An African-American calendar in my office revealed something to me that I can't believe I forgot about: Tuesday marked the 41st anniversary of Malcolm X's assassination. Had he been alive today, he'd be 80 years old.
I've always found it shameful that he's not as revered by history as MLK was, especially considering how phophetic individuals seem to be honored most after their deaths. Incidental, Malcolm X's popularity was significantly on the increase prior to his death, unlike MLK's. Though he was improperly labeled as violent and antagonistic with his "By Any Means Necessary" mantra, the public's impressions of him changed as quickly as his philosophies did. He was willing to compromise with others -- the same people who he once villified -- to reach a common objective.
He was a champion for Black Nationalism (which is needed now more than ever before) and used his intelligence and saavy to advocate the social, political and economic uprising of African-Americans. Toward the end of his life he broke from the Nation of Islam (as an institution) and its messages of Black separatism. Alternatively, especially after his pilgrimage to Mecca, he embraced the spirit of Pan-Africanism and preached the message that people of all races could co-exist. After witnessing Muslims of all races and ethnicities praying and worshipping together, he came to realize that it was possible for us to enjoy the same kind of equality in America.
Let it be known that I don't -- by any means -- subscribe the the Islamic faith. But, to me, Malcolm X represents more than a Muslim. He represents a visionary. He is the epitome of what I would consider 'greatness'. I respect him about as much as any person who has ever lived.
I think that his power was the reason why he was taken from this world. Society has the blood of many courageous and phophetic people on its hands. According to an article in Democracy Now, there are three missing chapters from Malcolm X's autobiography that link the NYPD, the FBI, and the CIA to Malcolm X's assassination.
But, are you really suprised by that?
Are you really suprised that progressive leaders are killed, villified, or disgraced by this society in the prime of their life? Malcolm must've been doing something right for so many people to want him silenced. Unfortunately for them, it didn't work.
His legacy still carries on...