A screening of three documentaries about Minister Malcolm X was followed up by a panel discussion at Harlem’s Maysles Cinema last Thursday evening on the 86th anniversary of his physical birth.

Panelists from various generations discussed the impact the freedom fighter’s legacy made on their lives.

Moderator Dr. Shaka Zulu of the Universal Zulu Nation told the audience how reading Malcolm’s autobiography led him on a righteous path as a youth. “He’s one who came from the people, for the people.”

Cleo Silvers of the Black Panther Party explained how her organization came about as a direct result of Malcolm X after his execution. Silvers then spoke about experiencing the revolutionary when he would regularly visit her parents’ Philadelphia home when she was a child: “It helped me decide that the work I was going to do was going to be directly connected to changing the economic and political conditions of my people in this community.”

Award-winning journalist Herb Boyd detailed how he initially met Malcolm X while still in his native Detroit in 1958 and how Malcolm X inspired him to migrate to New York. “[He] set me on the path to become the writer-activist I am, to try to live up to the very ennobling things that he represented.”

Hip-hop activist Immortal Technique explained how he was introduced to Malcolm X. “After reading his autobiography, I was intrigued that somebody else had taken the same path, because when you’re young, you think that you’re the only one on it.”

Shaka Shakur of the United Muslim Alliance reflected, “As a youth, I was impressed that there existed someone who stood up for Black people uncompromisingly, and not only told the truth about what we needed to do for ourselves, but about what happened to us, how we got here and about the people who did it [to us]. Everywhere he went, he stayed in the community that looked like him. He was the spokesperson for downtrodden individuals.”

Rumors of reopening Malcolm’s case abound, as Boyd questioned the motives and preciseness of a recent book which attempts to slander the Black nationalists’ impeccable reputation: “There are 25 errors in Marable’s book that a good fact-checker should’ve caught. There are two pending law- suits.”

For more info about reopening the case, visit www.petitions24.com/signatures/reopen_malcolm_x_case.