“There is a standard of leadership, established by our founder, that we try to live up to,” said JoAnna LeFlore-Ejike, vice chair of the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, headquartered at 3448 Evans St. “We want to transform people’s mindsets and help people discover what it means to be a transformative person like Malcolm X was.”
The Foundation (site of peaceful rallies during 2020 in response to the killings of George Floyd and James Scurlock) helps promote learning and transformation year-round with educational programs, a community radio station, town hall forums and other special events. On the horizon, with support from an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant, the foundation will offer an educational curriculum. LeFlore-Ejike said that will examine Malcolm X’s life beyond the “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” including further analysis of events that brought the Littles to Omaha and a closer look at Malcolm’s connection to Garvey.
A vital resource to the foundation in its commitment to transforming lives through education is UNO’s Black Studies department, which like the foundation was started in 1971.
“Through our strategic goals of academic excellence, student centeredness and community engagement, we continue the long, strong, focused determination of the discipline of Black Studies to counter the narrative of white supremacy and African inferiority,” said Cynthia Robinson, chair of the department, which also founded the annual Malcolm X Festival in Omaha. “UNO’s Department of Black Studies brings expertise in sociology, history, communications, race, political science, law and criminology, psychology, education, literature, business and economics, and ancient and contemporary African histories and political experiences. As Africa is the home of humanity, civilization and society, we believe the knowledge of these is central to the understanding of the whole human experience. We invite our community to join us and become part of this great academic adventure as we celebrate our 50th year.”
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