"To Be Or Not To Be"

ILYASAH SHABAZZ: author, educator, fellow alumnae, and

daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz

A Distinguished Speaker Series event LIVE from the STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK at New Paltz

In May of 2019, Dr. Donald P. Christian, president of SUNY New Paltz, phoned me:

"Would you be interested in returning to campus as this year's Distinguished Speaker Series lecture in conversation with fellow alumnae, Ilyasah Shabazz?"

"I don't think you know what you've just done," I said.  Nor could I know--or imagine--what an inspired pairing it would prove to be.  

What Dr. Christian didn't know before his call was that I'd actually known Ilyasah's mother Dr. Betty Shabazz.  We'd met when my husband, Max Roach, and I were living in Amherst, Massachusetts and she was commuting to UMASS to study for her doctorate.  Max and Ilyasah's father, Malcolm X, were close friends.  My grandfather and Malcolm were even casual acquaintances.  And, there were still more intersections to be explored.  But, although Ilyasah and I had met, we'd never before sat down together one-on-one. 

Not, that is, until October 28, 2019 when we came together for this conversation on purpose, personal, and social responsibility. What does it mean to be oneself in times of challenge and change? 


Muhammad Speaks newspaper
NY State Senator Robert Jackson
NY Times: "Slave Owners’ Names Are on Dorms at a SUNY School. That’s Changing."
​SUNY New Paltz Distinguished Speaker Series
SUNY New Paltz press release
William Shakespeare, "To Be or Not To Be" soliloquy from Hamlet

Hear the show streamed live Saturdays at 12:00 pm on WJFF Radio Catskill.  Subscribe to our podcast (uploaded every Monday) and listen to past shows on SoundCloud.

African American, Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X, Dr. Betty Shabazz, Ilyasah Shabazz, Max Roach, SUNY New Paltz, State University of New York, Calvin Coolidge, Cajun Country, Huguenot, KKK, Ku Klux Klan, Marcus Garvey, Garveyite, Muhammad Speaks, NY Times, Slavery, UMASS, Amherst, WJFF, Janus Adams 
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