This week, we are changing our format slightly.  After hearing a letter from a prisoner involved in Operation PUSH, we are broadcasting an interview between Dr. Micol Seigel and Dr. Garrett Felber on the role of the Nation of Islam in prison life and prisoners’ struggle.

Beginning in the middle of the last century, the Nation of Islam built a strong presence among black prisoners, drawing together not only disparate religious traditions, but also neglected experiences of struggle, ranging from the early civil rights movement to black conscientious objection during World War 2. Felber then situates Malcom X, the best-known of the Nation of Islam organizers to come out of prison, within this broader context of collective struggle and political reaction in 1950s America. Micol and Garrett are currently both fellows at the Warren Center at Harvard.

We will finish their conversation in next week’s episode, as they cover the relationship of Nation of Islam to other trajectories of prison struggle and black radicalism.