Category Archives: Pan Africanism | Afrocentrism | Africana Studies

The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley (audiobook)

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965)

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
(May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965)

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother, Louise Norton Little, was a homemaker occupied with the family’s eight children. His father, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Earl’s civil rights activism prompted death threats from the white supremacist organization Black Legion, forcing the family to relocate twice before Malcolm’s fourth birthday.

Malcolm’s siblings: (in order of birth) Ella, Earl and Mary (half-siblings from Earl’s previous marriage); Wilfred, Hilda, Philbert, Reginald and Yvonne.

Rev. Little was found dead in 1931 after being beaten and left on the train tracks, where he was run over by a streetcar. Malcolm was 6 at the time. No one was ever convicted of the crime but his death is widely attributed to the Black Legion. Malcolm’s mother spent the next 26 years in a Kalamazoo mental institution because of the uncertainty and paranoia around her husband’s murder, as well as the stress from her failure to provide for her 6 children at the height of the Great Depression.

Malcolm X was with the Nation of Islam during the 1950s and ’60s, where he worked under NOI leader, Elijah Muhammad expanding the group’s membership among black Americans nationwide. Due largely to his efforts, the NOI grew from 400 members at the time he was released from prison in 1952 to 40,000 members by 1960.

Malcolm X became the minister of Temple No. 7 in Harlem and Temple No. 11 in Boston, while also founding temples in Hartford and Philadelphia. In 1960, he established the national newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, in order to further promote the message of the NOI.

In 1963, Malcolm X became disillusioned when he learned that Muhammad had violated his own teachings by carrying on many extramarital affairs. Malcolm’s feelings of betrayal, combined with Muhammad’s anger over Malcolm’s comments regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, led Malcolm leaving the NOI in 1964.

That same year, Malcolm X went on a trip through North Africa and the Middle East. The trip was a turning point in his life. He learned to place the American Civil Rights Movement within the context of a global anti-colonial struggle, embracing socialism and Pan-Africanism. Malcolm X also made the Hajj, the traditional Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, during which he converted to traditional Islam and changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.

Malcolm X announced the establishment of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) at a the Audubon Ballroom on June 28, 1964. He had written the group’s charter with John Henrik Clarke, Albert Cleage, Jesse Gray, and Gloria Richardson, among others.

Malcolm X, along with Clarke, wrote the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) Basic Unity Program:

  • Restoration: “In order to release ourselves from the oppression of our enslavers then, it is absolutely necessary for the Afro-American to restore communication with Africa.”
  • Reorientation: “We can learn much about Africa by reading informative books.”
  • Education: “The Organization of Afro-American Unity will devise original educational methods and procedures which will liberate the minds of our children. We will … encourage qualified Afro-Americans to write and publish the textbooks needed to liberate our minds … educating them [our children] at home.”
  • Economic Security: “After the Emancipation Proclamation … it was realized that the Afro-American constituted the largest homogeneous ethnic group with a common origin and common group experience in the United States and, if allowed to exercise economic or political freedom, would in a short period of time own this country. We must establish a technician bank. We must do this so that the newly independent nations of Africa can turn to us who are their brothers for the technicians they will need now and in the future.”
Taken February 21, 1965, the day Malcolm X was assassinated.

Taken February 21, 1965, the day Malcolm X was assassinated.

At a speaking engagement in the Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965 three gunmen rushed Malcolm onstage. They shot him 15 times at close range. The 39-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

Fifteen hundred people attended Malcolm’s funeral in Harlem on February 27, 1965 at the Faith Temple Church of God in Christ (now Child’s Memorial Temple Church of God in Christ). After the ceremony, friends took the shovels away from the waiting gravediggers and buried Malcolm themselves.

Later that year, Betty gave birth to their twin daughters Malikah & Malaak.

Malcolm’s murderers, Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler (Muhammad Abdul Aziz) and Thomas 15X Johnson (Khalil Islam) were convicted of first-degree murder in March 1966. The three men were all members of the Nation of Islam.  Aziz was paroled in 1985; Islam was freed in 1987. Hayer (the only murderer that confessed), now known as Thomas Hagan, was freed in 2010. 

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X was published in 1965, the result of a collaboration between human rights activist Malcolm X and journalist Alex Haley.  Haley coauthored the autobiography based on a series of in-depth interviews he conducted between 1963 and Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination. The Autobiography is a spiritual conversion narrative that outlines Malcolm X’s philosophy of black pride, black nationalism and Pan-Africanism. After the death of his subject Haley authored the book’s epilogue, which describes their collaboration and summarizes the end of Malcolm X’s life.

While Malcolm X and scholars contemporary to the book’s publication regarded Haley as the book’s ghostwriter, modern scholars tend to regard him as an essential collaborator who intentionally muted his authorial voice to allow readers to feel as though Malcolm X were speaking directly to them. Haley also influenced some of Malcolm X’s literary choices; for example, when Malcolm X left the Nation Of Islam during the composition of the book, Haley persuaded him to favor a style of “suspense and drama” rather than rewriting earlier chapters into a polemic against the Nation. Furthermore, Haley’s proactive censorship of the manuscript’s antisemitic material significantly influenced the ideological tone of the Autobiography, increasing its commercial success and popularity although distorting Malcolm X’s public persona.”
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CHURCH & COMMUNITY TRIBUTE BENEFIT for Efia Nwangaza, The Malcolm X Center for Self Determination & WMXP Community Radio

Efia Nwangaza

Greenville’s black leadership is calling on local churches and civic organizations to rally in tribute and aid of human rights organizer Efia Nwangaza, the Malcolm X Center and WMXP/95.5fm Community Radio which were founded by Nwangaza. The Church and Community Benefit will be held on Sunday, September 16th, 5:00pm, at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 400 South Hudson Street in Greenville, South Carolina. The Tribute will feature gospel music, praise dance, acknowledgment of her community service and a “Giving March of Presentations.”

For over 20 years, The Malcolm X Center for Self Determination (http://wmxp955.webs.com/aboutus.htm ), also known as the Afrikan Amerikan Institute, has served as a volunteer grassroots, community based, volunteer staffed, owned and operated action center. Founded in 1991, it serves as a non-profit, public space for developing, testing, training and implementation of approaches to popular education, strategic planning, and communications skill enhancement for human rights, self-determination, self-advocacy and wide ranging performing and organizing skill development. The bookstore, reading room and multimedia action center serves as a community based think tank  to insure broad based community analysis.

The Malcolm X Center & Bookstore

WMXP-LP 95.5 FM – The Voice of the People (http://wmxp955.webs.com/) is a community based, volunteer programmed, listener and local business supported non-commercial educational radio station. It’s mission is to give voice to the voiceless with local music, local talk, local news, local people doing local programming.

The Greenville Leadership Breakfast Group, which is sponsoring the fundraiser, is a broad based coalition of religious and civic organizations. It includes elected, appointed, and volunteer leaders— professional and grassroots of all ages— who meet monthly to address issues that effect the African American community. It’s work has ranged from challenging the disproportionate expulsion of Black students to challenging recent redistricting.

Donations may be made directly and securely online at www.wmxp955.com or by mail at P.O. Box 16102, Greenville, SC 29607. All proceeds are used for community services and programming. WMXP is FCC licensed to and a project of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement for Self Determination, housed at the Malcolm X Center, 321 W. Antrim Dr, Greenville, SC 29607.

CONTACT: : Brenda Murray, Coordinator bmurray@divaex.com, Leola Robinson Simpson ~ robinsimp@charter.net, Rev. Oliver T. Hill,DD~ Othill2009@gmail.com, Efia Nwangaza 864-239-0470~ enwmxp@gmail.com Continue reading

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Immigration Nation? Raids, Detentions and Deportations in Post-9/11 America | Tanya Golash-Boza

Lecture and Book Signing ~ Wednesday, March 14— USC Moore School of Business | BA 002, 6:00pm

Tanya Golash-Boza

Dr. Tanya Golash-Boza has a joint appointment in Sociology and American Studies at the University of Kansas.  She is the author of three books as well as dozens of peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and essays in online and print magazines addressing issues blackness in Peru, Latino/a identity in the U.S., and the human rights impact of U.S. immigration policies.  Her scholarship recently earned the Distinguished Early Career Award of the Racial and Ethnic Minorities Studies Section of the American Sociological Association.  Her books will be available for purchase at the University Bookstore at the Russell House and a book signing and reception will be held after the lecture.  This event is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored with the Latin American Studies Program, the Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies, the Department of Sociology and the Hispanic Literatures and Cultures Lecture Series.

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Malcolm X | The House Negro vs. The Field Negro

SPEECH TO SNCC WORKERS, SELMA, ALABAMA

FEB.4,1965

To understand this, you have to go back to what [the] young brother here referred to as the house Negro and the field Negro — back during slavery. There was two kinds of slaves. There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes – they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master’s house quicker than the master would. The house Negro, if the master said, “We got a good house here,” the house Negro would say, “Yeah, we got a good house here.” Whenever the master said “we,” he said “we.” That’s how you can tell a house Negro.

If the master’s house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?” We sick! He identified himself with his master more than his master identified with himself. And if you came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s run away, let’s escape, let’s separate,” the house Negro would look at you and say, “Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?” That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a “house nigger.” And that’s what we call him today, because we’ve still got some house niggers running around here.

Malcolm speaks

This modern house Negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He’ll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about “I’m the only Negro out here.” “I’m the only one on my job.” “I’m the only one in this school.” You’re nothing but a house Negro. And if someone comes to you right now and says, “Let’s separate,” you say the same thing that the house Negro said on the plantation. “What you mean, separate? From America? This good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?” I mean, this is what you say. “I ain’t left nothing in Africa,” that’s what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa.

On that same plantation, there was the field Negro. The field Negro — those were the masses. There were always more Negroes in the field than there was Negroes in the house. The Negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers. In the house they ate high up on the hog. The Negro in the field didn’t get nothing but what was left of the insides of the hog. They call ‘em “chitt’lin’” nowadays. In those days they called them what they were: guts. That’s what you were — a gut-eater. And some of you all still gut-eaters. Continue reading

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Unconditional, unrequited love? | By Kevin Alexander Gray

(Note: edited version, “Obama and Black America: Who Has Whose Back?”’ published in August 2011 edition of The Progressive | updated data –WashPost/ABC News Poll: Big Drop In Black Support For President Obama )

“I’ve said to you on many occasions that each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality. We’re split up and divided against ourselves. And there is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives. There is a recalcitrant South of our soul revolting against the North of our soul.”

—Martin Luther King, “Loving Your Enemies,” November 17, 1957

I ran into Congressman Jim Clyburn at Brookland Baptist Church, here in Columbia, during the 2010 midterm election season while campaigning with South Carolina Green Party senate candidate Tom Clements. As we all exchanged pleasantries, I jokingly mentioned to Jim that I had gotten his campaign mail with the picture of him and President Barack Obama on it. He seemed genuinely pleased, so much so that he walked me over to check out the special poster he had at his campaign material table. The poster was also of Clyburn with the commander-in-chief. Clyburn appears to be making a point in the President’s ear. Obama looks and leans as though he’s listening. The U.S. flag is in the background. At the bottom of the poster read the caption: “JIM HAS THE PRESIDENT’S EAR, AND WE MUST HAVE THEIR BACKS!!!”

Clyburn didn’t really need Obama’s help in getting reelected in his safe district, which is 57 percent African American. And he’s never had any serious opposition to his seat. But it would have taken some help from Obama for him to keep his spot as the second-ranking Democrat in the House after the drubbing their party took in the midterm elections. That help was not forthcoming. When the dust settled, Clyburn wasn’t even offered the minority whip job, which went to Steny Hoyer of Maryland. Clyburn was given the new title of assistant Democratic leader. Clyburn has fewer staff than before, he is no longer involved in vote-counting, nor is he a key party messenger. Clyburn’s demotion has not sat well with the Congressional Black Caucus, which he used to chair. But it typifies Obama’s indifference to African Americans across the board.

Last December, when he was polling in the mid-nineties among blacks, during a White House press conference a black reporter asked Obama about grumblings among the black leadership. He replied: “I think if you look at the polling, in terms of the attitudes of the African-American community, there’s overwhelming support for what we’ve tried to do.”

Yet even as he boasted, that same month the black unemployment rose from 15.7 percent to 16 percent, almost double the Dec. 9% national rate (Aug 2011- 9.1%). Black male unemployment rose from 16.3 percent to 16.7 percent as 1.3 million black men were out of work. For black women it jumped from 12.7 percent to 13.1, or roughly 1.2 million unemployed black women. And the unemployment rate for black teens stood at a staggering 46.5 percent (by contrast, the rate for white teenagers was 23.6 percent).

When Obama entered office, the black unemployment rate was 12.6 percent. But rising unemployment still didn’t dampen black optimism going into his second year. According to a Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University poll conducted Jan. 27-Feb. 9 of this year, 85 percent of blacks said they were optimistic about the future course of the economy while 72 percent of white held that view. Eighty-four percent of blacks felt hopeful about their personal financial situation, compared with 73 percent of whites.

Obama and Black AmericaObama is right that the African American community gives him overwhelming support, but it’s not as overwhelming as it used to be. In the most recent polls blacks see “the economy” or unemployment as the nation’s top problem with one in seven or 2.9 million African Americans out of work — the highest number in nearly a quarter century. And some economists argue that 16%+ rate isn’t the “real” or accurate rate. They say that if one takes into account those people who want work and cannot get it and have stopped looking, those not counted such as the 900,000 incarcerated black men and women, and those recently released from the military– the “real” underemployment rate may be 25% or higher.

Back in 2008, nearly all (95 percent) black voters cast their ballot for Obama. Presently, they give him approval ratings just above 80 percent although there are polls with higher numbers.

Blacks still seem to have Obama’s back, but does he have theirs? Continue reading

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The Sunday Show with Philip Maldari | KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley

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Kevin Alexander Gray joins Philip Maldari on Sunday July 3 @12 noon to 1:00pm (Eastern) 9:00 to 10:00am (Pacific) to talk about Independence Day

On July 2, 1776, the “anti-slavery clause” was removed from the Declaration of Independence at the insistence of Edward Rutledge, delegate from South Carolina. Rutledge threatened that South Carolina would fight for King George against her sister colonies. He asserted that he had “the ardent support of proslavery elements in North Carolina and Georgia as well as of certain northern merchants reluctant to condemn a shipping trade largely in their own bloodstained hands.” Fearful of postponing the American Revolution, opponents of slavery, who were in the clear majority, made a “compromise.” Thus, July 4, 1776, marks for African Americans not Independence Day but the moment when their ancestors’ enslavement became fixed by law as well as custom in the new nation.

If only anti-slavery foes had said “no compromise!” to South Carolina and rejected slavery and white privilege, the United States would have begun as a principled nation instead of a hypocritical one..,” Kevin Alexander Gray.

(From “Dispatches From South Carolina: Same as it ever was” | Published May 2, 2000.)

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin Reading Marathon

The Uncle Tom’s Cabin  reading marathon will be held on April 12 beginning at 8:00 am at the The Modjeska Monteith Simkins House at 2025 Marion Street in Columbia and will run until the entire novel has been read.
 
The event is being held on April 12th  in response to the many Civil War “commemorations” going on across the South and nation this year. April 12th is  the 150th anniversary of the start-up date of the Civil War.   The date is also significant in that the Confederate flag was first placed atop the SC Statehouse dome in 1962 during the centennial observances of the Civil War.
 
Since many of those commemorating and celebrating the “Lost Cause” want to write African enslavement out as a core reason for the war, many of us feel that it’s important to set the record straight in a historically connected way.
 
We want to tell the enslaved Africans and abolitionists’ side of the story. 
 
Why This Book?  When Abraham Lincoln met the Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 he is said to have remarked, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

Though slave narratives were immensely popular, Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin reached the broadest audience prior to the Civil War.  Stowe’s anti-slavery message was less threatening to white audiences than were ex-enslaved Africans.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin had a tremendous impact.  Most blacks responded positively to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Frederick Douglass was a friend of Stowe’s; she had consulted him on some sections of the book, and he praised the book in his writings.  Most black abolitionists saw it as a tremendous help to their cause.  Some opposed the book, seeing Uncle Tom’s character as being too submissive and criticized Stowe for having her strongest black characters emigrate to Liberia.

The character Uncle Tom is an enslaved African who retains his integrity and refuses to betray his fellow slaves at the cost of his life.  His firm Christian principles in the face of his brutal treatment made him a hero to whites.  In contrast, his tormenter Simon Legree, the Northern slave-dealer turned plantation owner, enraged them with his cruelty. Stowe convinced readers that the institution of slavery itself was evil, because it supported people like Legree and enslaved people like Uncle Tom. Because of her work, thousands rallied to the anti-slavery cause.

Only 5,000 copies of the first edition were printed. They were sold in two days. By the end of the first year, 300,000 copies had been sold in America alone; in England 200,000 copies were sold.  Southerners were outraged, and declared the work to be criminal, slanderous, and utterly false. A bookseller in Mobile, Alabama, was forced out of town for selling copies. Stowe received threatening letters and a package containing the dismembered ear of a black person. Southerners also reacted by writing their own novels depicting the happy lives of slaves, and often contrasted them with the miserable existences of Northern white workers.
 
Individual participants will read for 10 minutes. Slots are filling up but we are still asking fraternities and sororities, high school and college english classes, churches, social groups, politicians, theater people, kids, etc., to get involved.
 
The event is being sponsored by the Harriet Tubman Freedom House Project, the Columbia Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the South Carolina Progressive Network.

Partial List of Participants: Vanzell Haire, Rev. Sandy Jones, Rev. David Edmonds, Tom Clements, Bill Roberson, Hi Bedford Roberson, Kevin Alexander Gray, Scott West, Frances Close, Eva Moore, Tom Turnipseed, Lyn Phillips, Don Frierson, Cassandra Fralix, Gerald Rudolph, Mattie Haynes, Roland Haynes, Becci Robbins, Marjorie Hammock, Michael Watts, Brett A. Bursey, Efia Nwangaza, Catherine Fleming-Bruce, Meryl Truesdale, William Felder, Patricia Daniels, Guy Fowler, Marjorie Trifon, Camille Gray-Felder and many others.
 
For more information and press inquiries call 803.386.4759 or email Kevin Gray @ kevinagray57@gmail.com.
 
http://uncletomscabin.clarity-dev.com/

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