Category Archives: Blog Posts

MX Views on Women

The following is the 16th in a series of excerpts the Militant is running from Pathfinder Press’s latest book, Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power, by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party. We encourage our readers to study, discuss, and help sell the book. The following is from a 1987 speech by Barnes printed under the title “Malcolm X: Revolutionary Leader of the Working Class.” Copyright © 2009 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.

When Malcolm left the Nation [of Islam], he didn’t initially have much to say about the rights or social position of women. But in the Autobiography [of Malcolm X]—the draft of which had been completed, with the help of journalist Alex Haley, only shortly before the assassination—Malcolm tells a story that sheds light on the speed and degree of his later evolution on this question. (In reading the Autobiography, we should always keep two things in mind. First, that the interviews were begun while Malcolm was still in the Nation, with Elijah Muhammad’s approval. And second, that Malcolm was denied the opportunity to review and edit the final draft, or bring it in line with his views at that time. According to Haley, the assassination coincided with the days he and Malcolm had tentatively set aside for that review.)

Toward the end of the Autobiography, Malcolm is describing his visit to Beirut, Lebanon, on the last day of April 1964. Going out for a walk, he says,

immediately my attention was struck by the mannerisms and attire of the Lebanese women. In the Holy Land [Saudi Arabia] there had been the very modest, very feminine Arabian women—and there was this sudden contrast of the half-French, half-Arab Lebanese women who projected in their dress and street manners more liberty, more boldness. I saw clearly the obvious European influence upon the Lebanese culture. It showed me how any country’s moral strength, or its moral weakness, is quickly measurable by the street attire and attitude of its women—especially its young women. Wherever the spiritual values have been submerged, if not destroyed, by an emphasis upon the material things, invariably, the women reflect it. Witness the women, both young and old, in America—where scarcely any moral values are left.

So that’s how Malcolm still approached the question of women’s social position a month or so after his break with the Nation. The emphasis remained on religious standards of modesty and sexual morality.

At roughly this same time, Malcolm was still an unequivocal opponent of what he called “intermarriage.” In the Autobiography, once again, Malcolm writes: “I’m right with the Southern white man who believes that you can’t have so-called ‘integration,’ at least not for long, without intermarriage increasing. And what good is this for anyone? Let’s again face reality. In a world as color-hostile as this, man or woman, black or white, what do they want with a mate of the other race?” …

By the end of Malcolm’s second trip to Africa and the Middle East in 1964, between early July and late November, however, his views had undergone a striking change—one that paralleled the evolution of how he thought and acted on other social and political questions. At a news conference during a stopover in Paris following that trip, Malcolm said that one of the things he had noticed during his travels was that

in every country you go to, usually the degree of progress can never be separated from the woman. If you’re in a country that’s progressive, the woman is progressive. If you’re in a country that reflects the consciousness toward the importance of education, it’s because the woman is aware of the importance of education.

But in every backward country you’ll find the women are backward, and in every country where education is not stressed it’s because the women don’t have education. So one of the things I became thoroughly convinced of in my recent travels is the importance of giving freedom to the women, giving her education, and giving her the incentive to get out there and put the same spirit and understanding in her children. And I am frankly proud of the contributions that our women have made in the struggle for freedom and I’m one person who’s for giving them all the leeway possible because they’ve made a greater contribution than many of us men.

[ … ]

This is a very advanced level of political understanding: that you can measure the degree of progress and development of a society by the place of women in its social, economic, and political life. Unlike Malcolm’s remarks just a few months earlier about women in Beirut, where female “modesty” and religious “morality” had been his starting point, now Malcolm was using political criteria. He overcame simple prejudice—which is what Malcolm’s earlier views reflected, whether expressed by him or by anyone else—and began replacing them with facts about the social position of women. He began talking about what women can and do accomplish to advance human progress, to advance revolutionary change, if barriers erected against them begin to be torn down.

Malcolm also changed his mind on interracial marriage. Appearing on a television talk show in Toronto, in mid-January 1965, Malcolm was asked by the host, Pierre Berton, whether he still held his earlier views on this question. Malcolm replied: “I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being—neither white, black, brown, or red; and when you are dealing with humanity as a family there’s no question of integration or intermarriage. It’s just one human being marrying another human being, or one human being living around and with another human being.”

What needs to be attacked, Malcolm told Berton, is the racist society that produces attitudes “hostile toward integration and toward intermarriage and toward these other strides toward oneness” of human beings, not “the reaction that develops among the people who are the victims of that negative society.”

In assessing the evolution of Malcolm’s attitude toward women’s rights—including the place he had come to recognize women would occupy in coming revolutionary struggles in the United States and worldwide—we should also note the shattering impact on Malcolm of his discovery that Elijah Muhammad was sexually abusing young female members of the Nation of Islam. According to Malcolm, this was the single fact, more than any particular political conflict per se, that marked a turning point in his relationship with the Nation. It deeply shook Malcolm’s confidence in the religious, political, and moral integrity of Elijah Muhammad and of the Nation of Islam itself… .

Finally, Malcolm deepened his understanding of the importance of combating the oppression of women as he watched them help lead the fight for Black rights in this country. When Fannie Lou Hamer came to New York in December 1964 to win support for the freedom struggle in Mississippi, Malcolm spoke alongside her at a rally in Harlem and gave her a platform that night at the meeting of the OAAU [Organization of Afro-American Unity]. Malcolm also admired and worked with Gloria Richardson, who had refused to call off demonstrations in Cambridge, Maryland, in face of white-supremacist thugs and the National Guard—as well as public rebukes by conservative Black leaders—and who publicly solidarized with Malcolm’s call for the right of self-defense against racist terror.

I mentioned earlier Malcolm’s insistence that the aim of the movement he was working to build was to awaken Blacks “to their humanity, to their own worth.” During the final months of his life, Malcolm also deepened his understanding that the fight to liberate half of humanity from their oppression, and to assert in action their political worth, sharply increased the potential forces of revolution in this country and around the world.

Electronic Village

Mapping the Life of El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X)
I admire El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X) and the impact that he had on people of African descent. As such, I was pleased to see a Malcolm X exhibit on Second Life.

Drumbeats from Black Threads told us about the efforts of Moraine Valley Community College to analyze this autobiography in detail. The students of this community college map the life of Malcolm X, in geographic terms, based on the information provided in his autobiography.

Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X is at once inspirational, controversial, and historic. It is a novel that has had far-reaching success selling millions of copies and influencing Americans of all races and creeds.

This “autobiography” relates the life story of Civil Rights leader Malcolm X, who came of age in the segregated America of the 1940s and 1950s. He embraced religion while in prison and sought to free his people “by any means necessary.” By the end of his life, Malcolm X was one of the most prominent African American leaders. While on a journey to Mecca, he began to preach a more inclusive ideology that emphasized cooperation and understanding. The Autobiography of Malcolm X provides a valuable glimpse of America. More importantly, it is the story of one man rising up against oppression and learning, through his own experiences, how America might redeem itself.

Villagers have shared thoughts on the birth and death of Malcolm X in the past. I would love to hear from you again today. What is your lasting memory of El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X)?

Place Game

How Would You Improve Malcolm X Site?
The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation is partnering with Omaha by Design to host a Place Game workshop Saturday, Oct. 15. The event will be held from 10:00am to noon at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation Center, 3448 Evans St. All interested community members are invited to participate. Registration begins at 9:45am.

The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation has acquired more than 10 acres of land surrounding the birth site of Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925. The site has been rough graded, a plaza has been constructed at the location of the Malcolm X home, and the foundation recently acquired a vacated church adjacent to the birth site that now serves as the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation Center.

The workshop, which will focus on the site, is an opportunity for community members to suggest potential short- and long-term improvements to the property. Trained facilitators will lead small groups through the site, asking them to observe what they see, hear and feel. The groups will then reconvene at the center for a brainstorming session.

During the past decade, Omaha by Design has conducted more than 65 Place Game workshops in the metro. It offers this service free of charge to neighborhood and civic groups from March through October.

In 2011, all groups that complete a Place Game workshop and apply for grant funding to implement one of their ideas will receive a free tree courtesy of Omaha by Design.

For more information, call 402.554.4010 or email info@omahabydesign.org.

Mental Liberation 9.3.11

Join us from 5-7pm at the Malcolm X Center at 3448 Evans Street (Malcolm X Center) on Saturday, October 8th.  This event will feature performances from Omaha’s talent in spoken word & hip hop.  Its a FREE event and open to everyone.  Mental Liberation is hosted by Self Xpression and will feature appearance from Drug War veteran Rodney Prince.  This event will include a discourse titled: Death By a Thousand Arrests.

History Exhibit and Spoken Word

Malcolm X Memorial Foundation and Nebraska Arts Council Sponsor Two-Day Visit by Black History 101 Mobile Museum and “Mental Liberation Poetry Jam” featuring Amir Sulaiman Sept. 2-3

The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation (MXMF), with the support of the Nebraska Arts Council, will host its first “Mental Liberation Poetry Jam,” headlined by acclaimed Spoken Word Poet Amir Sulaiman, Saturday, Sept. 3, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Malcolm X Center, 3448 Evans Street.

The Malcolm X Center also will host Nebraska’s SECOND visit by the renowned Black History 101 Mobile Museum with curator Khalid El-Hakim. The museum displays will be open to the public on Friday, Sept. 2, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be no admission charge to visit the Black History 101 Mobile Museum, but a free will donation is encouraged.

The performance by Amir Sulaiman will be $10 adults ($15 at the door), and $5 for youth under 18 and elders (senior citizens). This program will include guest appearances by Omaha spoken word artists and Hip Hop performers Prototype XX (Y’Shall Tarlon and J’Reed Maat).

“This is going to be one of the most informative, entertaining and inspiring Labor Day weekend events in Nebraska,” said Walter Brooks, Administrative Director of the MXMF. “We truly encourage all of Omaha to come out and experience this unique traveling Black History exhibit and the extraordinary mind and voice of Amir Sulaiman.”

Sulaiman intensely radiates the stories of life. From the silent cries of the battered wife to the painful resignation of the orphaned child in Malawi, the ailments of humanity are channeled through him into the eyes, ears, and hearts of the listeners. He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he speaks of change, of growth, of reviving life.

Twice featured on HBO’s Def Jam Poetry show, Sulaiman has four albums to date. His writings were significantly influenced by the Black Arts Movement, the literary and artistic extension of the Black Power Movement of the ’60s and ’70s, and one of its cardinal figures, Amiri Baraka. While attending North Carolina A&T State University, Sulaiman built his reputation at spoken word forums on college campuses, coffeehouses, and bookstores. During his sophomore year, he released his first book of poetry, “Words of Love, Life and Death.”

Sulaiman self-released his first spoken word album, “Cornerstore Folklore,” in 2001. In 2004, he received his first national showcase on HBO’s Def Poetry show. He released two more albums in 2004 and 2006, “Dead Man Walking” and “Broad Daylight,” respectively.

Brooklyn MC/actor Mos Def, former host of HBO’s Def Poetry show, took Sulaiman on tour as his opening performer in 2005 and 2006. Then in 2007, Sulaiman released his critically acclaimed fourth album, “Like a Thief in the Night.” This album features appearances from Mos Def, Dead Prez’s M-1, and the Last Poets, the acknowledged “godfathers” of African American spoken word poetry.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Black History 101 Mobile Museum, an innovative traveling table top exhibit depicting Black memorabilia spanning from slavery to Hip Hop. Led by Founder/ Director Khalid el-Hakim, this museum has acquired over 3,000 original artifacts and includes pivotal displays on the Black Power Movement, Nation Of Islam, Civil Rights Movement, as well as sports, literature and music.  The Black History 101 Mobile Museum travels to colleges, universities, K-12 schools, conferences, and cultural events across the country.

The museum’s treasures include original documents from historic Black figures whose contributions helped shape the United States. Artifacts in this unparalleled mobile collection represent items from the categories of slavery, Jim Crow era, music, sports, the Civil Rights and Black Power era, and popular culture. A few prominent pieces in the collection’s archives include a rare slave bill of sale and documents signed by Booker T. Washington, Ralph Bunche, Rosa Parks, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Shirley Chisholm, Dr. Dorothy Height, Alex Haley, Ice T and others.

Khalid el-Hakim said, “History is important, because for years we’ve been told lies, we’ve been told a history of omission. People leave out parts of history. It’s my purpose and mission, as a teacher, to go out and fill in the voids that history has left out. My mission is to raise the consciousness of the human family by sharing artifacts that celebrate the contributions, achievements, and experiences of African Americans. I want people to walk away as inspired as I’ve been as a collector and student of this history.”

For more information, or tickets, contact Walter Brooks at 402-517-6459 or email walter@malcolmxfoundation.org.  Tickets are also on sale at the Aframerican Bookstore, 3226 Lake St., 402-455-9200.

Amir Sulaiman & Khalid El Hakim

We are very excited to have two exciting and informative presentations for this year’s fall programing; Amir Sulaiman & Khalid El Hakim.

We have invited Amir Sulaiman, an accomplished spoken word poet, activist, recording artist and a 2 time HBO Def Poet. Amir works regularly teaching kids by way of spoken Sulaiman and El-Hakimword and focusing on the union of art and education.

We will also have on hand, the very innovative Black History 101 Mobile Museum, with hundreds of relevant artifacts and memorabilia.  This is a cultural educational project and traveling museum, founded by Detroit Public School teacher Khalid el-Hakim of the Institute of Black Culture in Detroit.  He has customized his museum contents for this presentation with Malcolm X as the main focus.  He will present on his research, collection and passion and then lead tours of his mobile museum.

The Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency, supports this program through a matching grant funded by the Nebraska Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.  Visit http://www.nebraskaartscouncil.org for information on the agency and how individuals can support the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

Middle School Students Unveil MX art

Malcolm X Mural Unveiled at 6 p.m. May 19

Omaha – The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Service-Learning Academy brought together Meredith Bacon’s UNO Minority Politics class and Gabrielle Gaines-Liwaru’s art students from Beveridge Magnet Middle School for Global Studies and the Arts, a program designed to create a mural for the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation (MXMF).

Gaines-Liwaru started the project by offering a signup sheet for those interested. “Beveridge students feel compelled to honor the positive traits of this slain civil rights leader, whose birth site has been a trash dumpsite in our North Omaha community,” she said.

Sharif Liwaru, MXMF president, was active in guiding the UNO students, as well as the Beveridge Art students, as they researched and sketched their ideas. Representatives of Beveridge’s art majors and art club visited the UNO campus in April for a presentation by UNO’s Minority Politics class to learn about Malcolm X beyond his highly publicized image. Students heard about his values for equality, justice and education, and used these as inspirations in collaborating to create the mural that portrays the accurate and honorable life story of this Omaha native.

The project’s culminating event will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, 3448 Evans St.

At the celebration, the Beveridge students will unveil the mural they spent the last few months creating. Following the unveiling, MXMF will feature the play, The Meeting.

The UNO Service-Learning Academy facilitates partnership between the university and K-12 schools with the purpose of connecting curriculum to community needs through the development of academic service learning experiences.

For more information, contact:
• Lucy Garza Westbrook, UNO Service-Learning Academy: 402-554-3055 or lgarza@unomaha.edu
• Meredith Bacon, UNO Department of Political Science: 402-554-4858 or wbacon@unomaha.edu
• Gabrielle Gaines-Liwaru, Beveridge Magnet Middle School: 402-557-4000 or gabrielle.gaines@ops.org
• Luanne Nelson, Omaha Public Schools: 402-557-2070 or Luanne.Nelson@ops.org

From UNO Announcements

2011.05.11 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley – University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 – email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

* *

Follow UNO’s Twitter updates at www.twitter.com/unomaha. Become a fan of UNO on Facebook: www.facebook.com/unomaha. Watch UNO on YouTube: www.youtube.com/UNOMavTV.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

The Meeting

Malcolm X Center to Host Performance of Critically Acclaimed Play “The Meeting” on May 19

OMAHA, Neb. – The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation is proud to that there will be a performance of “The Meeting” – a play by Jeff Malcolm X Center, 3448 Evans St., on Thursday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m.

“The Meeting” is a powerfully performed play which depicts a meeting between Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Two initially, diametrically opposed, find that they are closer in have imagined. “The Meeting” deals with issues of race, culture, economics; how they affected that generation and how they are society today.

“The Meeting” is performed by VL Alston Productions, and Lee Alston as Malcolm X; Arthur Phillips as Dr. Martin Luther Williams as Rashad, the body guard of Malcolm X. The play will Paterson, Professor of Dramatic Arts at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

This play has been performed locally on several occasions, most first play ever performed at the John Beasley Theater and it also special tribute to the Martin Luther King Holiday by the Medical Center in 2005.

The May 19 performance is especially meaningful because it is the date of Malcolm X and the first time the play will be performed at home of Malcolm X.

The production is co-sponsored by the Nebraska Arts Council, American Achievement Council and OPS Title One. Ticket prices youth and senior citizens. On the day of the play, adult tickets will and senior citizen tickets will remain the same.

There will be a short ceremony before the play to present a large books for the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation Library; to Malcolm X Center Book Donation Drive, starting May 19 and the birth date of President Barack Obama; and to unveil donated Beveridge Middle School students.

Refreshments will be served. In addition, there will be a limited reading materials distributed to the audience members, including Myers and children’s books.

For more information on tickets or how to donate books, contact 402-517-6459 or email walter@malcolmxfoundation.org. Advanced be obtained at Aframerican Bookstore, 3326 Lake Street, Monday – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Life of Reinvention

Posted by Steve Sherman on Apr 1 2011 at Left Eye On Books, Progressive Book and News Reviews. Filed under Book Industry News, News Blog, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry.

Generally, we wait until a book is officially released to ‘pick’ it.  But today we honor Manning Marable, who just passed away at the age of 60.  Here’s back cover info on his exciting new book:

“Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.”

Source

25 Hours

Posted by Faithlynn Gabrielle on March 1, 2011 at 3:49am

View Faithlynn Gabrielle’s blog

“If you could say one thing to your brother, what would it be?” “I would tell him I miss you and I love you.”

An amateur journalist who decided on a whim to pack some survival essentials and take some buddies to save the abducted child soldiers of Uganda, asked a young boy the question above. The boy’s answer was directed to his brother who was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army of Joesph Kony. His brother had been gone for years and was mostly likely dead, while his two remaining siblings are trying to flee from one of the world’s most ignored humanitarian crises. The grief that you feel when someone very close to you passes is not something that you can express on paper, but you just feel.The ripping desperation you feel to have a person with you that was taken away for no justifiable cause, is an even more difficult shadow to describe.

Watching that little boy barely able to say what he would tell his brother through his tears, forced me to feel a shock of his pain that resulted in a publicly crying in my high school classroom. As simple as those two sentences the young boy spoke were, I can’t imagine saying anything different to the people I’ve lost. As much as I detest tearing up in front of people I don’t know well, it wasn’t something I could control at that moment. Even though some my classmates hadn’t experienced grief, and it still brought them to tears as well. The amazing thing about film is that visuals can break down walls that we put up to survive in a scrutinizing society and compel you to think and feel about matters we tend to avoid.

The three filmmakers who produced “Invisible Children: Rough Cut” were able to let the escaping children of Uganda walk out of Africa and tell a story that otherwise would not have been heard or seen. Out of the many documentaries that I’ve watched this one has stayed with me the most. It’s extremely personal, explains the  history of the northern Ugandan conflict well, and is brightening in a dark situation. If you haven’t seen the film, watch it. You can do so easily on YouTube by searching for Invisible Children. The Invisible Children movement has flowered with many staff members from the seeds of those three activists. Millions of people have seen the original documentary that has helped to fund scholarships and community rebuilding for the victims of the conflict.

Invisible Children’s main venue of activism is through the media arts, and on April 25th they are inviting everyone to donate 25 dollars to participate in their protection plan and to engage in twenty-five hours of silence out of reverence and awareness for children of Uganda.

The Protection Plan of the Invisible Children movement aims to accomplish:

  • Building a communication network and facilitating 24-hour early warning network.
  • Providing humanitarians with up-to-date information to better deploy their services.
  • Guaranteeing no massacre goes unseen.
  • Encouraging the continued defection of LRA rank and file combatants.
  • Providing every child rescued from the LRA access to rehabilitation.
  • Making total rehabilitation feasible upon the dismantling of the LRA leadership.

With the donation of 25 dollars, you will receive a t-shirt, a set of cards explaining why you are raising money since it is assumed that you are silent, and a lanyard to hold the cards.

Invisible Children also carries other t-shirts, bracelets, and handbags/messenger bags made by Ugandan women. Also, Duquesne University will be showing Invisible Children’s latest documentary “Tony” at 9pm free of charge on March 8th inside the Papper Lecture Hall located in Bayer.

Even if you can’t be silent on April 25th, purchasing the action kit, just donating, and even just talking about what you’ve seen from these once invisible children can continue their healing.