Malcolm X Liberation University - Empowerment Through History and Learning

East Pettigrew Street, Durham, NC 27701

In 1969 local activist Howard Fuller along with a group of Duke students founded Malcolm X Liberation University in an old hosiery mill in downtown Durham. Fuller and the students were unhappy with Duke's progress toward equal resources for black students and the formation of a black studies department, common concerns at the time in universities across the US.

The stated mission of the radical new university was to provide an ideological and practical methodology for meeting the physical, social, psychological, economical and culture needs of black people as well as to provide an alternate to institutionalized racism in education.

Separating itself from typical universities in many ways, the school did not aspire to traditional accreditation but sought validation only through the black community. Perspective university students submitted applications and completed an interview. However, they were not required to have a high school diploma and were eligible for enrollment as a black individual who supported the stated mission of MXLU.

This new university and its founders had turned toward the separatist ideals of the black power movement, an effort to promote black consciousness and to create institutions controlled by black individuals. Malcolm X Liberation University was open in Durham for only a single year before moving to Greensboro where it remained open only until 1973.

The school did not exist long enough to graduate students and its short tenure was attributed to financial issues, strained relations with the white press and civil rights organizations as well as with North Carolina's historically black colleges and universities. While Malcolm X Liberation University did not succeed as an institution of higher learning, it was a powerful example of black power ideas and the role of race in the education system.

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