I’m currently reading the fascinating autobiography of Malcolm X. His was an asounding life story of metamorphasis from nieve kid from the country, Harlem hustler, Nation of Islam preacher and finally into a more independent thinker who dropped his earlier distrust for all whites in the fight for social and economic justice.
The great sadness reading the life story of Malcolm X is how his untimely death cut short the potential for the man to become a truly revolutionary leader of dispossesed people, no matter their race. Towards the end of his life Malcolm lost his possibly racist sentiments as was preached by the Nation of Islam and realised that peoples of all colours, creeds and religions must come together to fight for equality and justice. His trips to the UK, France and Mecca cemented these ideals as well as his belief that the world was nearing a revolutionary epoch that would require all men and women to work together to throw off their chains. During his trip to Mecca he gained a new Arabic name El Hajj Malik El Shabazz and more importantly a new found respect for brotherhood as he met fellow Muslims of all colours who treated him with respect.
Malcolm X was murdered in 1965 by the Nation of Islam, or the FBI (as Fred Hampton was as part of the COINTELPRO programme of the 1960s) just as his fight for universal human rights began. We need more individuals today willing to risk harm speaking out for those who have no voice and against inequality, whether it be on a national or global level.
Malcolm X at Oxford University 1964;
‘The House Negro & The Field Negro’ (this could be re-titled & re-contextualised to ‘middle classes & working classes’ in our contemporary situation);
‘There’s a Worldwide Revolution Going On’;
‘Malcolm X after Return from Mecca’;