This post is a continuation of the post Malcolm X’s Letter From Mecca.
Spurred on by the revelation of Elijah Muhammad‘s infidelity & deception, Malcolm X broke from the Nation of Islam. He formed a new organization; The Muslim Mosque,Inc. and became a Sunni Muslim. Also,during this time he made the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This pilgrimage enlightened Malcolm & he returned to the United States a new man. Malcolm now free from the shackles of the NOI,became more of a Pan-Africanist. He formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), which was geared at fighting for the human rights of African Americans. He travelled to Africa regularly during the final year of his life,meeting with African leaders and giving speeches. He met with African Leaders in Egypt,Ghana and Algeria. In Nigeria he was given the Yoruba name ‘Omowale’, which meant ‘the son who has come home’.
Elijah Muhammad & the Nation of Islam (NOI) were not pleased with Malcolm. They accused Malcolm X of being a traitor and slandering Muhammad and the NOI. Malcolm began receiving death threats, his house was fire-bombed & assassination plots were uncovered. The FBI also had agents following & spying on Malcolm. They were aware that Malcolm was in danger, but they were willing to sit back & watch it all play out.
“I don’t worry I tell you, I am a man who believe I died 20 years ago and I live like a man who is dead already and I have no fear whatsoever of anybody or anything”
Malcolm knew his life was in danger, he almost seemed resigned to the fact he would be killed. He kept his speaking engagements even after his house was fire-bombed and threats were made on his life. He could have returned to Africa and taken up offers to serve in various African governments(Ghana, Egypt, and Algeria). Instead he remained in America and faced the impending threat head on. On the fateful day of February 26,1965 while speaking at the Audubon Ballroom, Malcolm X was shot & killed in front of his wife and kids.
“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.”
— February 19, 1965 (2 days before he was murdered)
The Nation of Islam (NOI) were always suspected of involvement in Malcolm’s death. At least two of the shooters were either present or past members of the NOI. Louis Farrakhan (@LouisFarrakhan) would admit years later that the NOI played a part in Malcolm’s death. One of Malcolm’s daughters (Qubilah Shabazz) would later be arrested for plotting to have Farrakhan killed.
“Was Malcolm your traitor or ours? And if we dealt with him like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours?” – Louis Farrakhan (1993)
“As I may have been complicit in words that I spoke leading up to February 21, I acknowledge that and regret that any word that I have said caused the loss of life of a human being.”
“We had the best organization the black man’s ever had—niggers ruined it!”
“I know that societies often have killed the people who have helped to change those societies. And if I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help to destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America — then, all of the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine”
Malcolm X was laid to rest on February 27, 1965. At the funeral, family friend Ossie Davis gave the eulogy. It was a beautiful eulogy and was nothing short of what Malcolm deserved. In the eulogy, Davis lionized Malcolm while smothering the negative perceptions of Malcolm that were held by many. He so eloquently highlighted the real Malcolm X & what he meant to Black People’s struggles, that you couldn’t help but feel moved after you read/heard the eulogy.
My hope is that after reading these two blog posts, you would have learned something new about this great man and that you will feel compelled to do some more reading on him & other great men like him.
PEACE BE WITH YOU…
MALCOLM X’s EULOGY
“Here – at this final hour, in this quiet place – Harlem has come to bid farewell to one of its brightest hopes -extinguished now, and gone from us forever. For Harlem is where he worked and where he struggled and fought – his home of homes, where his heart was, and where his people are – and it is, therefore, most fitting that we meet once again – in Harlem – to share these last moments with him. For Harlem has ever been gracious to those who have loved her, have fought her, and have defended her honor even to the death.
It is not in the memory of man that this beleaguered, unfortunate, but nonetheless proud community has found a braver, more gallant young champion than this Afro-American who lies before us – unconquered still. I say the word again, as he would want me to : Afro-American – Afro-American Malcolm, who was a master, was most meticulous in his use of words. Nobody knew better than he the power words have over minds of men. Malcolm had stopped being a ‘Negro’ years ago. It had become too small, too puny, too weak a word for him. Malcolm was bigger than that. Malcolm had become an Afro-American and he wanted – so desperately – that we, that all his people, would become Afro-Americans too.
There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain – and we will smile. Many will say turn away – away from this man, for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man – and we will smile. They will say that he is of hate – a fanatic, a racist – who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them : Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did you would know him. And if you knew him you would know why we must honor him.
Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood! This was his meaning to his people. And, in honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves. Last year, from Africa, he wrote these words to a friend: ‘My journey’, he says, ‘is almost ended, and I have a much broader scope than when I started out, which I believe will add new life and dimension to our struggle for freedom and honor and dignity in the States. I am writing these things so that you will know for a fact the tremendous sympathy and support we have among the African States for our Human Rights struggle. The main thing is that we keep a United Front wherein our most valuable time and energy will not be wasted fighting each other.’ However we may have differed with him – or with each other about him and his value as a man – let his going from us serve only to bring us together, now.
Consigning these mortal remains to earth, the common mother of all, secure in the knowledge that what we place in the ground is no more now a man – but a seed – which, after the winter of our discontent, will come forth again to meet us. And we will know him then for what he was and is – a Prince – our own black shining Prince! – who didn’t hesitate to die, because he loved us so.”