Mother Tongue: The Philosophy of Malcolm X

Monday, February 22, 2021 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Each year, the Schomburg Centers celebrates the life of Malcolm X during Black History Month - coinciding with the anniversary of his assassination on February 21, 1965.

This year, our virtual program will feature a conversation and presentations by Anna Malaika Tubbs, author of The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation and Dr. Michael Sawyer, author of Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X. Together, we will explore how Malcolm X's mother's language of liberation and resistance is foundational to his political growth, and examine his political philosophy of economic and social justice, strident opposition to white supremacy and Black internationalism. Dr. Imani Perry, will moderate the conversation and offer a passage from her recent work, Breathe: A Lesson to My Sons.

This program will be streamed on You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. Captions for this event will be provided.

FREE Event - Reserve Tickets HERE:

Schomburg Center Black History Month Series sponsored by M&T Bank/ Wilmington Trust

GET THE BOOK | Readers everywhere who wish to order The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation, Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X, and Breathe: A Letter to My Sons , can do so online at The Schomburg Shop. All proceeds benefit The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.


IMANI PERRY is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she also teaches in the Programs in Law and Public Affairs, and in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is the author of a number of books, including Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, which received the Pen Bograd-Weld Award for Biography, The Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award for outstanding work in literary scholarship, the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction and the Shilts-Grahn Award for nonfiction from the Publishing Triangle.

MICHAEL E. SAWYER is assistant professor of Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies in the Department of English at Colorado College. Michael takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the revolutionary potentiality, aspirations, and praxis of subaltern political subjects. He is the author of An Africana Philosophy of Temporality.

ANNA MALAIKA TUBBS is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Cambridge University, where she also earned an MA in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies. Her undergraduate degree in Anthropology is from Stanford University. A passionate writer and speaker on issues of gender and race, Anna is an educator and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant outside the academy. Anna has written for For Harriet, Darling Magazine, Huffington Post, and Blavity. As the first partner of Stockton, California (2016-2020), she co-authored the first Report on the Status of Women in Stockton.

The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation

In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black motherhood by telling the story of the women who raised and shaped three of America's most pivotal heroes: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin. Reminiscent of The Warmth of Other Suns and Hidden Figures, The Three Mothers is essential reading for understanding American history. With profound, accessible scholarship, Tubbs draws from Black feminists in the fields of sociology, history, political science, and beyond the academy, to provide a new appreciation for three "mothers of the movement"--an important and until now a largely missing piece of American history.

Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X

Going beyond biography, Black Minded examines Malcolm X's philosophical system, restoring his thinking to the pantheon of Black Radical Thought. Michael Sawyer argues that the foundational concepts of Malcolm X's political philosophy - economic and social justice, strident opposition to white supremacy and Black internationalism - are often obscured by an emphasis on biography. The text demonstrates the way in which Malcolm X's philosophy lies at the intersection of the thought of W.E.B. Du Bois and Frantz Fanon and is an integral part of the revolutionary politics formed to alleviate the plight of people of African descent globally.

Breathe: A Letter to My Sons

Breathe offers a broader meditation on race, gender, and the meaning of a life well lived and is also an unforgettable lesson in Black resistance and resilience. Emotionally raw and deeply reflective, Imani Perry issues an unflinching challenge to society to see Black children as deserving of humanity. She admits fear and frustration for her African American sons in a society that is increasingly racist and at times seems irredeemable. However, as a mother, feminist, writer, and intellectual, Perry offers an unfettered expression of love--finding beauty and possibility in life--and she exhorts her children and their peers to find the courage to chart their own paths and find steady footing and inspiration in Black tradition.