Copyright 1998, 1999 , 2000 ASET, M. Mbulu All rights to everything on this web site are reserved.
Title of Course: Profiles In Black Mba Mbulu, Instructor
Textbook: None. Selected writings found online will constitute the textbook.
Read the following information on Malcolm X. Relate the information to the following questions to the best of your ability.
(1) Malcolm X was a hustler and convicted burglar. Did that make him any less intelligent than other people?
(2) When Malcolm decided to listen to others, study and educate himself, his life was transformed. If others decide to do likewise, can't they make the changes Malcolm was able to make?
(3) Because of Malcolm's teachings, Black People began to see themselves as part of a worldwide human rights struggle. What is the importance of that?
(4) What did Malcolm mean when he said "It is our job to represent ourselves, as other people are representing themselves.?"
(5) "The white man is our enemy," Malcolm taught. "We must break identification with him, we can't go through life identifying with the white man or his government." Do you think Black People are likely to stop identifying with white people? Are you?
Class #12: MALCOLM X (1925-1965)
Organizer, Black Nationalist Strategist, Revolutionary
Early in Malcolm's life he was lured into the hustling world of New York City. Convicted of burglary, he was sent to prison at the age of 21. While there, Malcolm experienced a conversion that literally transformed his entire life. Influenced by a prisoner called Bambi, a self-educated man who taught Malcolm the value of education, and the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm developed an interest in history, particularly the history of Black People. He also learned how to speak and debate, two qualities that enabled him to effectively participate in the Black liberation movement once he was released from prison.
Within a few years of his release, Malcolm had become the most respected debater in the country, taking on one and all, Black and white. It was a rare case of a man speaking who was in close communion with the oppressed and able to speak for them because he identified with them. Using a unique speaking style, he was able to articulate the pain and root feelings of the ordinary man and woman. As such, it was the truth and sincerity of his words, more than anything else, that made him stand out.
Malcolm had a charming but forceful personality, and it won him the allegiance of the Black masses in the urban city ghettoes, an environment he was very familiar with. He knew what the Black masses thought and how they felt, and he knew their strengths and weaknesses. The masses, in turn, recognized that Malcolm was an uncompromising foe of injustice who could not be bought for any price-- he was totally committed to the cause of Black self-determination. As a result, they identified with him and listened to him unconditionally.
Malcolm repudiated the various slogans of the so-called Negro Revolution and advocated the Black Revolution instead, while emphasizing the common struggle of Black People in America, Africa and other parts of the world. That was one of the most important lessons Malcolm brought to the attention of the Black masses. The desperate people in the ghettoes of America began to see themselves as part of a worldwide human rights struggle-- and that changed their perception of what could and could not be accomplished.
Malcolm believed that the education, or re-education, of Black People was necessary before a mass movement capable of effectively fighting for human rights was possible. So, he took every opportunity available to teach, to explain, to show the connections between various aspects of the freedom struggle and encourage people to think for themselves. He always adapted his speaking style to the particular audience he faced, using the vocabulary and rhythm best suited to communicating with that particular audience.
Malcolm changed the entire focus of Black People's struggle for freedom. In Malcolm's words, "It is our job to represent ourselves, as other people are representing themselves. We don't need someone else representing us." "The white man is our enemy," Malcolm taught. "We must break identification with him, we can't go through life identifying with the white man or his government." We need to start operating according to a different motto, he continued. "Our motto..... We want freedom by any means necessary. We want justice by any means necessary. We want equality by any means necessary. We want it now or we don't think anybody should have it."
Malcolm knew it, Malcolm said it, Malcolm worked to make it a reality. The motto of Black People throughout the world is "freedom, justice and equality by any means necessary."