Malcolm X (293362)
Credit: Nayaba Arinde photo

Despite the current COVID-19 crisis and its social distancing protocol, the annual pilgrimage to Malcolm X’s and his wife Dr. Betty Shabazz’s resting place at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, N.Y. was conducted on the morning of May 19th, albeit modified. Sponsored by Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro American Unity (OAAU), along with the Sons of Africa, the yearly trip occurred on his 95th bornday––May 19––in commemoration of his legacy. This event was celebrated for the 55th time, along with several other local ones, where the main theme was Malcolm X’s continuing influence during the new millennium.

For this occasion, each year, a caravan of vehicles departs from Harlem’s State Office Building at 125th St. & Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. Ferncliff Cemetery would only permit 10 people to enter this Tuesday, so only those with significant history with this ceremony were selected.

The intimate ceremony was led by OAAU President James Small and SOA head Dr. Reggie Mabry.

The December 12th Movement provided their presence along 125th St., during the afternoon.

Later that evening a number of similar commemorations occurred on-line via Zoom/Facebook Live, including one by the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee.

Malcolm and Betty’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, started with “It’s for the purpose of future generations to benefit from his works and understand who we are,” before thanking her fellow presenters.

The author Bill Sales, noted: “It’s so important to give respects and honor to Malcolm and the best way to do that is to take the baton from him, run our leg, run our lap, and advance the struggle. I’m certain that in the end, without a doubt, we should be victorious.”

Dr. Zak Kondo mentioned that “One of the reasons we appreciate Malcolm X is because he showed us how to liberate our minds. Malcolm understood that our struggle wasn’t just confined to the U.S., it was always about African people against our European oppressor, and their system of capitalism.”

African scholar warrior Dr. Leonard Jeffries mentioned how “there were others who supported Malcolm on his great and mighty walk—Queen mother Dr. Betty Shabazz, the brothers and sisters—to restore our African dignity and our place in world history.”

D-12’s Viola Plummer described how “Malcolm made us with his oratory, yes, but his organizing, mobilizing, direction; the masses make revolution my comrades. We’ve got to make them conscious.”

Moderator Zayid Muhammad suggested utilizing hip hop to get the message to the youths.

Prof. Herb Boyd recalled seeing Malcolm X speak live in his native Detroit in 1965, prior to describing Malcolm as a “legitimate ambassador from Black America” upon his 1964 visit to Cairo.

Several other activist also shared their views regarding Malcolm X’s everlasting influence into the future, including revolutionary hip hop, education-wise, politically and socially. They also laid out how his social contributions have helped shape the world we see today.

Malcolm X: “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”