Journalism major publishes social commentary essay on ESPN’s The Undefeated

Emmanuel Morgan ’19, a Queen City native and young African-American male, shares his perspective on the nation’s racial climate and his hometown’s response following the recent death of Keith Lamont Scott during a police altercation.

Sophomore journalism major Emmanuel Morgan published a powerful and introspective social commentary essay on The Undefeated, ESPN’s online news forum featuring sports stories and cultural content from an African-American perspective.

In addition to his role as news editor for the Elon News Network, sophomore journalism major Emmanuel Morgan has worked as a sports correspondent for the Lake Norman Citizen and Charlotte Observer. He has also served as a campus connection correspondent for ESPNU, contributing web articles and shooting video packages. Photos courtesy of Morgan.
The 1,100-word essay, titled “My dreams of Charlotte have gone up in — tear gas,” was published on Sept. 27 and details Morgan’s perspective as a 19-year-old Charlottean as well as a young African-American male. The piece is a more in-depth version of a column Morgan penned for the Elon News Network, titled “Inside the mind of a black Charlotte teenager.”

The Undefeated piece intertwines Morgan’s affinity for the Queen City, with several references to area’s rising sports scene, and his thoughts on the days following the death of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old black man fatally shot on Sept. 20 by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer. Morgan shares an intimate look into his own thought process both as a black man as well as a student journalist.

“The black kid in me instinctively wants to let my frustration control me,” Morgan wrote in The Undefeated. “After everything that’s happened, how can you blame me? But the logical, journalistic, articulate side of me understands what public servants endure daily and knows the majority of society genuinely doesn’t comprehend my race’s outrage.”

The journalism major explained that the process of penning the essay helped channel his thoughts and feelings. And it’s not the first time Morgan has taken to writing to spread his point of view. In July, he authored another ENN column, titled “It’s unfair, but that was my reality,” delving into the nation’s racial climate and the possible perceptions others might have of him.

“It was definitely therapeutic to write The Undefeated piece,” Morgan said. “I needed to do it. I knew I had to do something about this topic because this is my hometown. It took me a few days. Whenever something like this happens, I try to take a step back  – to have two or three days to cool down. I have been kind of outspoken about this topic before. So when this happened in my home city, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, this keeps happening and now it’s right on my doorstep.’ Taking a few days to sit down helped me think through it.”

Morgan and John X. Miller found time to get together this summer when Morgan covered the Internet Governance Forum-USA in Washington, D.C., for the School of Communications’ Imagining the Internet Center.
​Morgan expressed gratitude to his many journalism mentors, especially John X. Miller, a senior editor for news and commentary for The Undefeated. It was Miller who solicited the essay from Morgan after seeing his ENN column online.

By happenstance, Morgan’s mother had a work connection with Miller, and over the past two years the student journalist and Miller have developed a friendship. In fact, two summers ago, Morgan shadowed Miller, then managing editor at The Winston-Salem Journal, at the Triad news outlet.

“Every time I have a story, I do my best to send it to him and ask for feedback,” Morgan said. “I remember one time I sent him a story, and it came back completely in red, full of edits. He tries to keep me to a high standard, and I really appreciate that. Not all people have that type of mentor, and I’m fortunate for it.”

The response to Morgan’s essay online has been widely positive, with The Undefeated tweeting and sharing it on social media.

​“It’s been great to see something I’m really passionate about get attention,” Morgan said. “I love writing, and I’ll use any platform I can get where I can speak the truth.”

Where might a person find Morgan on social media? His Twitter handle is @_EMorgan704 – 704 as in the area code covering his hometown and its surround counties.