“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
Today marks 51 years since Malcolm X was assassinated (age 39) by three Nation of Islam members. His rise from troubled teen and convict to formidable civil rights leader is an admirable one, to put it simply. His autobiography is considered one of the best books of the 20th century, and one I would certainly recommend that everyone read. You won’t hear many people revering Malcolm X in history classes or lunchroom discussions – if you hear them talk about him at all. This doesn’t diminish his passion or genius, and it’s only fitting to celebrate his efforts on the anniversary of his death.
Malcolm X is typically portrayed in the media as a sort of anti-MLK, Jr. Everything we imagine Dr. King to be – nonviolent, unifying and peaceful – is supposedly the opposite of Malcolm X, which explains the scarcity of his representation in mainstream civil rights narratives. His sometimes brash and direct rhetoric alienated many who felt his approach was violent and antagonistic. This iconic photo of him standing guard at his house along with his famous slogan “by any means necessary” caused unrest everywhere, even today. However, he was one of the great thinkers of our time, not just for civil rights and race relations but for life in general. One of my favorite quotes that has motivated me the past few years is one of his:
“Early in life I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise.”
While you may not agree with everything Malcolm X said, or his methods, it goes without saying that his philosophies are still true and important in our society. His work for Black Americans should be celebrated. I put together a few quotes as well as video clips of his speeches and interviews so you can hear some of his ideas yourself and his progression in thought. If you’d like to hear more, subscribe to the Malcolm X Network on YouTube.
Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.
Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.
My Alma mater was books, a good library… I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.
To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace.
Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.