Born on May 19, 1925, on this day in 1965 — -Malcolm Little bka Malcolm X aka El Hajj Malik el Shabazz, was shot down and murdered in front of hundreds of people.
It has been some time since I’ve written about Malcolm, needing to shed light on other who are important to our history, but I cannot this year. I apologize for this being late, but it is better late than never and “by any means necessary” will I get it done.
There will always be speculation about who pulled the trigger, who orchestrated the hit and who was celebrating his death, but what won’t be forgotten are the words of those we suspected. We cannot forget those, whom he had a genuine love for, who turned their backs on him when he needed them most. When the FBI (namely J Edgar) was tapping his phones, sending in spies to bring him down; when Elijah Muhammad was “silencing” him and distancing him away from the NOI because h had questions and sought the truth versus worshipping a man; when two young men he brought to the Nation stopped talking to him and one even went as far to help “plot” his elimination (which he “admitted”).
He was a young man who lost his father to what was ruled as a suicide in the wonderfully diverse (that’s sarcasm for those who know I’m from Michigan and had family friends in this city) city of Mason. The man beat himself and then drug himself to train tracks. (Amazing, how the same lies are still told some 70 years later. I digress.) He watch his mother slowly lose grip on reality while losing custody of all of her kids. He went from foster home to foster home, participating in a school where the teachers (who were not of color) told him he should pick a “easier” job for his smaller Negro mind. (Those weren’t the exact words, but that’s what it sounded like to me when I read it.)
He was in and out of trouble as a teenager before he was forced to move to Boston with his dad’s oldest daughter Ella. From there, he managed to make it to Harlem, thus the naem Detroit Redd (so they could distinguish between him and another fellow redbone, redhair mane they called Chicago Redd (Redd Foxx)). He met all of the musicians we play today. He got caught up in a robbery scheme (involving his friend shorty and two white girls). He was sent to prison and that is where he met Elijah Muhammad. You know the rest at that point.
“No one man should have all that power,” one police officer told New York Amsterdam News. This, when Malcolm held up one hand, dismissing (silently) a group of NOI members that totaled some four thousand strong. (#power)
It has been 51 years since the death of Malcolm and I can only imagine what he would say about the state of affairs today.
Ozzie Davis’s eulogy – “There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. 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.“