AHA Today

Malcolm X, the Oxford Union, and Casting Racial Discrimination in a Global Perspective

Stephanie Kingsley | Dec 11, 2014

About a week ago, the Oxford University Press blog published a fascinating post by professors Saladin Ambar (Lehigh University) and Stephen Tuck (Pembroke College, Oxford) on Malcolm X’s 1964 visit to Oxford, where he was invited as guest speaker for the December 3 Oxford Union “Queen and Country” debate. Fifty years later, the OUPblog reflected on the significance of the event.

Ambar and Tuck, who both published books on this event, discuss how British media had long depicted racial strife as a feature primarily of southern US and South African society. Malcolm X brought the attention of the British back to their own country, where discrimination unofficially persisted—for instance, the refusal of many Oxford landlords to house students of color. This blog post illuminates how Malcolm X’s presence at Oxford reframed racism within a global context. Ambar and Tuck write, “At a time when Ferguson is rightly at the forefront of the news, events in Oxford in 1964 remind us that atrocities elsewhere should serve as a prompt to address, rather than a reason to ignore, questions of rights and representation nearer to home.”

Read the full post by Ambar and Tuck on OUPblog. For more on this subject, AHA members may also read Tuck’s article in the American Historical Review, “Malcolm X’s Visit to Oxford University: U.S. Civil Rights, Black Britain, and the Special Relationship on Race.”

This post first appeared on AHA Today.


Tags: American Historical Review AHA Today African American history


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