Forty-seven years ago today, human rights activist Malcolm X, or as he renamed himself near the end of his life, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was assassinated at the age of 35 while addressing an audience at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan in 1965.
He was shot a total of 21 times by convicted gunmen and Nation of Islam members Talmadge Hayer, Norman Butler, and Thomas Johnson.
Malcolm X was radical in his views, as he believed early in his career that African Americans and whites should remain separate, that integration was not going to help blacks progress, and that violence should be met with violence.
But after he left the Nation of Islam in 1964, a year before his murder, he changed his message to include a fight for human rights and a coming together of races.
Though he was a stark contrast to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X was one of the most influential and powerful figures of his time. But despite his influence, his speeches and documents are not as numerous or well preserved as Dr. King, especially before 1963.
Earlier this month, a Brown University student, Malcolm Burnley, accidentally discovered a lost audiotape of one of Malcolm X’s speeches that he delivered at the school in 1961. In the speech, you can hear a charismatic Malcolm telling the crowd (of about 800 mostly white students) jokes while insisting that black people have to better themselves instead of waiting on others to do it for them.
“No, we’re not anti-white, but we don’t have time for the white man. The white man is on top already. The white man is the boss already. The white man has economic security already. He has first-class citizenship already. So, you’re wasting your time talking to the white man. We are working on our people.
“First things first, we look upon the so-called Negro man in America as a sick man. What do I mean sick? If a man has forgotten his name, he’s a sick man. They call that amnesia. And if you go to the so-called Negro here in America and ask him his name, he doesn’t know it. If a Chinese person came through that door and I ask him his name and he said his name was Patrick Murphy, you’d know he forgot his own name and has picked up an alias somewhere.
“…When a man doesn’t know himself, he doesn’t know what belongs to him. He could be the richest man on this earth, but by having lost his identity, he’ll walk around like a popper.”
Listen to a short clip of the speech above.
Source: The Phoenix