Revisiting the Legacy of Malcolm X

It has been 57 years since Malcolm X who later became Malick El-Shabbaz was assassinated. On February 21 1965, Malcolm was shot dead in the United States. He was a man who stood for the liberation of the Negro until his last breath. It is in this regard that we are reproducing an article below to revisit the life and legacy of a Realist who gave his life and soul to the course of his people.

Malcolm X is a deeply unappreciated figure; not just to Americans, but also to the world.

When I was growing up learning about the Civil Rights Movement in my English class, Martin Luther King was always viewed as the poster boy for the movement; I’m non-American so I grew up in a country where the Civil Rights Movement were taught a bare minimum, that MLK led this movement because of him and the success of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was widely credited to his effort.

I believed that for years, until I heard of Malcolm X the first time.

My initial impression of Malcolm X was that I saw him as a radicalised activist; just like the Black Panthers were. His views during his time in the Nation of Islam are universally acknowledged as polarizing and controversial, and because of this I saw his views as detrimental to African-Americans in general; that his views are what caused the movement that he preached to fail, and that his views are the reason why worldwide history school textbooks choose to neglect the influence he had over the Civil Rights Movement.

To me, he was a black terrorist.

But I was wrong. So wrong.

My views on Malcolm X changed when I found myself enamoured and in love with hip hop culture over three years ago; a culture that embraced Malcolm X as a hero. His name is frequently mentioned by many rappers that I’ve looked up to, especially rappers who themselves constantly speak on black struggle, racism and racial identity.

Contrary to my beliefs, I discovered through hip hop that many African-Americans of then and now, still adore and admire Malcolm X. Because of this, I made an entire effort to understand why. I wanted to understand why Malcolm meant so much to the people, despite his controversial views. And with the help of a few friends, I eventually did.

The reason why Malcolm X stands out to me as the single greatest African-American hero of the Civil Rights Movement was because short and simple; he was nothing but a realist.

What I mean by this is that rather than focusing and envisioning a perfect future, Malcolm understood the obstacles and challenges that black people were currently facing instead of putting his head into a fairy tale utopian world where everything is sunshine and rainbows; no. He refused to conform to that and like he said best at the same time MLK was advocating his ideas of the Civil Rights Movement;

“I don’t see any American dream, I see a nightmare.”

Malcolm understood the harsher reality of prejudice, hatred and struggle during his time, and let’s face it; even with the Civil Rights Act, what little things really have changed for since it was passed almost 60 years ago?

I consider Malcolm to forever be a hero to African-Americans because he understood everything his people were going through and he made it his entire goal and mission to preach to his people that regardless of what they believe in or what they do, they were equivalent to living like pilgrims in an unholy land. He was the first to see that and be truthful about it; because Malcolm understood damn well enough that sugarcoating the truth with fairy tales helps nothing now, and the future.

The sad part about him? Malcolm never got the credit he rightfully deserved in American history as he should be. As far as I’m even being told, American schools don’t even teach about him, and I see that as nothing but a cruel injustice to not only young African Americans in years to come, but Americans in general.

Despite this I’m not attempting to deny or demonize MLK’s work for the Civil Rights Movement; like Malcolm he is an important figure to the movement and his legacy will forever be written in history books. But for Malcolm, history books have yet to put him alongside MLK because why? American history doesn’t see him that way.

Or I dare even say it, Americans refuse to see the black rights movement from his side. Because to America, Malcolm X doesn’t fit the mould.

Violent, radical, insane, terrorist. That’s what America wants their people to see him as.

But to me he was a liberator, a freedom fighter, a realist, a warrior, a poet and a hero. One of my heroes.

That’s Malcolm X to me.

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.

Luke Miller Quora

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