Kalamu ya Salaam's information blog

Linda was crying.

My hands shook as I tore the paper scrolling from the teletype machine. Preparing for my weekly radio program. I too was having trouble seeing straight.

We were only thirteen Black students out of roughly 1200 at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Sunday, February 21, 1965.

Such moments are so momentous that you can never forget them. No matter what occurs over the intervening decades. No mater how many milestones you approach and pass. Leave behind. There are some moments one can not forget. Never. Ever. Forget.

I will forever remember. Well over fifty years later. Long, long after specifics have faded, I still get emotionally shook.

Malcolm X was assassinated. Amid the clatter of the machine printing the news, the near silent, but nevertheless thunderous, crying of my classmate. I don’t remember any other specifics. Malcolm was dead.

Over a half century later, at odd moments, I experience something: could be a street sign passed on the boulevard, could be a sweatshirt someone is wearing, could be a television commercial on an unwatched show blaring in the background, suddenly that fate-filled Sunday is resurrected.

Sometimes, regardless of where I am or whom I’m with–I momentarily bow my head, look away. Malcolm is dead.

I know, everybody doesn’t feel this way. For some people it’s the moment they find out their mother died, or a spouse leaves home, or the bright joy of a graduation, moments that one never forgets. For me it was Malcolm.

Mere days after his killing, I saw a photo. His body on a gurney. His mouth hanging agape. Malcolm. Dead.

The sixties were tumultuous. The Viet Nam war. And all the assassinations. JFK-Nov. 1963; Malcolm-Feb. 1965; King-April 1968; Bobby Kennedy-Jun. 1968. A decade of death.

We soldiered on pass those ominous markers forewarning us concerning the killings to come. Regardless of the terrible trials endured in those days when so many of us died, some of us let nothing deter us in our forward march toward justice.

I know in this new millennium, the majority of people who read this were not even alive when Malcolm died, but I also know that so many of us worldwide have been touched by the spirit of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz: Malcolm X.

For example, even right-wing politicians repeat the phrase “by any means necessary”, seemingly without any awareness that the saying was popularized by brother Malcolm.

His death is shrouded in so many questions. Who ordered the dastardly deed done? Why did Black men pull the trigger? Books have been written. Movies made. Videos circulated online. Yet we may never know the whole truth.

Here are two short clips of Malcom speaking in the months immediately preceding his assassination.

It is significant that the father of daughters was a staunch defender of Black women. The split with Mr. Muhammad was both painful and permanent. Malcolm supported the statements of at least five women with whom Mr. Muhammad fathered children. Long, long before the “me too” movement was publicly expressed regarding the dynamics of powerful men exploiting women, Malcolm stood against gender exploitation. His stance is critical to fully understanding Malcolm as a genuine, upright man of moral principle. 

Never forget.




One Comment

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  1. Njr. #
    November 18, 2021

    Great commentary by Minister El Hajj Malik El Shabazz( Malcom X). May Allah’ peace and mercy forever be upon him. His message is profound, in that it resonates in today’s times as it did some 50 or more years ago.

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