Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Kendrick:Highlights Malcolm X for Black History Month

Kendrick: After a rough start (father killed, mother in a hospital, himself busted for selling drugs), Malcolm X had something we seem to forget about now days when we just want to lock every 1 away with that 3 strikes your out 'rule:' he actually improved himself while in prison.
He met Elijah Muhammad there and this was the birth of Malcolm X as we know him today.
Paroled in 1952, he became an orator, a leader and an all together controversial person.
Ward Churchill's in hot water with some for his current statements, but Malcolm X was the 1 to use the 'the chickens come home to roost' analogy and apply it to the death of jfk.

This led Elijah Muhammad to ban Malcolm from the Nation of Islam which didn't stop Malcolm because he just decided to start up his own organizations - the Muslim Mosque Incorporated and the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

He was speaking when he was shot down, speaking in public, on February 21, 1965. Monday was the fortieth anniversary of his death. I'd been telling myself, as I read people noting there picks, 'Kendrick, you need to write something on Malcolm X.'

I know a lot about Brother Malcolm. I've read his autobiography (written by Alex Hailey of Roots fame). I've read some of his speeches and heard a number of them. I've seen some documentaries of his life and saw Spike Lee's brilliant movie Malcolm X.

He's worthy of highlighting and I know a bit about him so it shouldn't be too hard. But I kept putting it off and putting off. My baby had a birthday 2 weekends ago and that was a excuse then. And a lot of drivers have been quitting at work so I'm pretty busy so there was another excuse.

But somewhere during all those excuses, some one was watching out for me. Because Monday I saw the link for Democracy Now and I got on to listen because I can never get a picture with that on my computer. So I'm listening to Amy Goodman go through the headlines and thinking it's great there's one person who knows about the news and how I should make a point to listen more. I always say I will but I usually get lucky if I have the time to hear it 1 time a week. And she's already said that the episode will be about Malcolm so I've turned off the cell phone and am just surfing around while they play a [John] Coltrane song (I think it was him) and then she plays a speech I know pretty well.

Malcolm X is talking about how the colonists had to use violence to break away from the British Empire. And then she brings out the guest, a guy named Professor Manning Marable. I don't know this cat but he's spent at least 10 years researching Malcolm for a book that he's still working on so I'm expecting that he might have a good story or too.

Then he starts speaking and I'm floored. And I'm thinking, 'Kendrick, good thing you didn't write that thing on Malcolm X already.' Because there's apparently a whole lot we do not know.

For instance, there are three chapters missing from The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Professor Marable's seen them. And with that and all of his other research, I think Professor Marable will really increase, if not change, our understanding of Malcolm X when his book comes out in a few years.

At the end of the show, Professor Manning spoke about how it was time to demand that the government release all their evidence so we can find out what really was happening when Malcolm X was shot down. I'm looking forward to it because the things he spoke about that were left out of the book really seem obvious now because it is as though a whole piece of his later life just vanished.

So we don't know everything about Malcolm. But we do know he's someone who made an impact and someone worth highlighting.