Daughter of Malcolm X to Tuskegee University: “Understand the power that you possess”


Daughter of Malcolm X, Ilyasah Al-Shabazz.

TUSKEGEE, Ala. (February 3, 2016) — Part of Civil Rights Era history returned to Tuskegee University to re-energize the spirit of the movement for a new generation. Ilyasah Al-Shabazz, daughter of activist icons Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, called on the community to be committed to service and stand boldly against modern societal inequalities.

“You need to understand the power that you possess,” Al-Shabazz explained to the audience in Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Arena. “When one of us is mistreated, all of us are mistreated.”

Her Tuesday visit to the campus follows in both of her parents’ footsteps. Al-Shabazz’s mother was once a student of the institution and her father spoke here more than 50 years ago on Feb. 3, 1965. Her address is part of a series of events that will take place at the university during Black History Month.
Al-Shabazz is a community organizer, social activist, motivational speaker, and author of the critically acclaimed “Growing Up X.” Using the lives of her mother and father as examples of resiliency and purpose, she urged her audience to reach for more than material worth and to help set higher standards. Speaking of her mother who witnessed her father brutally gunned by assassins, she said Betty Shabazz pushed forward because “she never accepted no or I can’t as an answer for herself.” Despite the mounting threat to himself and his family, Al-Shabazz said her father courageously stood up for what he believed to be right to help people facing injustice and oppression.
“He did not fear man; he feared God,” she said.

Knowing history

The African Diaspora is vulnerable and the history of African descendants is misunderstood, according to Al-Shabazz. She challenged the young people in the audience during the address to know and treasure their history and to make sure to share it. Al-Shabazz encouraged people to honor founding foremothers and forefathers and their contributions to this nation. Knowing history helps to remind people of who they are at their core and builds future leaders.
“You, too, will prepare the next generation of justice-seekers,” Al-Shabazz urged. “You must own your power.”

More events to come

The address is part of the Tuskegee University Lyceum Series, which is part of the Student Engagement Initiatives program. The program is among the institution’s priorities on Tuskegee University’s vision document. The mission of the Lyceum Series is to engage students, faculty, staff, and the greater Tuskegee community. The prominent speakers and artists enrich the overall education experience for audiences.

The next speaker in the series is Frank X Walker, the former Poet Laureate of Kentucky. He is a professor in the department of English and the African American and Africana Studies Program at the University of Kentucky and the author of eight collections of poetry including, “Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers,” winner of the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Poetry. The event will be held Feb. 16.

For more information about the series go to: http://www.tuskegee.edu/lyceum
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Audience listen to speaker in Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Arena.


Tuskegee University president, Dr. Brian L. Johnson and Al-Shabazz meet with honor students before address.

About Tuskegee University

Founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee University is home to approximately 3,000 students from the U.S. and 30 foreign countries. The academic programs are organized into seven colleges and schools: 1.) Andrew F. Brimmer College of Business and Information Science, 2.) College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, 3.) College of Arts and Sciences, 4.) College of Engineering, 5.) College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health, 6.) Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science, and 7.) School of Education.

Tuskegee University is accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, master’s, doctorate, and professional degrees. The following programs are accredited by national agencies: architecture, business, education, engineering, clinical laboratory sciences, nursing, occupational therapy, social work, and veterinary medicine.

To learn more about Tuskegee University, go to: www.tuskegee.edu.