Wednesday, 22 May 2013 06:56
Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska, has been criticized by mainstream media and historians for his radical and violent rhetoric. Now, however, many scholars are revisiting Malcolm X's influence on the civil-rights struggles and concluding that his presence gave political leverage to the non-violent movement led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I always looked at Malcolm as advocating an 'eye-for-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth'," said James E. Newton, chair of the African-American history department at the University of Delaware.
In 1946, Malcolm X went to prison for burglary and served seven years of a 10-year sentence. It was during his time in prison that he joined the Nation of Islam (NOI) and upon release became the NOI's chief spokesperson. The NOI members were fervent advocates of a separate nation for blacks and whites, while advocating self-reliance for African Americans. Malcolm X later broke from the NOI and denounced its separatist philosophy after his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964, where he witnessed for the first time, multiracial Muslim brotherhood.
Although Malcolm X denounced the separatist philosophy of the NOI, he always maintained the option of using violence in seeking justice for African Americans.
In a speech at Michigan State University in 1963, he gave the audience a history lesson in revolutionary thinking. "If Patrick Henry and all of the Founding Fathers of this country were willing to lay down their lives to get what you are enjoying today, then it's time for you to realize that a large, ever-increasing number of black people in this country are willing to die for what we know is due us by birth."
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 07:00
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