The Slater Center in White Plains was a packed house on Thursday evening, October 9, 2014 as the community gathered to learn
Dr. Muhammad is a native of South Side, Chicago. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. During college, Dr. Muhammad became a member of the Delta Eta chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. After graduation, he worked as a public accountant at the financial advisory firm Deloitte & Touche LLP until entering graduate school.
In 2004, Dr. Muhammad received his Ph.D. in American history from Rutgers University, specializing in 20th century and African-American history. He spent two years as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit criminal justice reform agency in New York City, before joining the faculty of Indiana University. Dr. Muhammad also holds an honorary doctorate from The New School.
Dr. Muhammad is the great-grandson of Elijah Muhammad, and son of Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer Ozier Muhammad.
Dr. Muhammad book The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, published by Harvard University Press. The Condemnation of Blackness won the American Studies Association John Hope Franklin Publication Prize, which is awarded annually to the best published book in American studies. The book is notable for its lengthy discussion of the role of the social sciences – and of black and white social scientists – in shaping and sanctifying racial “data,” with terrible consequences for African Americans.
As an academic, Dr. Muhammad is at the forefront of scholarship on the enduring link between race and crime that has shaped and limited opportunities for African Americans. His research interests include the racial politics of criminal law, policing, juvenile delinquency and punishment, as well as immigration and social reform. Dr. Muhammad is now working on his second book, Disappearing Acts: The End of White Criminality in the Age of Jim Crow, which traces the historical roots of the changing demographics of crime and punishment so evident today. His work has been featured in the New York Times, New Yorker, Washington Post, The Guardian, and Atlanta Journal Constitution, as well as on Moyers & Company, MSNBC, C-SPAN, NPR, Pacifica Radio, and Radio One.
His research focused on the genesis of the criminalization of the Black Community at the moment of emancipation. By way of history telling, he presented his research on the role that implicit bias has on data distortion since the 1890 census. Dr. Muhammad brought us to an understanding of how data was used as a rationale to justify the criminalization of Black people, continue to strip them of their humanity and find ourselves in the current day situation of Mass Incarceration of Black and Brown people.
This important evening was spearheaded by Surya Peterson a lifelong Westchester activist and organizer and Cosponsors:Thomas H. Slater Center, Anti-Racist Alliance,NAACP of White Plains-Greenburgh, Urban League of Westchester, Westchester County Human Rights Commission, Westchester Martin Luther King Institute for Non Violence, WESPAC
contributing to this article Sandy Bernabei