Shallow scholarship at Howard University

First, there are some sour grapes in these upcoming observations…might even be a case of Playa Hatin’. That said, I proceed in behalf of the countless others with similar experiences who never bother to footnote their experiences or keep a paper trail of their slanders…

I am sick and tired of the shallow prevailing Black intellectual view of the Nation of Islam. It’s not just the Neo-Cons and the White Evangelicals of the World who have problems with Muslims, our own Black intelligentsia have issues with the Islamic influence—particularly the Nation of Islam—on Black literature and culture in the United States and they refuse to admit it.

Black literature and academia lionizes Brother Malcolm X, highlighting only the 14 months or so of his life after he broke with the Nation of Islam, while trying to wipe out his 12 years of steadfast service and leadership within the Nation, his platform for earning national attention in the first place. We’ve done the same with Muhammad Ali.

Howard University’s English Department concluded an elaborately produced yet faintly publicized conference celebrating the Black Arts Movement March 24, and when I saw the program, I went bonkers! “They’ve done it again,” I thought. “They’ve kicked the Nation of Islam’s contribution to Black intellectual development to the curb.”

They had a truckload of Ph.D. candidates chaperoned by real professors, presenting papers and performances for two whole days at Howard, talking about the Black intellectual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s—the Black Arts Movement. Continue reading