Malcolm X’s legacy to the struggle for black equality in the USA went far beyond focusing on solely equality. Malcolm X hardly forgot the fact that he was the ‘servant’ and not the ‘master’ of the black nation’s aspirations and dreams. Malcolm X resisted the objective of integration and encouraged blacks to build their own society. ‘We can never win freedom and justice and equality until we do something for ourselves’.[i] He felt they should shield themselves against violence, ‘by any means necessary’. Malcolm X confronted the United States to protect its own hypothetical qualities. He held up a mirror for the country to scrutinize itself, now was the reflection showing too much for some white individuals in America?
Malcolm X still remains a powerful force and is marketed in countless business events and is fashionably labelled on clothing. His life and legacy can be seen via movies and documentaries, for example the famous film by Spike Lee. Malcolm X’s popularity can be seen through poems. ‘He was the sun that tagged the western sky and melted tiger- scholars while they searched for stripe.’[ii] Sonia Sanchez, a play writer wrote a poet in contribution to Malcolm’s assassination, and the above shows a line from her poem. Malcolm X advocated education, respect, freedom and equality. These things are natural to the structure of the elevated American Dream that at times seems indefinite.
The years between 1946- 1952 highlight Malcolm’s time in prison, which marked the beginning of astonishing alterations he experienced in exploring the truth regarding himself and his relation to firstly, black religion, secondly, unity and black freedom and lastly black consciousness. Malcolm infatuated a composed superiority; he fixed his prospect on the racial goals to be achieved and practised them with invariable passion. This distinct mindedness is particularly true of the period when, under the curse of Nation of Islam leader, Elijah Muhammad’s system of evil by colours, he beat the notion of black cultural inadequacy with excellent skill.
Malcolm X was arrested for armed robbery in 1946 and it’s in prison where he was drawn towards the Nation of Islam as it promoted a strong prominence on black pride. Malcolm became a national spokesman and under his leadership the number of members increased dramatically. Regardless of his highly recognised status in the Nation, he left. Malcolm, in his own words states, ‘I spoke less and less of religion. I taught social doctrine to Muslims and current events and politics...my faith had been shaken in a way that I can never fully describe. For I had discovered Muslims had been betrayed by Elijah Muhammad himself.’[iii]
Malcolm X reduced his ‘anti- white’ stand once he departed from the Nation of Islam."I must repeat that I am not a racist. I wish nothing but freedom, justice and equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people."[iv] This is evidence of Malcolm X’s political and racial philosophies becoming ethnically comprehensive. The core reason for this change in philosophy was, after his pilgrimage to Mecca, Malcolm x realised, universal Islam did not only include blacks, but whites too. During a press conference, Malcolm stated that, ‘my pilgrimage broadened my scope. It blessed me with a new insight,’ [v] showing, Malcolm returning with a diverse belief of race relations. ‘We don’t judge a man because of the colour of his skin. We don’t judge you because you’re white; because you’re black; because you’re brown. We judge you because of what you do and what you practice’[vi] Thus Malcolm supported a new organisation of Afro- American unity that would maintain enhanced race relations with the whites. As Malcolm moved out of the Nation of Islam he wilfully stimulated towards the Civil rights movement. He was independent and proposed to utilize a new flexible approach in regards to working with others, such as Martin Luther King in achieving the same aim. Malcolm...
Bibliography: ➢ Ali. N (2000) Quotations [Online]. Available: http://www.malcolm-x.org/quotes.htm. Last accessed 22 Jan 2012
➢ Cone. H. J (1992) Martin & Malcolm & America, A dream or a nightmare
➢ Francis. M (2010) Malcolm X’s Complex Legacy [Online]. Available: http://www.theroot.com/views/malcolm-xs-complex-legacy
➢ Patterson. C (1995) The Civil Rights Movement
[x] Alex Haley, The autobiography of Malcolm X, P501
[xi] David Patterson & Susan Willoughby, Civil Rights in the USA, 1863- 1980, P164.
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