Harlem Protesters Say American Apparel Disrespected Malcolm X

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From the New York Times:

A group of Harlem protesters is calling for a boycott of the American Apparel outlet on West 125th Street in Harlem, asserting that the store failed to abide by a request made of Harlem merchants to close for three hours last Tuesday, in observance of Malcolm X’s May 19 birthday.

Malcolm X, the civil rights activist who was assassinated in Harlem in 1965, at age 39, would have turned 84 this month. In his memory, a group called the Malcolm X New Millennium Committee held a march and requested that businesses along 125th Street, Central Harlem’s main thoroughfare, close from 1 to 4 p.m.

“It’s really like a moment of silence,” said Omowale Clay, a member of the committee. The group makes a point of alerts businesses ahead of time, he said. “We hand-delivered the letter.”

The American Apparel store opened within the last year, and a spokeswoman for the clothing chain, Emily Nerad, said that the management of the store was not aware of the request. “We want to apologize for any offense taken by marchers who thought American Apparel was not in support of their rally for Malcolm X,” she wrote in an e-mail message. “Unfortunately, we did not receive advance notice about closing. Once the marchers reached our store in Harlem, the manager immediately closed the store.”

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