Commentary

Sunday
Nov222015

MSNBC: Reaction to Muslims in the U.S.

Zaheer Ali, a lecturer and researcher of American history and religion, joins Harry Smith to discuss how Muslim communities in the U.S. are reacting to the increased scrutiny of their religious identity since the attacks in Paris.

Sunday
Nov082015

ABC7's Here and Now: Malcolm X in Brooklyn

Although most closely identified with Harlem, Malcolm X’s work and influence extended throughout New York City—including Brooklyn, where his legacy continues 50 years after his death. In this preview for my upcoming talk at Brooklyn Historical Society, I discuss some of that history and legacy with Sandra Bookman on New York ABC7's "Here and Now."

Tuesday
Oct202015

New York Times: The Past, Present, & Future of Ft. Greene

Fort Greene runs the gamut from historic brownstones on leafy streets to the booming Brooklyn Cultural District.

Zaheer Ali contributed commentary to this video short, discussing the rich history of Ft. Greene's African American communities, and what the future holds: "The future of Ft. Greene depends on the ability of the neighborhood to sustain working people."

Tuesday
Oct202015

Huffington Post: Newly Discovered Malcolm X Letter is Timely

A recently-discovered letter reportedly handwritten by Malcolm X in 1964 describes racism at that time as an "incurable cancer" that was "plaguing" America.

Los Angeles historic manuscript and letter dealer, Moments in Time, retrieved the six-page letter, reportedly written by the civil rights activist. It went on sale Sunday for $1.25 million....

[Zaheer] Ali doesn't believe this letter should be for sale. "I don’t think you can put a price tag on this," he explained. "Even though this is his personal correspondence, his intention was that this was to be made available to the public."

Regardless, Ali believes the letter's message, addressing race and religion, is particularly timely today. 

"However this letter surfaced, it surfaced at the right time."

Read the entire article here.

Saturday
Feb212015

The Guardian: "Malcolm X Wielded History Like a Sword"

Malcolm X was killed half a century ago, but his work lives on in us today.

Scholars, musicians and activists share their thoughts on Malcolm X, one of the civil rights movement’s most divisive and influential figures, 50 years after his death.

Read how Malcolm X's passion for history fueled my own, here.

Saturday
Feb212015

Al Jazeera English: "Remembering Malcolm X, 50 Years On"

With events in Ferguson and New York and other places in the US where unarmed black men have been shot dead by police, there are many who believe that the thoughts and words of Malcolm X are still relevant.

"I think that if we were to look at this current moment the legacy of Malcolm speaks to overcoming adversity, failing schools, the prison industrial complex, criminalisation of black men, unfair prison sentencing, all those things that Malcolm experienced," Zaheer Ali says.

"I think the biggest takeaway for this generation is Malcolm's indictment of the nation state. The failure of the state to fulfil its side of the social contract, to protect black life, black liberty, black property."

Read the entire article here, or view the video clip here (non-U.S. locations only).

Tuesday
Feb172015

CNN: "Witnessed: The Assassination of Malcolm X"

It has been 50 years since Malcolm X was murdered. There are still serious questions about what really happened. Witnessed: The Assassination of Malcolm X is a CNN Special Report that features interviews with people who were there and who knew Malcolm, as well as scholars, including Zaheer Ali.

The program originally aired Tuesday, February 17, 9pm ET & 12am ET, and was rebroadcast Monday, March 9, 9pm ET & 12am ET. It can also be viewed online youtube.

Tuesday
Feb172015

CNN: "What Really Happened to Malcolm X?"

When Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965, many Americans viewed his killing as simply the result of an ongoing feud between him and the Nation of Islam. For investigators and commentators alike, then, his death was an open and shut case: Muslims did it. Yet although three members of the Nation of Islam were tried and found guilty for the killing, two of them maintained their innocence and decades of research has since cast doubt on the outcome of the case. What really happened to Malcolm X?

Read the article here.

Friday
Sep192014

New York Times: "Some Geeks Are Still in the Margins, But That's Changing"

When Geeks Rule: What does it mean when the culture of nerds and techies become mainstream?

The voices of black geeks and other marginalized nerds remind us that the best of geek culture provided refuge and inspiration for social misfits and outcasts.

Read my contribution to the New York Times Room for the Debate here.

Saturday
Jul192014

The Root: "Is It Nation of Islam Time Again in Hip-Hop?"

A revival of the Nation of Islam connection—if it avoids repeating some of the errors of the past—could signal a new era of consciousness in commercial hip-hop.

Read the article here.