The self-defined "Black Nationalist Freedom Fighter" Minister Malcolm X would have been 89 years old on May 19, 2014. While the American spin doctors have been largely successful in shaping a narrative of Dr. Martin Luther King into a two second sound bite of "I have a dream", they have been less victorious in painting Malcolm into the corner of "By any means necessary". The image makers of society are more than happy to dismiss Malcolm X and leave him in the dusk bin of history as irrelevant. These two iconic martyrs of the 1960’s era are still dangerous to the status-quo today in 2014, if properly researched and understood.
They both were real human beings, with strengths and shortcomings. They were not angelic figures without faults. They were sons, husbands, fathers etc. just like many of us. They both were apart of organizations, Martin (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), Malcolm (Nation of Islam, later Organization for Afro-American Unity & Muslim Mosque Inc.). These men didn’t not operate as lone superstars, rather were key figures in their respective organizations and a larger movement with many formations.
Minister Malcolm X stood at the crossroads in many ways for great contributing groups to the African/Black community in America and around the world. Looking backward and forward in his life we will find him intersecting and influencing formations including: Universal Negro Improvement Association, Nation of Islam, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Black Panther Party, Revolutionary Action Movement, Republic of New Africa, African Independence Movements/Countries, Civil Rights and Black Power formations of all stripes. His analysis and communication skills are worthy of our attention today.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley, his speeches "Message to the Grassroots" and "The Ballot or the Bullet" are good starting points for study. It is our responsibility to define for ourselves who and what is important in our history. Minister Malcolm X is very important, happy birthday ancestor!