BAMAA EP 4 Scholar & Activist Abdul Alkalimat

Welcome to Contemporary Black Canvas, I am your host, Dr. Pia Deas. In this episode,  I had the pleasure of speaking with scholar and activist, Abdul Alkalimat. In our conversation today, he begins by discussing how influential his family of activists and scholars were on his early development and his lifelong commitment to the freedom struggle. Our discussion focuses how he, together with Conrad Kent Rivers and Hoyt Fuller, founded the artist’s collective, OBAC, the Organization of Black American Culture in Chicago in 1967. We discuss OBAC’s role in Black Arts Movement and in creating the Wall of Respect mural. The Wall of Respect, a mural of black leaders, changed the tone of Chicago, strengthened its Black community, and inspired a thousands of artists across the country to not only embrace the Black Arts movement but to also create cultural murals in other neighborhoods. The story of OBAC and the Wall of Respect was captured through a combination of essays, and artifacts in his book The Wall of Respect: Public Art and Black Liberation in 1960s Chicago edited by him Robin Crawford and Rebecca Zorach.  Dr.Abdul Alkalimat has been and continues to be a substantial force in the black community. Currently, outside of his long career in academia, he is maintains a variety of digital archives, including one focused a collection of his work and pertinent information related to liberation movements since the 1960’s and the other is a dedication to Malcolm X. Throughout his career, Alkalimat demonstrates the importance of knowledge to freedom and survival. He urges listeners to keep generational records as they are an “important part of our DNA”. To find his work, please check out his website: Malcolm X dedication Site  Abdul Alkalimat archive Wall of Respect Book Africobra Information Henry Box Brown’s Bio William Dawson’s bio Rev. J. H. Jackson’s bio Artist Jeff Donaldson & Africobra Margaret Taylor-Burroughs’ bio