Khalil Gibran Muhammad is a professor of history, race, and public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. He is a former director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a division of the New York Public Library and the world’s leading library and archive of global black history, and a former associate professor at Indiana University. Muhammad's scholarship examines the broad intersections of race, democracy, inequality, and criminal justice in modern U.S. history. He is a contributor to a 2014 National Research Council study, The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences, and is the author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (2010), which won the American Studies Association's John Hope Franklin Prize. Much of his work has been featured in national print and broadcast media outlets, including the New York Times, New Yorker, Washington Post, National Public Radio, Moyers and Company, and msnbc. He has appeared in a number of feature-length documentaries, including Slavery by Another Name (2012) and the Oscar-nominated 13th (2016). He has been an associate editor of the Journal of American History and an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice. In 2017, he received the Distinguished Service Medal from Columbia University’s Teachers College. He currently serves on the boards of the Museum of Modern Art, the Barnes Foundation, the Vera Institute, and The Nation magazine, and on the advisory boards of the Cure Violence, The HistoryMakers, and the Lapidus Center for the Study of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center.
The police killing of Michael Brown sparked nationwide protests of which Ferguson, MO, became ground zero for a renewed movement of racial justice in the United States. How do the history of anti-black racism and anti-police brutality activism help understand the Black Lives Matter movement today? How do northern liberal attitudes about race and racism drive racially discriminatory policing like the kind the Department of Justice identified in Ferguson? How is Ferguson a little slice of Americana, a reflection of a broader and deeply-rooted problem of state-sanctioned racial violence and racial control in the United States of America?