In the summer of 2020, University of Redlands leadership established the weeklong Diversity in Action residency to introduce ideas, perspectives, and experiences that challenge and inspire the University community. Scholar and activist Abdur-Rahman Muhammad has been chosen as the inaugural resident to visit the Redlands campus the week of March 7.
“We wanted to bring someone who demonstrates action and the way in which you can make change,” says Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer Christopher Jones, who, along with University Dean of Student Affairs Donna Eddleman and Vice President for Advancement Tamara Josserand, spearheads the committee that chooses the residents. “I hope that [Muhammad] inspires our community to create change in their own ways—in his case, the study of an activist has created his own form of activism.”
Based in Washington D.C., Muhammad is a scholar, historian, journalist, writer, and activist; he is widely regarded as one of the most respected authorities on the life and legacy of civil rights leader Malcolm X.
During his residency, he will engage in conversation and hands-on, personal activities with students, faculty, and staff members. “This is an opportunity to broaden the activities that we offer our students and to facilitate more diverse programming for alumni and community members,” says Josserand.
An alumnus of Howard University, Muhammad’s scholarly contributions have directly impacted biographies, documentaries, and other research about Malcolm X. He is featured in the documentary miniseries Who Killed Malcolm X?, which began streaming on Netflix in February 2020; historians and commentators say that the documentary is largely responsible for the reinvestigation of the activist’s assassination. Muhammad also played an integral role in facilitating interviews that contributed to the publication of Manning Marable’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Malcolm X, A Life of Reinvention.
The Diversity in Action committee is eager for Muhammad to introduce his work to the campus community and discuss how past events contribute to the current state of the world. During his residency, Muhammad will host educational sessions that examine the assassination of Malcolm X and the new evidence from the most recent investigation.
“I have had the good fortune of talking with Mr. Muhammad about his visit to campus and am confident his residency will set a high bar for future Diversity in Action residents,” says Eddleman. “His personal story, his journey down the road of activism, his passion, and his commitment to educating others will have a lasting impact on the U of R.”