El Hajj Malik El Shabazz

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Brother Malcolm was and is one of the most prolific and important beings to walk this earth. And I know that in theory all the things that are created have the potential to be important, to last and inspire generations. Still, I think there is power in the ability to name something, to be able to call on it and refer back to it. To say, "Malcolm X" and to know exactly what that means.

As the late great scholar Dr. John Henrik Clarke put it in Malcolm X The Man, and His Times:

"Prior to the arrival of Malcolm X on the scene, most of white America looked upon the established civil rights organizations as "extremist," although most of them were creatures and creations of the white controllers of power. But Malcolm came along and said, "Not only do I refuse to integrate with you, white man, but I demand that I be completely separated from you in some states of our own or back home in Africa; not only is your Christianity a fraud but your 'democracy' a brittle lie." Neither the white man nor his black apologists could answer the latter argument..."

"To Malcolm X, the Afro-American must transcend his enemy, not imitate him. For he foresaw that both the Black Muslims and the "integrationists" were aping the oppressor; that neither recognized that the struggle for black freedom was neither social nor moral. It was and is a power struggle; a struggle between the white haves and the black have-nots. A struggle of the oppressor and the oppressed. And if the oppressed is to breach the power of the oppressor, he must either acquire power or align himself with power.

Therefore, it is not accidental that Malcolm's political arm, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, was patterned to the letter and spirit after the Organization of African Unity. Nor should it be surprising that he officially linked up the problems of Afro-Americans with the problems of his black brothers and sisters on the mother continent. Malcolm X's vision was broad enough to see that the Afro-Americans were not a "minority" as the enemy and his lackeys would have us believe. Afro-Americans are not an isolated 25 million. There are over 100 million black people in the Western Hemisphere-Cuba, Brazil, Latin America, the West Indies, North America, etc. Malcolm knew that when we unite these millions with the 300 million on the African continent the black man be-comes a mighty force. The second largest people on earth. And so Malcolm's perennial theme was unity, unity, unity..."

"About the men of his breed, the writer John Oliver Killens has said: "He was a dedicated patriot: DIGNITY was his country, MANHOOD was his government and FREEDOM was his land."

And then there's the late great Ossie Davis' Eulogie for Malcolm X:

"Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain—and we will smile. Many will say turn away—away from this man; for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man—and we will smile. They will say that he is of hate—a fanatic, a racist—who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them:
Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did, you would know him. And if you knew him, you would know why we must honor him: Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood!"

"...And we will know him then for what he was and is—a prince—our own black shining prince!—who didn’t hesitate to die, because he loved us so."

Finally, in Who Do You Admire--a commencement speech delivered to students at Antioch College--political commentator and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal stated:

"Malcolm X, with a stellar intellect, could surely have joined any profession that he set his mind to—he chose to work for the dispossessed of the Black nation."

Originally Posted 5/19/2008

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