To those of my generation, who weren’t alive during the time of El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, he stands as undeniably one of the greatest, strongest, and most exemplary representations of Black manhood that we have ever heard or read about. I think of Brother Malcolm when I look at some of our boys: pants hanging down, one foot in the streets, chests full of courage and conviction, navigating through communities and households short on guidance and right examples, being defiant toward entire social structures that capitalize off their brilliance but despise them for it, etc. He stood where they stand today, and look at how magnificent he became! I hope our boys grow into the man Malcolm became.
He was the first person I thought of when Barack Obama was elected president. I desperately wanted him to be here to see what his timeless, prophetic admonitions to an entire planet made possible. Regardless of who you are, talk to the young ones in your charge or in your vicinity about the contributions of Malcolm X, and his exalted position in the dichotomy of great Black leaders. Strike down as artificial any suggested divisions between he and Dr. King, for they were both necessary, and both played a critical role in reshaping the consciousness of a nation. It was their combined efforts–not to mention those of countless others–that led to the passage of legislation and perhaps a more concerted effort to allow African Americans to participate more in the American experiment.
Celebrate the life and legacy of Malcolm X today!