Nat Hentoff

Nathan Irving "Nat" Hentoff is a historian, novelist, music critic, and syndicated columnist. As a civil libertarian and free-speech activist, he has been described by the Cato Institute—where he has been a senior fellow since 2009—as "one of the foremost authorities on the First Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution. He was a staff writer for The New Yorker for over 25 years, and was formerly a columnist for The Village Voice for over 50 years, in addition to Legal Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and The Progressive, among others. Since 2014, he has been a regular contributor to the conservative Christian website WorldNetDaily, often in collaboration with his son Nick Hentoff.Hentoff was a Fulbright Fellow at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1950 and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in education in 1972. The American Bar Association bestowed the Silver Gavel Award in 1980 for his columns on law and criminal justice, and five years later his undergraduate alma mater, Northeastern University, awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Law degree. While working at the Village Voice in 1995, the National Press Foundation granted him the W.M. Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award. He was a 1999 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary, "for his passionate columns championing free expression and individual rights," which was won by Maureen Dowd. In 2004 he became the first non-musician to be named an NEA Jazz Master by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.Hentoff has lectured at many colleges, universities, law schools, elementary, middle and high schools, and has taught courses in journalism and the U.S. Constitution at Princeton University and New York University. He serves on the Board of Advisors of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (F.I.R.E.) and is on the steering committee of the Reporters' Committee for the Freedom of the Press.


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