Malcolm X Matters: Icon’s Words Still Ring True

Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Neb., would have been 90 years old today.

As the #BlackLivesMatter movement continues to grow in strength like the perfect storm, the prescient words of Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) slice with laser-sharp precision through the rhetoric of politicians and pundits alike as if he still walked among us.

He was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Neb., and he would have been 90 years old today. We don’t know how long he would have lived had he not been assassinated 50 years ago on Feb. 21, 1965, on the stage of the Audubon Ballroom at Broadway and West 165th Street in New York City. We just know that he was taken from us far too soon. Still, his intense, bespectacled gaze, forefinger resting against his face, remains the prevailing emblem of black rage and resistance. That his legacy has reverberated for decades without the stamp of approval from the U.S. government, without being taught in schools or quoted in Christian churches on Sunday mornings, speaks to the sheer magnitude of the man and the undeniable truth in his message.

Malcolm didn’t tiptoe around diagnosing the illness of white supremacy or pointing out its symptoms in the form of religious terrorism and police brutality. He boldly declared that systemic racism is not baseless conjecture; rather, it is a deeply embedded statement of fact that provides the framework for the United States of America.

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