Friday, May 19, 2006

Happy Birthday Malcolm Little

(99.9% of this is from a previous post dated: Thursday, May 19, 2005. I had only been on blogger for a month. There were no comments. *smile*)

"Look at yourselves. Some of you teenagers, students. How do you think I feel and I belong to a generation ahead of you - how do you think I feel to have to tell you, 'We, my generation, sat around like a knot on a wall while the whole world was fighting for its human rights - and you've got to be born into a society where you still have that same fight.' What did we do, who preceded you ? I'll tell you what we did. Nothing. And don't you make the same mistake we made...." (Malcolm X 1925-1965)

I wanted to dedicate my blog today to one of the greatest figures in American history. I was not always an admirer of Malcolm X. I was in elementary school when I first learned of him and the Nation Of Islam. I didn't like them. They seemed to be filled with hate and my young mind could not understand why? living in an all black and thouroughly colonized neighborhood (Southeast Washington, D.C.) I had not yet learned or experienced the cruelty of racism that my forefathers and foremothers knew so well. "Why did Malcolm hate so much," I would ask myself? Unfortunately, I don't remember any teachers who were willing or able to clarify his position in simple terms. My education about Malcolm X began to develop after I left the Navy in 1988. I passed by my hometown of Washington, DC headed up to New Haven, Connecticut. I didn't realize at the time that there was a new awakening concerning the legacy of Malcolm X and the smoke screen that the media had created was beginning to dissipate.
I first learned of my black heritage or my third eye was opened through a store clerk at a shop called, Third World in New Haven. The shop sold literature, buttons, incense and everything under the black Sun related to the African Diaspora. He told me things about black history and black people that I had never heard. His words would change my life forever. I purchased some things and left that shop a newborn. The music changed too. The youth were now chanting "Fight The Power" to the beat of Public Enemy while I proudly wore my new Black Medallion that I picked up from the shop in New Haven. This new serge of Black pride was, of course, offset by the rise of Crack cocaine.
Crack would eventually win the battle. Drug dealers became rich during those years (1989-present). This was especially true in the early 90's. The times were bitter sweet for me.I became a freshman in 1989 at an HBCU (Savannah State College), and the knowledge of my history began to sore! This instilled in me a great pride and I really felt on top of the world with this "new" found information. I also read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It was then that I found out the truth about who Malcolm really was. It inspired me. I was even more thrilled when Denzel Washington brought Malcolm to life on the big screen. Malcolm X was released in 1992 by Spike Lee. It prompted an entire generation (appropriately called the "X Generation") to learn more about the man we called Malcolm X. So, on his 81st birthday I would like to give honor to one of the human races most valiant soldiers.

In the words of Ossie Davis let us remember him for what he is, ".......a prince-our own black shining prince!-who didn't hesitate to die, because he loved us so. " Have a great weekend! Peace~


Anonymous said...

Good Morning Stephen! Malcolm X is a hero that has always facinated me. I have always loved learning information about him. I think that I am going to read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Now that I am done with school (for the summer at least)I will actually have time for some social reading, and I think that is a good place to start! Too bad his mission in life was cut SO short. Rest in Peace Malcolm, we have NOT FORGOTTEN all that you did!

Stephen, thanks again for the spot on another one of our great people of the past! Have a great weekend!

Stephen A. Bess said...

I remember when I first read that book. It really gives you a different perspective on life. It also shows Malcolm in the different phases of his life up to his untimely death. He was only 39. I can't imagine departing at this age, but so many have. Thanks as always and enjoy your weekend!

Dance_Soul said...

I have always admired this man. Thanks for stopping by my blog. You have been added to my daily views.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Thanks for coming by. I'll be looking for you in the near future.

Stephen A. Bess said...

racial realist-
Yes, that song always reminds me of Malcolm X. That scene was so intense in the movie and brought many to tears. I will have to make a strong effort to vist the Audubon Ballroom the next time I am in New York before they decide to get rid of it. He was a great man and one of my heroes. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Long live the spirit of no surrender, long live!!! Malcom X is one of those Comrades who were faced with "Submit or die" policies of his days. He would not submit, so he died. Malcom X "rebuked civilized servitude. He covered the blood of the dead.With the spear of unity in hand, he died"(Mzwakhe Mbulu, RSA poet). A friend once said we are here on assignment, once you complete yours you are out!! Brother Malcolm completed his assignment and he is out! He left a great legacy. The media potrayed him as angry or hateful because they wanted him alienated from his own people. Even, in this day and age, I can still echo Mzwakhe's words, when he said " Ajar, and Agape, are my lips, against unpleasant policies of this world. When justtice is conceived somewhere, elsewhere democracy never was" Tell me about democracy!!! I can't stand outside my flat because I will be loitering, you can't speak to your neighbhour because you will be soliciting. All this is democracy in the western world. Geez, I'd rather "live in the trees" freely, and in peace than to be chained in the land of my birth.

Malcolm X was brutally murdered by this our "Democratic" massive propaganda machinery, long before he was actually assasinated. He is a great man, So long Comrade Malcolm X.

Well, Stephen, you know, I get all bent out of shape about our ignorance as a people. We are a great people, we need to do a little more than pay lipservice to our "Trail-blazers" in the likes of Malcolm X.

Thank you again for bringing this issue to the fore!! For some of us the culloids become freshly cut wounds by mere mention of our great ancestors!!!

Have a great weekend, warm regards to the Mrs :)

Stephen A. Bess said...

Tryphina, you said:
"Well, Stephen, you know, I get all bent out of shape about our ignorance as a people. We are a great people, we need to do a little more than pay lipservice to our "Trail-blazers" in the likes of Malcolm X."

I agree. Leaders like Malcolm are sometimes forgotten or discredited because people tend to want to forget about the past. However there are individuals and groups that are full aware of what is going on here in America and the West as a whole. I just saw in the news that they are shooting immigrants at the border who try to enter this country. (
This is just one example of this society and what it will do to carry out the wishes of many of it's residence. Thank you. I love it when you get into your zone.

I will convey your warm regards to the Mrs. :)

Uaridi said...

Malcom X was a great leader and a catalyst for change. I wish there were more like him.

Stephen A. Bess said...

He really was a catalyst for change. He was definitely on his way to becoming global and larger the community that he resided in Queens, NY. Also, he saw the importance of unifying people in the black Diaspora and ultimately the human. It was a lofty, but worthwhile struggle.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Side note:

I'd like to thank all of you who commented. I know that this is a sort of heavy subject for a Friday afternoon. People (including myself) are usually thinking about happy hours and plans for the weekend. Unfortunately, while we are thinking of those moments of pleasure there are atrocities and injustices happening all over the world. So, we should always have in our thoughts Malcolm, Ghandi, Kwame, King, Robeson, Harriet Tubman and any other person that ever stood up for the rights of a people. God bless us all!

NML/Natalie said...

Great post Stephen. I read the book back in 92 also - it seems so long ago now. Thanks for this lovely post.Happy birthday Malcolm. Have a great weekend x

the prisoner's wife said...

great post. i'm so happy that brother Malcolm is being respected & studied again (by the masses). it is sad that sometimes people only see the NOI side of him, without seeing the more progressive side. i gave my beloved a copy of the autobiography & he REALLY enjoyed it. when i start teaching in this fall it will definitely be something i bring to my class.

Stunuh Jay said...

Your tenses threw me off! For a momment I thought he still lived, and then again, greatness reaches beyond the grave.
Have a lovely weekend :)

Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful said...

And here I was thinking I was the only one that recognized his Birthday....

I write it in my calendar every year.

Happy Birthday Brother Malcolm.

Unknown said...

I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X when I was just 10 years old.

He has been demonized by the press. Portrayed as an irrationally angry militant.

It was an age in which most American's didn't question the government. our leaders, or our sources of information (i.e. newspapers, television, prominent leaders).

At 10, that book caused me to question EVERYTHING, and to relentlessly seek the truth myself.

A photo of Malcolm sits on my desk at work. It has followed me wherever I've been and has been a catalyst for dialogue (and has made me "suspect" I am sure) during a long (former)career in corporate America.

Malcolm's impact changed my life forever.

Happy Birthday X

Rose said...

Thanks for sharing this post Stephen. I have learned much about Malcolm's since Spike's film. At first, I only knew what the media wanted us to know. Thanks for sharing. Happy Birthday X

Naro% said...

We travel in similar spaces...

Bougie Black Boy said...

great great great write-up. no comments last year?!? well look how many u got now! We love the Bess tidbits.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Yes, great autobiography! I'm glad that you stopped by and I hope that you had a great weekend!

Thanks! I agree. I don't think that X would want to be remembered for his part in the NOI. However, sometimes that's what we want to hear when we are angry at the system.

:) Thanks Stunuh! I hope that your weekend went well.

You know that we share brains. :)

Whoa! You read this book at 10! The thing that's trippin' me out is that you had his picture on your desk in corporate America. That's cool! X would be amused at the look on your co-worker's faces.

Sounds like we were i the same boat until we found out for ourselves. Thanks!

I checked out your spot. I'll definitely be back to visit.

Thanks! What a difference a year makes. :) I know that you can relate to that.

Black Men in Life Space: A Change for the Better

Photo Source: Showtime The late great Chicago soul singer, Sam Cooke sang and announced that "A Change is Gonna Come." On season f...