Malcolm X, one of the most important figures of the second half of the 21st century, brought a different perspective to Black America and the world. His perspective was different from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; it was different from many other civil rights activists, but he operated within the same pantheon as his counterparts.
Malcolm X spoke truth about what was taking place in urban ghettos. He brought attention to the plight of people of color in America and did so in a controversial manner.
On Friday, Roland Martin, host of “NewsOne Now,” spoke with comedian and Civil Rights activist Dick Gregory, writer, Peter Bailey, Howard University’s Dr. Greg Carr and photographer Earl Grant about the life and legacy of Malcolm X.
Bailey told Martin, Brother Malcolm was “truly a visionary leader. He understood the system.”
“When I refer to him, I call him a master teacher. There is no more an important member of the community than a master teacher,” said Bailey.
Dr. Greg Carr, Chair of Howard University Department of Afro American Studies, described Malcolm X as being “incredibly disciplined.”
Carr said Malcolm X was a scholar. “That is very important for young people to know today. People think you have to go to a university, you have to go to the right schools — no, no, no, no — you have to be able to read and write and Malcolm did that incessantly.”
Dr. Carr explained the Malcolm X had “unconditional love for his people.” He said the reason why Malcolm X “speaks to young people today is because of his fearlessness and willingness to tell the truth and deep love for his people really animates their spirits.”
Earl Grant, photographer of Malcolm, was at the Audubon Ballroom the fateful day El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was assassinated. He shared with Martin how Malcolm X was insistent that he leave the ball room to make a phone call prior to his speech.
“[Malcolm X] was getting me out of there, because ordinarily while he was speaking I’d be standing right in front of him down on the main floor. I would have had my back to the crowd when the shooting started.”
“He saw to it that I didn’t get killed that day,” said Grant.
Civil Rights activist, author and actor Dick Gregory shared an extremely interesting bit of information he learned about the assassination of Malcolm X saying he had a copy of Malcolm X’s autopsy and what studying it revealed about the shooting.
Gregory told Martin that the assassins “were on the floor shooting up. All of the bullets in Malcolm were going down. They gave them thugs blanks.”
“The C.I.A. had to admit it at some point. They rented the Audubon Ball Room two weeks before,” Gregory said.
He also stated that Malcolm X was “heavily influenced” by Pio Gama Pinto in Nairobi who Gregory claims was assassinated the same day Malcolm was killed.
According to Gregory, Malcolm X and Pio Gama Pinto planned to go before the United Nations and ask that charges be brought against the United States for its treatment of Blacks.
“Now who did that?” Gregory asked. “The more you look at it, the more you see things. The more you feel things.”
Watch a portion of “NewsOne Now’s” special commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X in the video clip above. How do you plan on remembering and or celebrating the legacy of Malcolm X?
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