Today marks the 48th anniversary of the death of Malcolm X, one of the most misunderstood figures in America's political history. This is a speech he gave at Detroit's Ford Auditorium on February 14, the same night his New York home was bombed. Days later, on February 21, he was assassinated as soon as he stepped onto the podium at New York's Audubon Ballroom.
Often dismissed as the "violent" side of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X's fascinating story is one of transformation from thug to Black Muslim radical and, towards the end, true enlightenment that allowed him to value what others were doing without sacrificing his integrity or desire for Black self-respect.
"[Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.] knew how hard it was to do what they did, and they both respected each other," Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcolm X's daughter, told the Current in 2012. "In their younger years they were figuring out who they were in a racist society. They were only in their 20s when they began their work, and both were killed when they were 39. But at one point in their evolution they were able to meet one another and realized they shared the same goals: freedom, justice, liberty, equality."
Read Malcolm X's whole last speech here.
— Enrique Lopetegui
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