by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary on MARCH 20, 2015:
February 21, 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th century, Malcolm X El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. His life — as a black figure, as a Muslim figure, and as an international figure — and legacy have gotten widespread media and scholarly attention.
There are many academic Malcolm X representations, readings, and interpretations, and with many great figures in human history, their legacy is more and something other than that great person’s biography.
Said Duke Islamic Studies Center Director Omid Safi: “We are living through the 50th anniversary of many of the monumental events in the history of the civil rights movement. The protests in Ferguson, New York and elsewhere tell us that issues of racism, brutality, poverty and militarism are still with us.”
A national conference on “The Legacy of Malcolm X: Afro-American Visionary, Muslim Activist” was held on 2/20/15 and 2/21/15 at Duke and UNC — co-organized by Safi, UNC-Chapel Hill Islamic Studies professor Juliane Hammer, and African & African American Studies professor and host of Left of Black Mark Anthony Neal.
“Our aim is to commemorate his life, his thought and his unique contributions to struggles for justice, recognition and change in a world he experienced as both a challenge and a promise,” said Hammer.
The conference was sponsored by the Duke Islamic Studies Center. Cosponsors included the Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (Duke University), Department of Religious Studies (Duke University), African and African American Studies (Duke University), and the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations (UNC-Chapel Hill).
Conference participants included Safi; Hammer; Neal; William Chafe (Emeritus, Duke); William “Sandy” Darity (Duke); Michael Muhammad Knight (UNC Chapel Hill); Hisham Aidi (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs), Maytha Alhassen (University of Southern California), Zaheer Ali (CUNY, Columbia University, Malcolm X Project), Abbas Barzegar (Georgia State University), Sohail Daulatzai (University of California-Irvine), William “Bill” Hart (University of North Carolina-Greensboro), and Jamillah Karim (author). Continue reading