Controversy and Objectivity in the realm of historical Research and Presentation

Regarding my experiences in my research to delve into the history of African-American life and experiences at Kean University and the lands which it occupies, it would be dishonest of me to say that it was particularly exhilarating, as much of this research was conducted electronically. Everything I have come across has undoubtedly been also researched my classmates, as well as hundreds of Kean Alumni before me.

That being said, I stumbled across an interesting, yet extremely provocative video recording of a speech given by the late Khalid Abdul Muhammad in 1993 at the University, when it was known as Kean College. For those who are unacquainted with him and his work; Muhammad was a Black Nationalist associated with the Nation of Islam who was well-known for his fiery speeches and diatribes against various social groups, most notably Whites and Jews. Needless to say I was quite shocked when I discovered that he had actually given a speech at Kean University, and I immediately began to wonder how many more in attendance at Kean were influenced by his teachings. Inevitably, I began to wonder if such an event would, could, or should fit into a potential tour on the history of Black Life or African-Americans at Kean.

Of course, such an inclusion would be a controversial proposition that could generate quite a lot of buzz around the school campus. This is not unexpected. But I believe that as historians objectivity and impartiality are two of those most important factors into every bit of research and the resulting presentations of the findings that are the result thereof. Of course, there will be detractors who will accuse those in favor of the documentation of Muhammad’s speech in the tour of trying to cast a negative light on Black Life at Kean University. In response to these critics, it would be most pertinent to present the fact that Muhammad’s parent organization the NOI and its leader at the time (and present) Louis Farrakhan sharply denounced his speech and later ejected him from membership within the organization.

Essentially, what I am proposing is a chance to present facts, regardless of their unpleasantness to the participants of the tour. Nothing more, nothing less. I realize that my position might stir up controversy , but I will stand by it regardless of any criticism I might receive.


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