist this year for "Reparations" in the essays and criticism category, but lost to Roger Angell of The New Yorker.

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