Abdul Alkalimat

Abdul Alkalimat (born Gerald Arthur McWorter, November 21, 1942)[1][2] is an American professor of African-American studies and library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He is the author of several books, including Introduction to Afro-American Studies, The African American Experience in Cyberspace, and Malcolm X for Beginners. He curates two websites related to African-American history, "Malcolm X: A Research Site" and "eBlack Studies".

Abdul Alkalimat
Gerald Arthur McWorter

(1942-11-21) November 21, 1942 (age 78)
Alma mater
EmployerUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Alkalimat is the great-greatgrandson of Free Frank McWorter.[3]


Alkalimat lived with his family in Chicago's Frances Cabrini Houses until 1953, when they moved to the city's West Side.[4] In a 2003 interview, Alkalimat remembered his childhood in public housing:

Though I remember ... people outside the project saying, "Ah, you're living on welfare, kinda." But I think I had a childhood second to none. I remember those years as golden years, frankly. I cherish having grown up in Cabrini.[4]

Alkalimat attended Ottawa University, where he earned a B.A. in sociology and philosophy in 1963. He completed his M.A. in sociology at the University of Chicago in 1966, and earned a Ph.D. in sociology there in 1974.[5]

During the late 1960s, he helped create the Institute of the Black World (IBW) in Atlanta with professors Vincent Harding and Stephen Henderson and other student activists, including Howard Dodson, A. B. Spellman, William Strickland, and Council Taylor. The IBW became "the most dynamic black 'think tank' of the era", according to Peniel E. Joseph, assistant professor of Africana studies at Stony Brook University.[6]

In the early 1970s, Alkalimat established Peoples College, a black nationalist think tank. He wrote Introduction to Afro-American Studies: A Peoples College Primer (1984), which has become a popular text and gone through several editions.[7]

Alkalimat helped to organize the Illinois Council for Black Studies, and in 1982 he hosted the annual meeting of the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS). He was elected the NCBS chairman, but the organization's board questioned the results and called for a new election the following year to determine whether Alkalimat's ascension to the post was legitimate. In an election that many members considered confusing, Alkalimat was voted out. New voting rules were adopted by the board that made the results retroactive, stripping Alkalimat of his chairmanship.[8]

In 1991, Alkalimat wrote Malcolm X for Beginners. He and his publisher, Writers and Readers Press, were sued by Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, and Pathfinder Press, which has exclusive rights to publish Malcolm X's speeches. Shabazz and Pathfinder alleged the book contained quotations from Malcolm X without permission. Alkalimat and his publisher said that the book's quotations were permitted under the fair use doctrine.[9][10] The matter was settled out of court, with Alkalimat relinquishing all royalties from the book.[11][12]

Selected worksEdit

  • Introduction to Afro-American Studies (1984), Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press (available online)
  • Harold Washington and the Crisis of Black Power in Chicago (1989), Chicago: Twenty-First Century Books (with Douglas C. Gills)
  • Malcolm X for Beginners (1990), New York: Writers and Readers Press (available for download in PDF format)
  • Job?Tech: The Technological Revolution and Its Impact on Society (1995), Chicago: Twenty-First Century Books (with Douglas C. Gills and Kate Williams)
  • The African American Experience in Cyberspace: A Resource Guide to the Best Websites on Black Culture and History (2004) Sterling, Va.: Pluto Press
  • eBlack Studies (2004), Chicago: Twenty-First Century Books
  • "Cyberpower". Public Sphere Project. Schuler. 2008. Retrieved October 27, 2015. (with Kate Williams)
  • Revolutionary Ubuntu: The shackdwellers and poor people of South Africa, eBlack Studies, 2009 (available for download in PDF format)
  • Black Toledo: A Documentary History of the African American Experience in Toledo, Ohio (2017) Leiden & Boston: Brill


  1. ^ U.S. Public Records Index Vol 1 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
  2. ^ Barber, John T. (2006). The Black Digital Elite: African American Leaders of the Information Revolution. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. p. 128. ISBN 0-275-98504-0. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  3. ^ Hughes, Clyde, "Digging into history: UT professor's ancestor started free town", Toledo Blade, October 30, 2005.
  4. ^ a b Fuerst, J. S. (2005) [2003]. When Public Housing Was Paradise: Building Community in Chicago. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood. p. 133. ISBN 0-252-07213-8. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  5. ^ "Abdul Alkalimat (Gerald A. McWorter)" (PDF). Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  6. ^ Joseph, Peniel E. (2006). "Black Studies, Student Activism, and the Black Power Movement". In Joseph, Peniel E. (ed.). The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era. New York: Routledge. p. 268. ISBN 0-415-94595-X. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  7. ^ Bush, Roderick (2009). The End of White World Supremacy: Black Internationalism and the Problem of the Color Line. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-59213-572-1. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  8. ^ Jones, Rhett (2006). "Dreams, Nightmares, and Realities: Afro-American Studies at Brown University, 1969–1968". In Gordon, Lewis R.; Gordon, Jane Anna (eds.). A Companion to African-American Studies. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing. p. 41. ISBN 0-631-23516-7. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  9. ^ Anderson, Susan Heller (July 10, 1991). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  10. ^ Boyd, Herb (July 20, 1991). "Dispute over Malcolm X Book Pits Betty Shabazz Against Chicago-Based Activist". New York Amsterdam News.
  11. ^ Alkalimat, Abdul (July 15, 1991). "A Statement by Abdul Alkalimat". Malcolm X: A Research Site. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  12. ^ Rickford, Russell J. (2003). Betty Shabazz: A Remarkable Story of Survival and Faith Before and After Malcolm X. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks. p. 464. ISBN 1-4022-0171-0.

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