Garret Felber to discuss police brutality with UMass Lowell students

Morgyn Joubert
Connector Staff

With the growing number of cases involving police brutality across the United States, the history department, along with the Working Group on Race and Ethnicity at UMass Lowell have invited Garret Felber to discuss what is going on in this nation and how it relates to the Civil Rights Era in the early to late 1960s.

On Nov. 30 in O’Leary Library in Room 222 at 2 p.m., Felber will give a lecture titled “You’re Brutalized Because You’re Black” explaining the research behind Malcolm X and the topic of police brutality.

“I will be discussing efforts by Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam and other black nationalists to build a black united front against police brutality in the early 1960s leading up to the March on Washington in 1963,” Felber said.

Felber will also be discussing his newest book, “The Portable Malcolm X Reader” alongside his work with Manning Marable, who was a professor at Columbia University.

“The Portable Reader is a collection of primary sources relating to Malcolm X, organizing along a chronology of major events in his life,” Felber said.

The event is cosponsored by the history department, the Working-Class Group on Race and Ethnicity and the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences office.

Chad Montrie, a professor of history at UMass Lowell, decided to organize this event around his newest course, “Malcolm X,” which was offered for the first time at the start of this semester.
“Malcolm X is very overlooked when deciding on teaching about him in a history course. He’s either not talked about or he’s a side topic, mentioned only a little,” Montrie said.

Felber said he believes that it is important to talk about Malcolm X and police brutality in the wake of what is currently going on socially and politically.

“So much of activism in our current moment, in the era of Black Lives Matter,” Felber said, “has been mobilized around responses to police violence, and more broadly around ant-carceral solutions.”

Students have already expressed their interest in the event. Damon Best, a major in business marketing and management, said he thinks understanding Malcolm X and police brutality is important.

“We should know Malcolm X just as much as we known Martin Luther King Jr. There are different sides to the Civil Rights Era. It’s not right to only focus on one side of a historical moment,” Best said.

Best said he has experiences with this very topic.

“I’ve dealt with police harassment a few times in the past where they’ve followed me around the mall, or when I got pulled over for texting and driving, and didn’t have my phone in the car. I was driving back to my house because I forgot it,” Best said.
The speech at the event will take 30 to 40 minutes, and will be followed by a question and answer section.

“I hope students come. It will be a chance to learn about the history you think you know, but may not, and to consider our current moment of organizing against prisons and policing in light of that history,” Felber said.

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