Garrett Felber presents “Those Who Know Don’t Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State”

Challenging incarceration and policing was central to the postwar Black Freedom Movement. In this bold new political and intellectual history of the Nation of Islam, Garrett Felber centers the Nation in the Civil Rights Era and the making of the modern carceral state. Examining efforts to build broad-based grassroots coalitions among liberals, radicals, and nationalists to oppose the carceral state and struggle for local Black self-determination, Felber captures the ambiguous place of the Nation of Islam specifically, and Black nationalist organizing more broadly, during an era which has come to be defined by nonviolent resistance, desegregation campaigns, and racial liberalism.

Garrett Felber is an assistant professor of History at the University of Mississippi. His research and teaching focus on twentieth-century African American social movements, Black radicalism, and the carceral state. Felber was the lead organizer of the Making and Unmaking Mass Incarceration conference and is the Project Director of the Parchman Oral History Project (POHP), a collaborative oral history, archival, and documentary storytelling project on incarceration in Mississippi. In 2016, Felber co-founded Liberation Literacy, an abolitionist collective inside and outside Oregon prisons. He also spearheaded the Prison Abolition Syllabus, a collaborative reading list published by Black Perspectives which highlighted and contextualized prison strikes in 2016 and 2018. Felber is also the coeditor of the Portable Malcolm X Reader with the late Manning Marable and is currently working on a biography of former political prisoner Martin Sostre.