Kite Line: The Long History of Black Radicalism on the Inside, Part One


Kite Line is an ongoing anti-prison podcast and radio show broadcast from Bloomington, Indiana.

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This week, we are changing our format slightly. After hearing a letter from a prisoner involved in Operation PUSH, we are broadcasting an interview between Dr. Micol Seigel and Dr. Garrett Felber on the role of the Nation of Islam in prison life and prisoners’ struggle.

Beginning in the middle of the last century, the Nation of Islam built a strong presence among black prisoners, drawing together not only disparate religious traditions, but also neglected experiences of struggle, ranging from the early civil rights movement to black conscientious objection during World War 2. Felber then situates Malcolm X, the best-known of the Nation of Islam organizers to come out of prison, within this broader context of collective struggle and political reaction in 1950s America. Micol and Garrett are currently both fellows at the Warren Center at Harvard.

We will finish their conversation in next week’s episode, as they cover the relationship of Nation of Islam to other trajectories of prison struggle and black radicalism.

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Kite Line
Kite Line is a radio program devoted to prison issues around the Midwest and beyond. Behind the prison walls, a message is called a kite: whispered words, a note passed hand to hand, or a request submitted to the guards for medical care. Illicit or not, sending a kite means trusting that other people will bear it farther along till it reaches its destination. On the show, we hope to pass along words across the prison walls.