He started out as Malcolm Little and ended up as El–Hajj Malik El–Shabazz but the world knows him as Malcolm X, the fiery orator of the Nation of Islam during the turbulent times of mid-century America. He rose from petty criminal, convicted felon to a national leader of black America.
He called out hypocrisy even when it was unwise and unsafe to do so.
He was a non-believer in non-violent responses to racial brutality but he was an advocate for black unity. And eventually, he evolved into a prophet of universal brotherhood when he was killed.
See the documentary The lost Tapes:Malcolm X streamed online, for free, on the Smithsonian Channel. His angry voice of armed self defense advocacy made Dr. Martin Luther King’s call for selfless acts of non-violence very attractive to white Americans. He was scary. They called him a hate monger. But Ossie Davis’ eulogy was an elegant and plain truth about the man that many black people loved,
“There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain – and we will smile. Many will say turn away – away from this man, for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man – and we will smile. They will say that he is of hate – a fanatic, a racist – who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them : Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did you would know him. And if you knew him you would know why we must honor him.
Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood! This was his meaning to his people. And, in honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves.”
We stand in awe of Malcolm X’s commitment to truth.