2017-05-19 / Columnists

An Intern’s Take

By Ilyassha Shivers

I want to begin my article by asking a question, did you know Brother Malcolm?

Many people have said, “Yes he is the guy that taught hatred.”

Others will vehemently disagree and say, “No Malcolm taught black love and self-empowerment.”

In the words of Ozzie Davis, who gave Malcolm’s eulogy, “Malcolm was a prince,” and he was a symbol of manhood and strength for many. Malcolm wanted African Americans to practice self-independence.

Malcolm Little was born during a time when crosses were being burned and white hoods ruled the night. His life was far from perfect, but his evolution into manhood was impeccable. For many who may not know, Malcolm was initially a street hustler. It was while incarcerated that he was introduced to a different way of life. Malcolm X, as he became known, went on to become a minister in the Nation of Islam. He was given X, his last name because as slaves we were given the last name of whoever owned us. None of our last names are our own; if you trace it back you will find that it was our slave owner’s last name.

My wife wrote a poem titled, “Where Does Darkness Abide?” One of the places where unspeakable darkness resided is in the enslavement of Africans. It was a dark period in African history when millions of Africans were uprooted from their homelands and brought to the Americas to work as slaves. While enslaved they were not allowed to speak their languages nor to practice their traditional customs. Upon learning these truths Malcolm became a herald for black people. Armed with a different kind of philosophy Malcolm began to see the world differently.

Eventually, he would leave the Nation of Islam to start his own organization. Malcolm believed in self-determination. Malcolm was a proud man; he walked like a man, talked like a man and he challenged other men to follow in his footsteps. Like his famous counterpart, Martin Luther King Jr., Brother Malcolm knew his departure was drawing near, but even those foreboding feelings could not silence him. Brother Malcolm was murdered in front of his wife and children.

On May 19, we celebrate his birthday. His philosophy of freedom or death and by any means necessary is music to some ears and noise to others. What are your thoughts about Brother Malcolm X? Please share your thoughts at shiverswave@gmail.com. Keep reading The Wave.

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