Thursday, February 18, 2010

Malcolm X Remembered

In the mid-20th century, a number of charismatic figures were killed.

Nobody knows exactly why, and historians and conspiracy theorists are still arguing their points.

I was a young suburban mother in 1965 when Malcolm X was assassinated, but had heard him speaking on the popular late-night radio shows of the late 1950s and early 1960s and felt he was one of the most articulate figures of the times. He minced no words in spelling out the nation's racial issues, some of which persist to today.

The nuances of black power - separatism vs. integration - were played out in news headlines daily. I tried my best to understand how this nation-fracturing scenario would play out.

I read The Final Call, the Autobiography of Malcolm X and many other writings without gaining insight into this divide. Listeners to WBAI-FM can still hear arguments weekly on the issues.

People in Plainfield have continued to sort themselves out by the categories of that era and its most fervent spokesmen.

All I can do at this point is express my homage to Malcolm X as an evolving leader for exploration of this decades-old question, compounded by the unwilling blending of the races by those in power and the powerless.

For those who did not experience the contradictions of the times, click here for more information.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put Bernice. I had a professor in college who interviewed Malcolm X and was impressed with Malcolm X's command of historical events and debating skills.

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malcolm X should be remembered as much for his capacity to adjust his way of thinking as for the hard (and uncomfortable to whites) correctness of his views earlier in life. His conversion after making the Hajj displeased a lot of people, and possibly hastened his death, but he continued to speak truth to power until the day he was killed. I have few heroes. He is one.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Bernice. Many people forget the significance of Malcolm to the Civil Rights movement. They incorrectly categorize his relationship with Martin Luther King, Jr, failing to realize how smart and strategic they both were.

8:45 PM  

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