By A. Peter Bailey
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Brother Malcolm X, though not with us physically, is still strongly connected spiritually and psychologically, to serious black folks. As we celebrate on May 19th his 97th birthdate, we remember him having a blend of intelligence, vision, talent, self-confidence, persistence and boldness.
In a 1992 column celebrating his 67th birthday, I included the following: “He was a Master Teacher and determined Pan-Africanist who spoke with clarity, forcefulness and truthfulness about our past, our present and our future; He urged that we strive, not for integration, not for segregation, but for the kind of group power that would enable us to effectively compete, on every level, with other groups in this group-oriented country; He believed strongly in self-defense by which to curve the white supremacist-driven violence that killed and brutalized so many black people between 1955 and 1965, the years he was on the public scene;
He believed just as strongly in the need for us to develop independent political and collective economic power as instruments for group advancement and defense; He insisted that group cultural power was needed to combat the consistent propaganda barrage from films, television programs, magazines, newspapers, educational textbooks, etc. that supported the ‘divine right’ of people of European descent to control the world; He taught us that we are a world-class people who were/are involved in a struggle for human, not just civil, rights.” The guidance that he was giving us is just as pertinent today as it was 30 years ago.
Frederick Douglass has been quoted as saying about his colleague Martin R. Delany, “I thank God I was born a man. Martin thanks God he was born a black man.” Brother Malcolm and Brother Martin were both Pan-Africanist soul brothers.
The great journalist/historian, Lerone Bennett, Jr. once said that, “In my opinion, Malcolm had one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century.” Acclaimed film producer, Gordon Parks, has been quoted as saying that Brother Malcolm was “Brilliant, ambitious, honest. And he was fearless. He said what most of us black folks were afraid to say publicly.”
One of the most precious of all memories of Brother Malcolm was expressed by his oldest daughter, Dr. Attallah Shabazz in a 1992 speech at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. A packed audience, including myself, were very moved when she said, “You know him as Malcolm X. I know him as Malcolm Shabazz, my father, a man who enjoyed being around his daughters.” Say Amen somebody!