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LISTEN: Scholar Khalil Gibran Muhammad on American mythology and the crisis of racial justice

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On Monday, June 27, I paid a visit to New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to help a large gathering of the Schomburg’s devoted friends and visitors say goodbye — very reluctantly — to Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad. He’s been the beloved director of the Schomburg for the past five years and has done much to expand the reach and the influence of the Harlem institution that devotes itself to researching and disseminating the history of African Americans.

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But Muhammad is also a scholar and he is now eager to evaluate everything he has gleaned about the contemporary concerns of black America from a new vantage point. He’s on his way to join Harvard University’s faculty as a professor of history, race and public policy at the Kennedy School of Government.

This young historian is uniquely well suited to ponder the contradictions of the past, the present and the future. Muhammad grew up on Chicago’s Southside, he’s the great grandson of Elijah Muhammad, who led the Nation of Islam for decades and he’s the son of a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist and an educator.

I first interviewed Muhammad in 2012 about the founding paradox of our country, that our constitution promised “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” despite the entrenched institution of slavery. In June, in front of a live audience at the Schomburg, Khalil Gibran Muhammad and I picked up where we left off, discussing how critical it is to know the past in order to challenge our turbulent times, and reshape our future.

Listen below:

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In extreme crises, conservatism can turn to fascism. Here’s how that might play out

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5 movie "Back to the Future," Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) travels in a time machine from the 1980s to the 1950s. When he tells people of the '50s he is from the '80s, he is met with skepticism.

1950s person: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?

This article first appeared at Salon.com.Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.

1950s person: Ronald Reagan? The actor? [chuckles in disbelief] Then who's vice president? Jerry Lewis [comedian]?

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Who are the young people behind the Catalonia protest violence?

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The violent protests that have swept Catalonia over the jailing of nine separatist leaders have involved veteran anarchists and youthful troublemakers as well as outraged separatists, some of whom became radicalised only recently.

"I am 24, have a masters and a job and I never imagined myself setting fire to a barricade with my face masked," said one protester who gave her name only as Aida.

She has joined in protests every day since they erupted in the region after Spain's Supreme Court on Monday sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to up to 13 years in jail for sedition over a failed 2017 independence bid.

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Body language expert dissects the power dynamic at play in the iconic Nancy Pelosi photo

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Last week, President Donald Trump met with Democrats at the White House to discuss the way both sides could work to fix the President's mistakes in Syria. Democrats left the White House saying that the President had another meltdown during the meeting, which prompted Trump to claim Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the one who had a meltdown. He then posted photos of Pelosi sitting quietly and another photo of Pelosi standing and pointing at him.

Body language expert Dr. Jack Brown posted the photo and gave his own analysis of what he believed was happening in the photo.

"When a person has little or no empathy — and/or when they're far from their emotional baseline, their ability to interpret how others will view an event becomes dramatically distorted," Brown explained Sunday. "Rarely has this behavioral axiom been better exemplified than last Wednesday at the White House."

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