In Black America Podcast: The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America – Part I
On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents part one of a two-part discussion with Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America.
Following the 1890 census, the first to measure the generation of African Americans born after slavery, crime statistics, new migration and immigration trends, and symbolic references to America as the promised land of opportunity were woven into a cautionary tale about the exceptional threat black people posed to modern urban society. Excessive arrest rates and overrepresentation in northern prisons were seen by many whites—liberals and conservatives, northerners and southerners—as indisputable proof of blacks’ inferiority. In the heyday of “separate but equal,” what else but pathology could explain black failure in the “land of opportunity”?
Prior to joining the Schomburg Center in July 2011, Dr. Muhammad was an assistant professor of history at Indiana University for five years. Prior to his time working as a professor, Muhammad completed a fellowship at the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit criminal justice reform agency in New York City.
Dr. Muhammad is a native of Chicago’s South Side. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in economics. After college, he worked for a time at the financial advisory firm Deloitte & Touche LLP. In 2004 he earned his Ph.D. in American history from Rutgers University, specializing in 20th century and African-American history. Dr. Muhammad is the great-grandson of Elijah Muhammad, who led the Nation of Islam during the mid-20th century, and son of the noted Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer Ozier Muhammad.