This Sunday marks the 94th physical day anniversary of the renowned human rights activist, Malcolm X. He was named Malcolm Little after being birthed into this world on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. A number of local events have been scheduled to commemorate the occasion.
As his consciousness developed he took on various attributes to reflect that growth—from Malachi Shabazz, Malcolm X, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz and Omowale, just to name a few. He had lived in Lansing, Michigan; Boston and Harlem before leading the Nation of Islam’s Temple No. 7, located at 102 West 116th Street in Harlem, in 1954, after having spent seven years incarcerated in Massachusetts.
Throughout his brief period he consistently advocated for the masses of African-Americans to relearn their empowering culture and history so that they can be an upright people and be leaders within their own communities. He consistently made the distinction between “the house negro and the field negro,” or the bourgeois elitist and the grassroots community activist he was striving to stimulate.
“You don’t have a peaceful revolution, you don’t have a turn-the-other-cheek revolution. There’s no such thing as a nonviolent revolution,” Malcolm X assessed during his “Message to the Grassroots” dissertation, (Detroit 11.10.63). “Revolution is bloody, revolution is hostile, revolution knows no compromise, revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way.”
Incorporating the “do for self” doctrine advocated by his Garveyite parents, also advocated by the Nation of Islam, he relayed that same ideology to the audiences that gathered at his presentations. He also warned about the docile, subservient “slaves of a mental-death and power,” who would sabotage attempts towards freedom.
“The modern house negro loves his master, he wants to live near him, he’ll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about ‘I’m the only Negro out here. I’m the only one on my job, in this school.’”
He goes on to compare the field negros of that current time with those during physical slavery times. “If someone comes to you right now and says, ‘Let’s separate,’ you say the same thing that the house negro said on the plantation. ‘What you mean, separate? From America, this good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?’ I mean this is what you say. ‘I ain’t left nothing in Africa,’ That’s what you say. Why you left your mind in Africa!”
Sponsored by Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro-American Unity and the Sons of Africa, the 54th annual pilgrimage to Ferncliff cemetery where the bodies of Malcolm X and his wife Betty Shabazz are interred leaves from the northeast corner of 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. this Sunday at 10 a.m. Upon returning to Harlem a couple hours later, the December 12th Movement conducts its regular economic boycott of all businesses along 125th Street from 1 to 4 p.m. There will also be remembrances of Malcolm X taking place at Brooklyn’s Restoration Plaza (3-5 p.m., Sistas’ Place (456 Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn; call 718-398-1766), and The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center (3940 Broadway, Manhattan; call 212-568-1341) from 6-9 p.m.