Du Bois Visiting Scholars Series: Gaidi Faraj
April 17, 2018
5:00 pm-7:00 pm
Library, W.E.B. Du Bois
UMass Amherst Campus
Gaidi Faraj speaks on "W.E.B. Du Bois, John Brown, and the Spectre of Violence in the Black Freedom Struggle."
Faraj brings a rich blend of experience in education and private sector business on the African continent. Prior to being appointed dean of faculty at African Leadership University, Faraj was a faculty member in the business management department at African Leadership College in Mauritius. Faraj has over 10 years of senior level experience of managing large scale projects and navigating regulatory framework in Tanzania and broader East Africa.
Faraj holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.A. in Teaching from Troy State University and was a 2017-18 UMass Amherst W.E.B. Du Bois Postdoctoral Fellow.
Fifty years after John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, Du Bois wrote a poignant biography on Brown's life and recounted his armed uprising. In more recent years, we have seen the 50th anniversary of pivotal events such as the Selma march, the founding of the Black Panther Party, and the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. In revisiting and reexamining these defining moments, we are quickly reminded of how the civil rights movement has been deliberately diluted. Similar to how Du Bois's radical politics have been extracted from his story and his image reconfigured to make him more digestible, academia and mainstream culture have omitted significant aspects of the Black Panther Party and the radical politics of the Black Power Movement. This paper explores the armed resistance and activism of the Black Liberation Army and looks at the similarities that exist between the radical black underground of the black power era and the underground railroad built by the abolitionist movement.