Black History

* Malcolm X



  Elke Moritz  
  Last updated:
  Apr.28, 1998

For Malcolm

Malcolm's influence can be found in modern literature, music and especially poetry.
"For Malcolm" is a beautiful collection of poems dedicated to Malcolm X. It took me a few years to finally get the book, though, since it was out of print in the early 90s, and the "African-studies-department"' library at the university of Mainz was always closed when I arrived there. I finally got the book via the "Fernleihe"-System, which enables people in Germany to lend books from other (far away) libraries. But since I really like this book, I bought it in 1997 from an US-online bookstore.
I first found some of the poems in James de Jongh's "Vicious Modernism - Black Harlem and the Literary Imagination" (ISBN 0-521-32620-6, 1990).
Here now are some of my favorite poems for Malcolm:

At that moment - Raymond R. Patterson
For Brother Malcolm - Edward S. Spriggs
A Poem For Black Hearts - Imamu Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones)

At that moment

When they shot Malcolm Little down
On the stage of the Audobon Ballroom,
When his life ran out through bullet holes
(Like the people running out then the murder began)
His blood soaked the floor
One drop found a crack through the stark
Pounding thunder-slipped under the stage and began
Its journey: burrowed through concrete into the cellar,
Dropped down darkness, exploding like quicksilver
Pellets of light, panicking rats, paralyzing cockroaches-
Tunneled through rubble and wrecks of foundations,
The rocks that buttress the bowels of the city, flowed
Into pipes and powerlines, the mains and cables of the city:
A thousand fiery seeds.
At that moment,
Those who drank water where he entered...
Those who cooked food where he passed...
Those who burned light while he listened...
Those who were talking as he went, knew he was water
Running out of faucets, gas running out of jets, power
Running out of sockets, meaning running along taut wires -
To the hungers of their living. It was said
Whole slums of clotted Harlem plumbing groaned
And sundered free that day, and disconnected gas and light
Went on and on and on ...
They rushed his riddled body on a stretcher
To the hospital. But the police were too late.
It had already happened.
Raymond R. Patterson
in "For Malcolm", p.69, also in Vicious Modernism, p.153 (only second stanza)  

For Brother Malcolm

there is no memorial site
in harlem
save the one we are building
in the streets of
our young minds
till our hands & eyes
have strength to mould
the concrete beneath our feet
Edward S. Spriggs
in "For Malcolm", p. 73, also in Vicious Modernism, p. 153  

A Poem for Black Hearts

For Malcolm's eyes, when they broke
the face of some dumb white man, For
Malcolm's hands raised to bless us
all black and strong in his image
of ourselves, For Malcolm's words
fire darts, the victor's tireless
thrusts, words hung above the world
change as it may, he said it, and
for this he was killed, for saying,
and feeling, and being/ change, all
collected hot in his heart, For Malcolm's
heart, raising us above our filthy cities,
for his stride, and his beat, and his address
to the grey monsters of the world, For Malcolm's
pleas for your dignity, black men, for your life,
black man, for the filling of your minds
with righteousness, For all of him dead and
gone and vanished from us, and all of him which
clings to our speech black god of our time.
For all of him, and all of yourself, look up,
black man, quit stuttering and shuffling, look up,
black man, quit whining and stooping, for all of him,
For Great Malcolm a prince of the earth, let nothing in us rest
until we avenge ourselves for his death, stupid animals
that killed him, let us never breathe a pure breath if
we fail, and white men call us faggots till the end of
the earth.
Le Roi Jones (Imamu Amiri Baraka), April 1965
in "For Malcolm", p. 61, also in "Black Magic Poetry 1961-1967", Copyright 1969 by LeRoi Jones, Published by Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., and in "Afro-American Writing - An Anthology of Prose and Poetry" (ISBN 0-271-00374-x, 1986, 2nd edition), edited by Richard A. Long and Eugenia W. Collier  


For my paper
Two Roads To Freedom I collected many poems. I typed most of them into my computer, and since I haven't found enough time yet to put them all into html, here are some more poems in plain text format:
My Brother Malcolm (Christine C. Johnson)
Malcolm X (Gwendolyn Brooks)
They Feared That He Believed (Clarence Major)
The Cost (James Worley)
The Awakening (Keorapetse Kgositsile)
Harlem Gallery: From The Inside (Larry Neal)
The Insurgent (Mari Evans)
For Our American Cousins (Reginald Wilson)
My Ace Of Spade (Ted Joans)