After five years of service in the U.S. Air Force, Salim Muwakkil earned a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ in 1973. Prior to graduation, Muwakkil was called to the printed word, and served as a News Writer for Newark, New Jersey’s Associated Press Bureau. This position was the catalyst for a successful long-standing career in journalism. The following year, he became a copy editor for the largest black-owned publication in the country in the 1970s, Muhammad Speaks-Bibalian News. Muwakkil also served as the paper’s Managing Editor until 1977.
The 1980s moved Muwakkil to Chicago, where he worked as a writer and editor for the U.S. Department of Housing and Development. Always engaged in written expression Muwakkil was also a freelance writer, contributing to the New York Times, Washington Post and Chicago. He became a Senior Editor for In These Times in 1984, and in 1993 became a contributing columnist for the Chicago Sun Times.
Muwakkil’s contribution and commitment to the power of prose has never faltered as he still serves as a Senior Editor for In These Times, and a frequent contributor to Chicago Tonight and Beyond the Beltway with Bruce Dumont. He is also a Crime and Communities Fellow for the Open Society Institute, which examines the impact of ex-inmates and gang members in leadership positions in black communities. Muwakkil’s interest in complex gang issues has lead to the project entitled: Chicago Gangs: American Story.
Muwakkil serves as a board member for the Progressive Media Project and the Chicago-based Public Square, is a faculty member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s Urban Studies Program, and former adjunct Professor at Columbia College, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and School of the Art Institute.