At Christmas time, we sing, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” But, Bethlehem was only the town where Jesus Christ was born. In fact, because of discrimination, his mother had to give birth in a filthy, stinking stable. Yet, Bethlehem is sacred to all Christians.
Nazareth was a backwater village where Jesus spent his childhood. When he returned with healing miracles and wisdom, he was ridiculed and told to get lost. That’s why Christ said, “A prophet is always without honor in his own land.” Yet, Nazareth is sacred to all Christians.
Malcolm X was born in Omaha in 1925. He was driven from Nebraska as a small child after racist violence against his family. But nothing can change the fact that he was born in Nebraska. Yet this seems to give Nebraska an iconic status to everybody in the world except Nebraskans.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X has been one of the most widely-read autobiographies in the world since 1965. His life is recognized as one of the greatest examples of human redemption from criminality and degradation to global leadership and respect. There are colleges, schools, streets, parks, boulevards and postage stamps, in America, Africa and Europe commemorating Malcolm X.
Moreover, Malcolm X single-handedly redirected a profoundly angry generation of African-American activists away from hating the entire Caucasian race and created a new vision of interracial cooperation that redefined the civil rights movement. And only Malcolm X had the stature and personal integrity to change that direction.
Malcolm X is the largest historical figure to be born in the state of Nebraska. His legacy is ours to claim for the one reason nobody else can. He’s a Nebraskan. It’s time to induct him. Bethlehem and Nazareth did it. Why shouldn’t we?