by Andrew Myers
Bestselling author D. Watkins, a native of East Baltimore and an alumnus of the Johns Hopkins School of Education, will give the commencement address at this year’s School of Education graduation ceremony on May 20.
“We are thrilled to welcome back one of our own to the Johns Hopkins School of Education,” said Dean Christopher Morphew. “D. Watkins’ writing and teaching have had a profound impact on our city—and across America. I look forward to the insights he will offer our newest class of education leaders.”
Watkins is author of New York Times bestselling books The Beast Side: Living (and Dying) While Black in America, The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir, and We Speak for Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress. The last of those three was named as the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s “One Book Baltimore” in 2020, with every seventh and eighth grader in Baltimore City Public Schools receiving a copy. Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised, Watkins’s biography of NBA star and fellow Baltimore native Carmelo Anthony, was published in 2021. His next book, Black Boy Smile, is expected soon.
In his role as editor-at-large for Salon magazine, Watkins is said to be among the “sharpest observers” of the complex weave of politics and culture that is America today. Watkins’ writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and others.
Watkins earned his master’s degree in education and a graduate certification in urban education at Johns Hopkins in 2011. He also has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Baltimore, where he is a faculty member. Watkins is also the founder of the BMORE Writers Project. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and daughter.