Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Brother Malcolm X

Every year during Black History Month, I was taught about the diluted and sanitized version of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His famous I Have A Dream speech was drilled into my head. I was taught that people should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. I was programmed to embrace the virtues of non-violent resistance. Conversely, Malcolm X's name was only mentioned in passing.

Finally, when I attended Howard University many moons ago, I saw a excellent documentary on the life of Malcolm X. Before seeing that film, I never heard a black man speak with such boldness. For the first time, I heard a brave black man say that we have a divine and legal right to defend ourselves from racist brutality and oppression. Instead of begging the white man to recognize our humanity, brother Malcolm X taught us to know ourselves and our history. He taught us to love our motherland. He taught us to love our black skin, wide noses and kinky hair.

Malcolm's words awakened my political and social consciousness. I started devouring books beginning with the Autobiography of Malcolm X and Malcolm X Speaks. He inspired me to become a student activist in college. My commitment to social justice continues today because of the spark that he ignited within me.

I cannot thank Brother Malcolm enough. Thank you for sacrificing your life for our freedom. Thank you for inspiring me to join the struggle for equality and justice. Happy Birthday Brother Malcolm X. May God forgive you for your sins and bless you with paradise.

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