Wali M. Siddiq ’51

2001 Distinguished Citizen Award

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Wali Siddiq has not only witnessed seven decades of black history, he has lived it, covered it in the media and now teaches it to those too young to remember Watts, Malcolm X and marches across the South. Already a veteran of World War II and the jungles of the Pacific when he entered Macalester, Siddiq—then known as Louis House—played on the hockey team and the 1947 championship football team, and was one of Mary Gwen Owen’s “Talking People.” As one of the builders of campus radio station KBOM and Jazz Club president, he brought touring jazz artists to campus.

After working in Twin Cities radio and television, he moved to Chicago, where famed Olympian Jesse Owens gave him his start in radio. He went on to become dean of Malcolm X College and host and producer of the Emmy Award-winning TV magazine “Black Journal,” which was carried by 120 NET stations. Through the influence of Malcolm X and Minister Louis Farrakhan, Siddiq joined Islam.

In 1975, he began Pride Community Center, which continues to provide social services of all kinds in south Chicago. In 1977 he founded Coshemade, Inc. to interest black youngsters in careers in health professions. Now semi-retired, he has time for other things, such as his four-week series of presentations for Black History Month.

Wali M. Siddiq’s own life has been guided by the works and scriptures of Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, his mother and grandmother. He is also inspired by the goal “To promote and strive for high standards of health and excellence in education, productivity, performance of jobs and human relations,” and the Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles) of Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).