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Fighting for Our Place in the Sun

Malcolm X and the Radicalization of the Black Student Movement 1960–1973


Richard Benson

In Fighting for Our Place in the Sun, Richard D. Benson II examines the life of Malcolm X as not only a radical political figure, but also as a teacher and mentor. The book illuminates the untold tenets of Malcolm X’s educational philosophy, and also traces a historical trajectory of Black activists that sought to create spaces of liberation and learning that are free from cultural and racial oppression. It explains a side of the Black student movement and shift in black power that develops as a result of the student protests in North Carolina and Duke University. From these acts of radicalism, Malcolm X Liberation University (MXLU), the Student Organization for Black Unity (SOBU/YOBU), and African Liberation Day (ALD) were produced to serve as catalysts to extend the tradition of Black activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Scholars, researchers, community organizers, and students of African-American studies, American studies, history of education, political science, Pan-African studies, and more will benefit from this provocative and enlightening text.
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Advance Praise for Fighting for Our Place in the Sun




“Richard D. Benson II’s Fighting for Our Place in the Sun: Malcolm X and the Radicalization of the Black Student Movement 1960–1973 makes a major contribution to the evolving scholarship on the Civil Rights Movement, especially its underresearched Black Power phase, and both Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism. This meticulously researched book also contributes to our understanding of Malcolm X whose legacy has not garnered the scholarly attention it deserves beyond several important biographies. What distinguishes Benson’s treatment of Malcolm X is the focus on his educational philosophy, his impact on SNCC and the broader student movement of the sixties, his evolving gender politics, and his profound influence on the development of Black independent educational institutions.”

—BEVERLY GUY-SHEFTALL, Founding Director, Women’s Research & Resource Center, and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies, Spelman College; Co-Author (with Johnnetta Betsch Cole), Gender Talk: The Struggle for Women’s Equality in African American Communities

“Richard D. Benson II’s book will ground oft-misguided declarations about the purpose and future of historically Black colleges and universities.… He connects the political and educational philosophies of Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam, SNCC, SOBU, YOBU, and a constellation of Black organizations to fashion a new interpretive lens.… This remarkable and long-awaited corrective by a teacher/scholar operate[es], as Brother Malcolm did, in Black pedagogical spaces where intergenerational and Pan-African internationalist intellectual work was and is undertaken for broader human...

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