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Is There Room for Malcolm X in America Today?

Is There Room for Malcolm X in America Today?

Author Abbas Barzegar by

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Last Saturday, February 21st, marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, El-Hajj Malik Shabazz , a figure whose memory seems to wax and wane with America’s troubled conscious, the legacy of inequality, and the burdens of empire. On the one hand with the first black president in office, the promise of Martin Luther King Jr., many would like to argue, has been realized. Yet, on the other hand, with endless and meaningless wars abroad, increasing police brutality at home, and a society more divided than ever, it would be safe to say that Malcolm’s critique of, and challenge to, America has never been more relevant than it is today. Given the series of high profile conferences and media attention taking place this month to remember Malcolm’s legacy, it seems that many in our society are catching on to this point.

On the eve of the 50th year of Brother Malcom’s assassination, I had the privilege to discuss some of these issues with Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, the spiritual leader of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, the direct institutional heir of the Muslim Mosque Incorporated, founded by El-Hajj Malik Shabazz. Imam Talib has been an influential figure in social movements struggles in and out of the NYC area, providing leadership on a range of complex problems. The conversation was part of an ongoing digital archive and oral history project I help manage called After Malcolm: Islam and the Black Freedom Struggle. We discussed everything from the relationship between NSA surveillance and Cointelpro to Islamophobia and African American/Immigrant Muslim relations.

I started the conversation out with the question, Is there room for Malcolm X in America Today?

On why Malcolm X is such an important name

On how Malcolm X's biography has been homogenized:

About the American Dream:

We spoke about institutional racism and the myth surrounding Malcolm's trip to Mecca:

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