As you know, February is Black History Month in America. A couple of weeks ago on my blog, we celebrated the birthday of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Click here to read that blog.)
Now I would like to celebrate the life of another of my personal heroes, the late, great Malcolm X.
Although the anniversary of Malcolm’s assassination was 21 February, I intentionally waited until after that day to write about him. I don’t want to celebrate his death, but his life – and his legacy. He was strong, courageous and never hesitated to evolve and grow and become wiser, even when it meant stepping out of his “comfort zone” and making other folks, including the FBI and his former colleagues from the Nation of Islam, “uncomfortable.” He was willing to risk death, if necessary, to do and say what he felt was right. In the end, he strongly advocated putting aside blind hatred and seeking a brotherhood among peoples. Once the greatest pessimist, he came to inspire great hope. And his autobiography (co-authored with Alex Haley) is essential reading for not only every American, but for all people everywhere. When I read it as a high school senior, it opened my eyes and changed my life.
In honor of Malcolm, I have added to my crisischronicles free online library a stirring letter he wrote to his followers in Harlem after he “converted” to mainstream Islam and made his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964, less than a year before his death. Please click here to read this powerful letter from Malcolm. I believe his words are every bit as important today as they were then.
You might also enjoy this short video, featuring words from Ossie Davis’ eulogy for Malcolm:
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