42 years after assassination
Malcolm X inspires militant struggle against racism
By Monica Moorehead
Published Feb 18, 2007 5:55 PM
On Feb. 21, 1965, revolutionary Black nationalist leader Malcolm X was assassinated while making a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, N.Y. He was only 39 years old. To this day, it is still widely believed throughout progressive sectors that the U.S. government was very much behind his death.
Consider the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a repressive arm of the U.S. Justice Department, began keeping a file on Malcolm X—then Malcolm Little—in March 1953, upon his release from prison. It was during his prison term that he became politically radicalized and joined the Nation of Islam, a Black Muslim organization. The file on Malcolm X, more than 3,600 pages and 19 sections, was part of the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program—COINTELPRO—which targeted political formations and individuals advocating various forms of liberation struggles of oppressed nationalities. Malcolm X evolved into one of the most dynamic representatives of the NOI and the Black struggle. He traveled throughout the United States, speaking to predominantly Black audiences and to many white college students about the political and economic oppression of Black people inside the United States and worldwide. Malcolm used historical facts and disarming political formulations to explain in a popular manner why Black nationalism was a more than justified response to an institutionalized racist ideology, as opposed to being “anti-white”—a distorted view projected by the big-business media. He popularized the concept of Black people’s right to armed self-defense against the state-sponsored racist terror of the police and the U.S. government. This concept helped to give birth to the Black Panther Party in Oakland, Calif., in 1966, and to other revolutionary formations like the Young Lords, a Latin@ youth organization. He along with Martin Luther King spoke about the right of Black people to reparations for the generations of racism and national oppression brought about by the legacy of slavery. He created the immortal phrase “By any means necessary” in relation to the various tactics Black people should use to win liberation. In the aftermath of his travels to Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere, Malcolm X was in the process of developing an anti-imperialist perspective when he was tragically struck down. He had just formed the Organization of African-American Unity as a vehicle for uniting other political currents within the Black liberation movement. He was planning to bring worldwide attention to the plight of African Americans to the United Nations. Forty-two years after his death, Malcolm X remains a revered figure of defiance against all forms of racist oppression, especially among the youth as well as progressive and oppressed sectors of workers. Excerpted from a Feb. 26, 2004, article.
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by Norman (Otis) Richmond
Malcolm X in Africa 1964
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) was assassinated 44 years ago, on Feb. 21, 1965, because of his attempt to internationalize the African American struggle for self-determination. Malcolm would have been 84 years old on May 19, 2009. Africans in New York City have made a pilgrimage to Malcolm’s gravesite every year since Feb. 21, 1966. While it is unlikely that U.S. President Barack Obama will acknowledge Malcolm’s joining the ancestors, people from Cape Town to Nova Scotia and Brazil to Brixton definitely will. Unlike other U.S. presidents, President Obama knows who Malcolm was and...
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