Professor David McBride
African American Studies 145
14 April 2013
The Emergence of Black Muslims in America
Black Muslim Activism is an aim to reclaim the world. It is an era for black religious leaders to get their voices heard and take action in order to see progression. Malcolm X also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was an appointed minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam. His charisma, drive and conviction attracted an astounding number of new members to his religious faith. As a strong nationalist, Malcolm was faced with extreme levels of racial tension but overcoming this challenge only made him more respectable throughout the Black Muslim community. The legacy of Malcolm X has moved through generations as the subject of numerous documentaries, books and movies; therefore indicating his overall contribution towards the Nation of Islam and the world today.
To support the topic of my research paper the first book I decided to use is called: “By Any Means Necessary” written by Herb Boyd, Ron Daniels, Maulana Karenga, and Haki R. Madhubuti. The book begins with a poem called “Malcolm” from the famous Sonia Sanchez. It describes what the outspoken civil rights leader represented to African Americans in the 1960s. Although his ideas sparked controversy and were troublesome even among the black community, Malcolm X attracted people like Sanchez because he embodied racial pride and challenged African Americans to confront their history (Boyd 11). Malcolm X’s honest style of speech, especially in terms of black heritage, soon became the characteristic of Sanchez’s own poetic style. “I am keeping the love of life alive, the love of language alive. I am keeping words that are spinning on my tongue and getting them transferred on paper. I'm keeping this great tradition of American poetry alive.” This quotation launches her experiences as an African American woman in Harlem, New York highly influenced her writing, which simultaneously were a means of self-analysis and an exploration of the community. Her writing became a platform to broadcast issues of race and gender relations, urging readers to make changes within their own communities. Sonia Sanchez’s writing raised self-awareness through her use of conversational, informal diction, and concise syntax. Writing became a tool of expression for Sanchez as she struggled with instability and the loss of a beloved grandmother and especially when she became more aware of the mistreatment of African Americans throughout her childhood. This particular book was adequate in addressing my topic because it related to the “Black Rage” article on E-reserve by Cornel West. In that article Malcolm discusses how he believed that if black people felt the love that motivated that rage, the love would produce a psychic conversion in black people; they would affirm themselves as human beings, no longer viewing their bodies, minds, and souls through white lenses, and believing they were capable of taking control of their own destinies (West 136). He claims black people will never value themselves as long as they subscribe to a standard of valuation that devalues them (West 137). I agree with Malcolm’s point of view because taking a stand in this world as a unified nation of color is the only way to truly overcome white supremacy. It all starts from within the individual and we have to fight for the equality we deserve in order to make a difference. Sonia Sanchez’s political activism remained at the core of her poetry, hoping to instill changes. In correlation to Malcolm X, they both pushed for social reform amongst the African American community. By enforcing black self-love and black self-determination they both used their words to sway the minds of African Americans.
The second book I used in regards to my research paper is called: “Malcolm X: As They Knew Him” written by David Gallen. Gallen provided a more personal focus on Malcolm X in comparison...
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