*Date: 21st of February 1965
*Place: Audubon Ballroom, New-York, USA
*Main Historic Figure: Malcolm X or Hadj Malik El Shabazz
The Late Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19,1925 in Omaha , Nebraska, his father , a Baptist Minister was an outspoken follower of Marcus Garvey , the Black Nationalist Leader in the 1920s who advocated a “ Back to Africa” movement for African Americans, and during Malcolm ‘s early years his family had to move several times because of the Ku Klux Klansmen ‘s continuing threats as a result of these threats , his home was burned in Michigan and when Malcolm was six years old , his father was murdered.
In the aftermath of this tragedy that occurred to her husband, his mother became mentally ill and remained in a mental institution for about 26 years, Malcolm was sent to a foster home and his sisters and brothers were divided among several families and Malcolm lived in various state institutions and boarding – houses, he dropped out of school at the age of 15.
Malcolm went on to live with his sister in Boston , while working as a shoeshine boy, soda jerk, busboy, waiter and railroad dining car waiter , at this very crucial point he began a sort of a criminal life that included gambling, selling drugs , burglary and hustling , in 1946 Malcolm was sentenced to ten years for burglary, and in prison he began to shape us his life, and though his family’s visits he came to know about the Black Muslim Religious Movement in fact the Black Muslims ‘official name was the lost –found nation of Islam, and the spiritual leader was Elijah Mohammed, with national headquarters in Chicago.
In prison Malcolm began to study Elijah’s teachings and to practice Islam faithfully on top of that he widely enlarged his vocabulary by copying words from the dictionary beginning with A and going through to Z, also he began to assimilate the racial teachings of his “new religion” that the white Man is evil doomed by Allah to destruction and that the best course for Black People is to separate themselves from Western white civilization in the cultural , political ,physical and psychological fields.
In 1952 Malcolm was released from prison and went to Chicago to meet Elijah Mohammed, once accepted in the movement and given the name of Malcolm X , he became assistant Minister of the Detroit Mosque , the following year he returned to Chicago to study personally under Elijah and shortly thereafter was sent to organize a Mosque in Philadelphia.
In 1954 Malcolm went to lead the Mosque in Harlem and quickly became the most prominent national Spokesman for the Black Muslims, he was widely sought as a Speaker, and his debating skills and talents against white and black opponents helped spread the movement’s message.
During this time in the United States there was a major thrust for racial integration, however Malcolm and the Black Muslims were calling for racial separation, he urged Black people to give up the Christian Religion, reject integration and to clearly understand that the high crime rate in Black communities was essentially due to the result of African Americans following the decadent life style of western white society.
On the 1st of December 1963, Malcolm stated that he saw President John F. Kennedy’s assassination as a case of “the chickens coming home to roost”, soon afterwards Elijah suspended Malcolm and ordered him not to speak for the movement for 90 days as a result of this row, Malcolm publicly announced on the 8th of March 1964 that he was leaving the Nation of Islam and starting two new organisations: the Muslim Mosque and the Organisation of Afro-American Unity.
Malcolm made several trips to Africa and Europe and mostly important was his trip to Makkah for Hajj in April 1964, it was the culminating point and the great Change that enormously affected him in a letter sent to his Assistants and his wife during the conclusion of his Pilgrimage to Makkah as reported by Alex Haley in the Autobiography of Malcolm X: “Never have I witnessed such sincere Hospitality and the overwhelming spirit of true Brotherhood as practiced by the People of all colours and races here in the Ancient Holy land, the Home of Abraham, Mohammed and all other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures, for the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by People of all colours”.
In the same letter he added: “There were tens of thousands of Pilgrims, from all over the world, there were of all colours, from blue eyed blonds to black skin Africans, but we were all participating in the same rituals, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experience in America had lead me to believe never could exist between the whit and non-white”.
And in astonishing Mind’s metamorphosis he declared: “America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one Religion that erases from its society the race problem, throughout my travels in the Muslim world I have met, talked to and even eaten with people who in America would have considered “White” but the “White” attitude was removed from their minds by the Religion of Islam, I have never before seen sincere and true Brotherhood practiced by all colours together, irrespective of their colour. You may be shocked by these words coming from me , but on this Pilgrimage what I have seen and experienced has forced me to re-arrange much of my thought patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions , this was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a Man who tries to face facts and to accept the reality of life as new experiences and new knowledge unfolds it I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth”.
Thus said in such perennial and heartfelt emotions this great Faith-founder and genuine truth- seeker, alas! The Man who once said: “I know that any moment of any day or any night, could bring me death, to speculate about dying does not disturb me as it might some people, and I never have felt that I would live to become an old man”.
At the age of 39, on a Sunday afternoon, February 21, 1965 as he began to address one such meeting, Malcolm was assassinated and therefore granted the higher status of a True Martyr for the cause of his faith.
Surely Malcolm was one of the most fiery and controversial people of the 20th century, born as a Christian and passed away as a Muslim, it is only a small and modest tribute to this Great Man through my historic diary and it is him who said about History: “History is a people’s memory and without a memory, man is demoted to the lower of animals”.
No wonder that he left a worldwide legacy and Malcolm’s influence on the political and social thought of African Americans as well as of Muslims throughout the Globe has been just enormous and the widespread literature about his struggle has Proliferated, the monumental film by Spike Lee based on his autobiography in 1992 and the ever growing number of internet sites about this “common heritage” are but another testimony to the greatness of this Man , true he has died but his spirit is still alive !!
For that, Hadj Malik El Shabazz certainly belongs to the higher class of Allah’s Servants who have attained the Best of both Worlds: “We gave him his reward in this world, and in the world to come he shall be among the Righteous”. Holy-Quran 29-27.