46 Years After His Murder, Malcolm X Deserves More Respect

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From Black America Web:

In February 1965, there was no Black History Month – only Negro History Week, the second week of the second month, thereby predating what would later become the bitter irony of Malcolm X’s assassination in February, of all months.

I was not quite 12 years old when three men stepped out of the crowd at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21 and shot the man at center stage 16 times, beginning with a sawed-off shotgun blast to the chest. Even in the risky, unraveling 1960s – even after the innocence-shattering horror of JFK’s assassination – the murder of Malcolm X was an unspeakable act of terror.

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The black community was stunned and hurt. Malcolm had not been everyone’s cup of tea, not by a long shot. At a time when many black folks found the peace-loving Martin Luther King, Jr. too radical for their taste, Malcolm was a hell-raising, troublemaker who only inspired white folks to a greater meanness and, therefore, someone they wished would go away. But not like this. Even the cowed were infuriated by the atrocity in Harlem that late winter day.

The day after Malcolm was slain, the New York Times – then, like now, considered not only the newspaper of record but an enlightened one – published a troublesome editorial.

“Malcolm X had the ingredients for leadership,” they opined, “but his ruthless and fanatical belief in violence not only set him apart from the responsible leaders of the civil rights movement and the overwhelming majority of Negroes. It also marked him for notoriety, and for a violent end.”

In short, he asked for it.

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