Nyle Fort is a minister, activist, and scholar. His work addresses issues of racial and social justice through cutting-edge scholarship, community-based organizing, and large-scale social movements.

In his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, Nyle co-founded the Maroon Project (TMP). The organization works with students, community organizers, and local residents to impact issues of social justice through political education, civic engagement, and leadership development. Since its formation in 2014, TMP has provided hundreds of free books and healthy meals to youth and families; established a Freedom School for middle school and college students; and, most recently, partnered with Masks for the People and Rutgers University to distribute thousands of face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer to the most vulnerable populations.

After years of organizing in his local community, Nyle entered a doctoral program to study the issues he was seeking to address. As a graduate student, he organized his department’s first annual conference, which brought together academics, activists, and artists from across the world to think about questions of policing, protest, and pathways toward justice. On the heels of the gathering, Nyle launched the Organizing Praxis-Lab to connect the ideas of the conference to the crises we face as a country. The year-long training provided political education programs and community organizing workshops for students interested in learning about and participating in the growing movement around police brutality and social inequality.

Nyle began graduate school in the wake of several high-profile police and vigilante killings of African Americans, including Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Angry at the recurring spectacle of state-sanctioned violence and premature black death, he traveled to Ferguson to support the growing Black Lives Matter movement and its effort to eradicate police violence and systemic racism. In addition to helping organize protests, Nyle created Strange Fruit Speaks: an innovative church liturgy commemorating the last words of black Americans killed at the hands of law enforcement. The service, which began in local churches, spread throughout universities, seminaries, and faith-based organizations across the nation.

Nyle’s commitment to social justice has led him from local communities to college campuses to countries across the world. In 2012, he served as an International fellow at the St. Andrew’s Centre in Southern India where he taught and created curriculum around the shared experiences of Dalits and African Americans. In 2014, Nyle worked in Amsterdam and Belgium as the International Fellowship of Reconciliation’s inaugural Beloved Communities fellow, where he helped build a multinational effort to challenge global racialized violence. And, in 2016, Nyle traveled to Rome to participate in the Vatican’s World Meeting of Popular Movements: a joint initiative of Pope Francis and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to end poverty and promote international human rights.

Nyle has spoken at numerous academic, cultural, and religious institutions including Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, New York University, Swarthmore College, Vassar College, the University of Amsterdam, the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Center, the British Library, and the historic Riverside Church. His writing and public commentary is featured in the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, Socialism and Democracy, the Guardian, the Nation, Boston Globe, Essence, Ebony Magazine, PBS, MSNBC, and Black Agenda Report. And his scholarship has been funded by the Ford Foundation, Forum for Theological Exploration, University of Pennsylvania, the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, and the Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity.

Nyle earned his B.A. in English from Morehouse College and his Ph.D. in Religion and Interdisciplinary Humanities, with a concentration in African American Studies, from Princeton University. He is an incoming professor of African American Studies at Columbia University. His latest project is building a national museum of social justice and multi-racial activism.

 

 

 

 

“Nyle was great as usual! I love this man! The students were inspired by Dr. Nyle’s conversation and hung on to his every word. What was most compelling was his willingness to share his life’s trajectory with them. I look forward to seeing him again.” – Moise St. Louis, PhD, Interim Associate Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

“… Dr. Fort was AWESOME! He definitely delivered a message to our students in a way that was well received.” – Anthony C. Morman, Esq., Diversity Engagement Coordinator – Albany State University

“Dr. Fort was fantastic! We received great feedback from staff, faculty, & students! Hopefully we can bring Dr. Fort back again soon.” – Linda Johnsen, Assistant Director – Office of Student Engagement – Florida SouthWestern State College | Collier

“HE WAS INCREDIBLE!” – Sarah Rine, Director, Student Activities and Leadership – UMass Lowell

“…he was Phenomenal…” – Yolany Gonell, Director, Student Diversity & Inclusion – William Paterson University

“Dr. Fort’s talk was great!” – Russell Phillips, Chapter President – National Society of Black Engineers – South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

“He was INCREDIBLE!!!”Dee West, Associate Dean of Students/Director of Diversity and Inclusion – Hiram College

“… He truly IS brilliant. Hopefully we’ll be able to invite him back sometime in the future to campus.” – Aubry Fappiano, Counselor –
Post University

“… a powerful presentation this morning!” – Melissa Leone, Upper School Dean – The Linsly School

“Nyle was simply Brilliant!” – Brendon-Jeremi Jobs, Director of Diversity & Inclusion – The Haverford School

“.. Our morning was amazing! I got positive feedback throughout the day. He was described as our “best speaker yet” by several faculty members who have been at Cushing for many years (and we have been lucky to have some excellent speakers over the years!). Students also raved! They loved his style and appreciated the content as well.” – Jessica Devin, Director of Diversity – Cushing Academy

“Nyle brings a burst of vibrant energy to your community. His passion for this work is driven from the heart and anchored in the legacy of Dr. King. Your students will leave their time with Nyle feeling challenged, inspired, and determined to continue the conversation and turn it into action. We shall remain forever grateful for his time on our campus and are eager to host him again!” – Vince B. Vincent, Associate Head of School – The Woodhall School

He was awesome. The students and faculty were blown away…” – David Coratti, Associate Headmaster – Trinity-Pawling School

“Nyle was outstanding! The students loved his talk and I must say he PREACHED. Many are saying this was the best MLK Service thus far.” – Ruth Evee, Director of Equity and Inclusion – Boston College High School

“…His talk was very informative and both his presentation and then his answers during the Q & A were delivered with passion….” – Timothy J. Roller, Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs – Avon Old Farms School

“It was great having Nyle here at Kent. The feedback was amazing from both students and faculty.” – Devonna Hall, LMSW, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator – Kent School

“He was phenomenal! The Hotchkiss community loved him!” – Rachel L. Myers, Ph.D., Director of Diversity & Inclusion – The Hotchkiss School

“….Nyle was amazing. Our students still talk about the impact his presence and knowledge had on them…They are currently in talks with the administration about some positive changes. They credit Nyle with encouraging them to stand up and speak out, but also with providing them with some tools to do so. If I could have him back in the future, I definitely will. We were more than satisfied with him.” – Michael Hodges, Assistant Director, Office of Intercultural & International Life – Carleton College

“Nyle was exceptional! The faculty and students are still raving about him!” – Walidah Justice, Director of Diversity and Inclusion – The Episcopal Academy

“He was terrific. Conversation with students last night ran later than anticipated, and after today’s lunch discussion they are still circled around him in lively conversation!” – Kerry Raadt, Director of College Events – Carleton College

“Nyle was a HIT!” – LeRhonda Greats, M.Ed., Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Berkshire School

“Everything was fantastic. Thank you so much for all of your help coordinating. Nyle was an excellent speaker and the students and faculty responded favorably to his talk. Highly recommended for independent school audiences!” – John Bowers, Director of Diversity & Inclusivity – The Rivers School

“Nyle was awesome! I sent him a note this morning to let him know that I am still getting excellent feedback from our community, but most notably from our students. Nyle commanded the audience’s attention from the moment he stepped on the stage which is difficult to do at 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday. One of my colleagues mentioned that he was moved to tears by the strength of Nyle’s presentation.” – Anika O. Walker-Johnson, Dean of Multicultural Education & Community Life – Tabor Academy

“Nearly every single student — across a range of political and ideological spectrums — loved your presentation. They were moved, inspired, and walked away with new knowledge and understanding. Some expressed that they hadn’t expected to have that reaction, but their eyes and hearts were opened. And the conversations that your talk sparked helped open my students up to each other; there were more stories, tears, questions and personal exchanges in the classroom that were incredibly moving and powerful. You also inspired much needed hope and energy in a few students who have felt drained by the work they are doing at school and beyond to fight injustice in society and in their own lives; they were in tears relaying how grateful they felt to have heard your words and felt your strength. All of my students enjoyed your presentation style — your relatability, genuineness, and passion. They were blown away by your depth of knowledge and appreciated your thoughtful answers to student questions. I am incredibly grateful for your visit to our school and for the work you do — from the streets to school auditoriums — to engage, teach, preach, listen, challenge, connect, and spread love, particularly in times of such hate and misunderstanding of each other.” – Margo Andrews, Instructor – The Pennington School

“Nyle was beyond amazing. Our students and faculty loved him and want him to come back. He connected with the students in a very honest and personal way and many folks stayed late to talk to him one on one.” – Marissa Colston, Director of Diversity and Inclusion  – Westtown School

“Your presence on our high school campus was such a blessing. Your words were so eloquent and I have never been so drawn to someone’s conversation so much that I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting for the next moment that left me with hope. Your presentation today was absolutely beautiful.” – Maria Kane, Communication Skills Teacher – The Pennington School

“Nyle was amazing! Love this young man! He moved the community on so many levels.” – Moise St. Louis, Director, The Center for Multicultural Affairs and Services – Saint Michael’s College

“… he was amaaaaaazing. Our kids went bananas about and for him — they were really fired up to be engaging with such an intellectual and relatable activist…it was fantastic.” – Martha E. Neubert, Dean of Diversity, Equity, & Social Justice – Northfield Mount Hermon School

“ I think he has a great future ahead of him and is obviously incredibly intelligent, warm, generous, passionate, and driven. I love his story such as we heard and he is very appealing to young people. Thank you for supporting him.”  – David J. Weidman, Assistant Head – Kimball Union Academy

“Nyle was excellent! The students really appreciated his style, the content, and his message. He brought Martin Luther King to life for them and inserted him into their daily lives in a very relevant way! One of our best speakers of the year!” – Kathryn M. Noble, Dean of Students – The Williston Northampton School

“I thoroughly enjoyed Nyle’s talk. I have used key points he made during his talk as I move forward with talking with students around social justice. Nyle did a great job at engaging students. Many had great things to say including thinking about their own activism and reach.  Given the timing of his talk, many folks, including myself, needed to hear some words of empowerment but also revolution, in terms of the power we have to make change. “ – Pascale S. Jean-Jacques, Assistant Director for Multicultural Education – Quinnipiac University

“It was a tremendous hit with any number of students. He’s an intelligent,  articulate speaker with an important message. The number of students who stayed afterward and spoke for quite a while speaks volumes.”   – Martin Miller, Speaker Series Director – Blair Academy

“…you were right about Nyle, he was fantastic. The students loved him and they would have kept him here all night if we didn’t push things along. Thanks for the recommendation.” – Paul Brian Thomas, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies – Radford University

“Funny, relatable, engaging, passionate…Nyle’s story is inspiring and brought light to modern day activism and its impacts on race issues in America on a micro and macro level. Nyle did an excellent job engaging all participants to critically think about white privilege, oppression, politics and race in a humorous yet serious way.” – Christa Grant, Director, Damietta Cross-Cultural Center – Siena College

“Nyle was wonderful. The students really enjoyed his lecture and the discussion he started. Thank you for the recommendation, we will definitely love to invite him back in the future.” – Magie Hassanin, Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life and to the Director of Multicultural Student Life – St. Joseph’s College

“…Having you here meant a great deal to all of us who were able to connect with you, your energy, your passion, your intellect, and your courage.  I know that I have said to you, nearly as a refrain, each time we have met that you give me hope for the future.  Please know that I have never said that to anyone before, ever, and I have had thousands of young people pass through my classes in the last 24 years.  It is not that there weren’t exceptional and talented people with whom I crossed paths, but, I have to tell you, none had the combination of insight, brilliance, curiosity, groundedness, open-heartedness, and engagement that you possess.  Knowing that you are not only all that I describe, but are committed to activism and to the struggle to understand and address the roots of racism and with unwavering clarity name its injustice and legacy, in concert with a bold confrontation with so many other oppressive categories in which people are placed makes my conviction stronger that you are a unique force in this world…You are truly a light in the murkiness of the present moment, and I look forward to watching you continue to illuminate a way forward.” – Carmen Gillespie, Director, The Griot Institute for Africana Studies – Bucknell University

 

 

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