Black History

* Malcolm X



  Elke Moritz

IV. Malcolm X (19.5.1925 - 21.2.1965)

3. El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz

I feel like a man who has been asleep somewhat and under someone else's control. I feel that what I'm thinking and saying is now for myself. Before it was for and by the guidance of Elijah Muhammad. Now I think with my own mind, sir!
Malcolm X, in New York Times, Feb. 22,1965

What made him unfamiliar and dangerous was not his hatred for white people but his love for blacks, his apprehension of the horror of the black condition, and the reasons for it, and his determination so to work on their hearts and minds that they would be enabled to see their condition and change it themselves.
James Baldwin in "No Name in the Street",p.97

When it occurred to him that his suspension wasn't temporary and that certain members of the Nation did their best to keep him from becoming active again, Malcolm gave a press conference and announced his break with the NOI. He founded an own religious organization, the Muslim Mosque, Inc.. In April 1964, soon after he left the Nation, he made his holy pilgrimage to Mecca and took on the Islamic name of "El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz". On his "Hajj", like it is called in the religion of Islam, he experienced real brotherhood, being accepted and treated as a human being. The friendliness and respect he received made a great impression on him:
"The colour-blindness of the Muslim world's religious society and the colour-blindness of the Muslim world's human society: these two influences had each day been making a greater impact, and an increasing persuasion against my previous way of thinking." 37 He also travelled through many African countries, meeting several important African leaders38 and leaving an enormous impact on Africa. His views concerning the relation to white people had changed and he had modified his views on black separatism. So when he arrived back home, many Americans didn't know what to think of Malcolm's new position.

He often spoke before students and young people at various universities, and influenced many young SNCC members, who were fascinated by his intelligence, his incorruptibility and his selflessness. To attract people who didn't want to become active on a religious base, he founded the OAAU39. This organization should work together with the OAU, which second meeting he had attended as an observer in Cairo on July 17, 1964, while on his second trip to Africa and Europe. He also urged blacks to become active by registering to vote and joining other organizations:
"When you go to a church and you see the pastor of that church with a philosophy and a program that's designed to bring black people together and elevate black people, join that church! If you see where the NAACP is preaching and practising that which is designed to make black nationalism materialize, join the NAACP. Join any kind of organization - civic, religious, fraternal, political or otherwise - that's based on lifting ... the black man up and making him master of his own community."40

His ultimate belief was now in world brotherhood and human justice. But because the white press was more interested in the "old" Malcolm, they continued blaming him for the outburst of violence in Harlem during the "long, hot summer" of 1964. Malcolm now concentrated on a struggle for human rights:
"We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the right of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary."41 He had undergone many changes, and many white Americans were afraid of his call for an internationalization of the struggle, which he described as a "world problem". He wanted to cooperate with the African people, and often spoke out against the US government and its activities in the Congo and Vietnam. "Malcolm became Public Enemy No.1 when he chose the road of national and international struggle, the road of anti-colonialism and anti-capitalism."42

The more his international reputation increased, the more death threats he received. He continued criticizing Martin Luther King and other moderate leaders, which caused King to become more radical to keep the students from following Malcolm. He had always believed that he, like his father, would die a violent death, but he was willing to die for his aims:
"It is a time for martyrs now, and if I am to be one, it will be for the cause of brotherhood. That's the only thing that can save this country."43 A week after his house was bombed and just before Malcolm was able to bring the US before the United Nations to charge them of the denial of human rights and committing genocide against the African-American people, he was assassinated. Three members of the NOI were arrested and sentenced to life-imprisonment44, but many people accused other organizations like the FBI of killing the "shining black prince"45 of the masses living in the Northern ghettos, who dared to say what the people thought and therefore became too dangerous for those who feared, that they could lose their power.

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37.) taken from "The Autobiography of Malcolm X", p. 453
38.) among others Prince Faisal of Arabia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.
39.) OAAU = Organization of African-American Unity
40.) speech "The Ballot or the Bullet", Detroit; in "Martin & Malcolm & America"; for the Cleveland - version see MX Speaks
41.) taken from "The Founding Rally of the OAAU", June 28, 1964, in "By any means necessary", p.56
42.) Charles E. Wilson," Leadership: Triumph in Leadership Tragedy" in "Malcolm X- the man and his times",p.39
43.) Malcolm X, NYC, Interview with Gordon Parks19 Feb.1965, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X".p.53
44.) Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson
45.) quoted from the eulogy which was held by Ossie Davis