Author Ilyasah Shabazz to speak April 28 at UChicago

Organization of Black Students to host Kent Lecture with daughter of Malcolm X

Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of activists Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, will speak at University of Chicago on April 28 as part of this year’s George E. Kent Lecture.

Hosted by the Organization of Black Students annually since 1984, the lecture series has featured leading Black scholars, writers and activists in commemoration of Kent—the late literature scholar who was one of the first Black professors to earn tenure at UChicago. The series is now held in partnership with the Harris School of Public Policy.

An award-winning author and educator, Shabazz will speak 6 p.m. at the Keller Center, and will answer questions from audience members following her lecture. Register at the Harris School website to attend the in-person event. An event livestream also will be available for registrants.

“Ms. Shabazz is incredibly inspiring to me—even beyond the legacy of her parents—in her work advocating for social justice and distributing her knowledge to others,” said second-year student Jordyn Varise, an OBS political chair. “As a young Black woman, seeing Ms. Shabazz’s dedication to educating youth and sharing the unadulterated legacy of her parents has encouraged me to nourish my own passion for social justice and activism in new ways.”

Shabazz is co-chairperson of the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, which facilitates thought exchange around racial equity, justice and cultural production. She has written several historical novels for children and young adults, including X, which was longlisted for a National Book Award and won an NAACP Image Award. Her 2002 memoir, Growing Up X, was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Shabazz has taught at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, part of the City University of New York system.

Previous Kent lecturers have included writer James Baldwin, scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., activist Angela Davis, civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander, trans activist Janet Mock, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, poet Nikki Giovanni and author Ta-Nehisi Coates.