Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill to Host National Conference on Legacy of Malcolm X

Public event is Feb. 20-21

Local and visiting scholars from a variety of fields will mark the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination (Feb. 21, 1965) with a public conference at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Friday-Saturday, Feb. 20-21. 

Panelists at “The Legacy of Malcolm X: Afro-American Visionary, Muslim Activist” will discuss the life and teachings of Malcolm X and assess his relevance today for America, Islam and the world. 

All conference events are free and open to the public.

“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,” said co-organizer Omid Safi, director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center. “Whereas we have celebrated and honored the legacy of Dr. King, the life and work of Malcolm X has not received the same level of attention.”

“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 co-organizer Juliane Hammer, associate professor of Islamic Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Local conference participants will also include co-organizer and Duke African & African American Studies professor Mark Anthony Neal, Duke history professor emeritus William Chafe, Duke public policy professor William (Sandy) Darity, and UNC-Chapel Hill scholar Michael Muhammad Knight.

Visiting participants will include Hisham Aidi (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs), Maytha Alhassen (University of Southern California), Zaheer Ali (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). 

The conference itself will consist of four panels and a public reception.  

On Friday, Feb. 20, "The Global Malcolm" and "The American Malcolm" will be held from 2-5:15 p.m. in Room 240 of Duke's John Hope Franklin Center.

On Saturday, Feb. 21, at UNC-Chapel Hill's Nelson Mandela Auditorium at the FedEx Global Education Center, the panel discussions are "The Muslim Malcolm" (10 a.m.-noon) and "Teaching Malcolm" (2-4 p.m.), followed by a public reception from 4-5:30 p.m. Program details can be found here. (All panels and the reception are free and open to the public). 

In conjunction with the conference, Duke University’s Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Duke Islamic Studies Center will host a public panel "Malcolm X Now" at noon Friday, Feb. 20, in 011 Old Chem on Duke’s West Campus. It will feature Alhassen, Knight and Ali with Hart moderating. 

At Duke, attendees may park in nearby hospital lots for a fee. At UNC attendees may park in the FedEx lot under the building. 

The Duke Islamic Studies Center is sponsoring the conference. Co-sponsors include Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (Duke University), Religious Studies (Duke University), African & African American Studies (Duke University), and the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations (UNC-Chapel Hill).