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January 21, 2015

Khalil Gibran Muhammad to deliver MLK Address

Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, an archive repository for information on people of African descent worldwide, will deliver the University’s 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address on Friday, Jan. 23. The talk, which is free and open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. in Strong Auditorium on the River Campus.

Prior to his appointment as the executive director of the Schomburg Center in 2011, Muhammad was an assistant professor of history at Indiana University. While there, he wrote The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America, in which he explored the roots of the popular conception of black criminality in America.

“What drove me into academia was a pursuit of knowledge about how it is that we could live in a society that justified … the reality that black life was cheaper than other forms of life in America,” Muhammad says.

Recently, Muhammad has provided commentary about events such as the Trayvon Martin case; the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; the Eric Gardner case in New York City; and the militarization of police forces across the nation. Muhammad has appeared on numerous television and radio news programs, including Moyers & Company, the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC, and NPR.

“We are honored to have Dr. Muhammad as this year’s keynote speaker for our annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address,” says Norman Burnett, assistant dean and director of the Office of Minority Student Affairs.

“We have a socially astute student community whose involvement in issues of social justice includes participating in local protests as well as those in New York and in Ferguson. We are excited to host Dr. Muhammad, who will actively engage students and challenge all who are not only interested in social justice, but who are equally interested in creating social change.”

The culmination of a weeklong celebration of King’s life and the kickoff for Black History Month, the annual address is cosponsored by the Office of Minority Student Affairs and the Office of the President.

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