Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Intrigued, Malcolm began to study the teachings of NOI leader Elijah Muhammad. Muhammad taught that white society actively worked to keep African-Americans from empowering themselves and achieving political, economic and social success. Among other goals, the NOI fought for a state of their own, separate from one inhabited by white people. By the time he was paroled in 1952, Malcolm was a devoted follower with the new surname "X." (He considered "Little" a slave name and chose the "X" to signify his lost tribal name.)
The crowds and controversy surrounding Malcolm made him a media magnet. He was featured in a week-long television special with Mike Wallace in 1959, called "The Hate That Hate Produced." The program explored the fundamentals of the NOI, and tracked Malcolm's emergence as one of its most important leaders. After the special, Malcolm was faced with the uncomfortable reality that his fame had eclipsed that of his mentor Elijah Muhammad.
Racial tensions ran increasingly high during the early 1960s. In addition to the media, Malcolm's vivid personality had captured the government's attention. As membership in the NOI continued to grow, FBI agents infiltrated the organization (one even acted as Malcolm's bodyguard) and secretly placed bugs, wiretaps, cameras and other surveillance equipment to monitor the group's activities.
Shortly after his shocking discovery, Malcolm received criticism for a comment he made regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. "[Kennedy] never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost so soon," said Malcolm. After the statement, Elijah Muhammad "silenced" Malcolm for 90 days. Malcolm, however, suspected he was silenced for another reason. In March 1964 Malcolm terminated his relationship with the NOI. Unable to look past Muhammad's deception, Malcolm decided to found his own religious organization, the Muslim Mosque, Inc.
After repeated attempts on his life, Malcolm rarely traveled anywhere without bodyguards. On February 14, 1965 the home where Malcolm, Betty and their four daughters lived in East Elmhurst, New York was firebombed. Luckily, the family escaped physical injury.
Later that year, Betty gave birth to their twin daughters.
Malcolm's assassins, Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson were convicted of first-degree murder in March 1966. The three men were all members of the Nation of Islam.
The legacy of Malcolm X has moved through generations as the subject of numerous documentaries, books and movies. A tremendous resurgence of interest occurred in 1992 when director Spike Lee released the acclaimed movie, Malcolm X. The film received Oscar nominations for Best Actor (Denzel Washington) and Best Costume Design.
Malcolm X is buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Image by howieluvzus via Flickr
Garvey and Garveyism
Marcus Garvey shared the Biblical cycle of enslavement, liberation and development. He borrowed from the concept of the Jewish enslavement in the Bible, and looked to that example in a search for identity, consolidation and development. However, his theory of natural rights comes not from the Bible, but from a lack of it. Christian rhetoric was used to gain the attention of church going Blacks.
SONS OF HAM: Cursed son of Noah, burned by the sun, bears that mark. An attempt by pro-slavery Christians to justify slavery with a Biblical explanation. In 1883 Crummel issued his response to these theories:
1. Curse was pronounced upon Canaan, not on Ham.
2. Curse fell upon Canaan, had effects, but not on Ham.
3. Neither Ham nor his three sons were involved in this curse.
4. Negro race is not descended from Canaan.
5. Slavery is not uniquely a condition of Negroes.
6. Canaan is obviously not Gabon, Ghana or the Congo
Maybe the only thing they got right was the burning by the sun, but not intergenerational affliction.
GARVEY’S BASIC TENETS:
IDENTITY: Who are we? Where do we come from? What is our past? What is our destiny?
CONSOLIDATION: All Negroes are of Africa and of one race. Africa for Africans at home and abroad.
DEVELOPMENT: Build the community, trade with each other, use and develop skills together, create business relationships within the community, create international African patterns of commerce.
BACK TO AFRICA: An outgrowth of work by Dubois and Blyden. Blyden had lectured in the West Indies about African repatriation in 1862 and he had influenced those who Garvey learned from. Africans came to English-speaking West Indies, gained skills through apprenticeships, then returned to West Africa.
EACH TO THEIR OWN: Races and cultures are different. They must make their own worlds. If they compete in the same realm there will be conflict.
p. 135 middle
NATURAL RIGHTS OF ALL PEOPLE:
African sense of social order was shattered by slavery.
There was no remaining God, but stolen gods of Jehovah, Allah and Yahweh.
There was no indication in history of rights and responsibilities.
African roots had been shattered by slavery.
So, in the absence of religion or ideology, and under the cruel influence of exile and slavery, a conception of the natural rights of all races was developed. P. 141
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
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Frederick Douglass Biography
original name Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey
(born February 1818?, Tuckahoe, Maryland, U.S.—died February 20, 1895, Washington, D.C.) African American who was one of the most eminent human-rights leaders of the 19th century. His oratorical and literary brilliance thrust him into the forefront of the U.S. abolition movement, and he became the first black citizen to hold high rank in the U.S. government.
Separated as an infant from his slave mother (he never knew his white father), Frederick lived with his grandmother on a Maryland plantation until, at age eight, his owner sent him to Baltimore to live as a house servant with the family of Hugh Auld, whose wife defied state law by teaching the boy to read. Auld, however, declared that learning would make him unfit for slavery, and Frederick was forced to continue his education surreptitiously with the aid of schoolboys in the street. Upon the death of his master, he was returned to the plantation as a field hand at 16. Later, he was hired out in Baltimore as a ship caulker. Frederick tried to escape with three others in 1833, but the plot was discovered before they could get away. Five years later, however, he fled to New York City and then to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he worked as a labourer for three years, eluding slave hunters by changing his surname to Douglass.
At a Nantucket, Massachusetts, antislavery convention in 1841, Douglass was invited to describe his feelings and experiences under slavery. These extemporaneous remarks were so poignant and naturally eloquent that he was unexpectedly catapulted into a new career as agent for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. From then on, despite heckling and mockery, insult, and violent personal attack, Douglass never flagged in his devotion to the abolitionist cause.To counter skeptics who doubted that such an articulate spokesman could ever have been a slave, Douglass felt impelled to write his autobiography in 1845, revised and completed in 1882 as Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. Douglass's account became a classic in American literature as well as a primary source about slavery from the bondsman's viewpoint. To avoid recapture by his former owner, whose name and location he had given in the narrative, Douglass left on a two-year speaking tour of Great Britain and Ireland. Abroad, Douglass helped to win many new friends for the abolition movement and to cement the bonds of humanitarian reform between the continents.
Bill Grimmette is a living history interpreter, storyteller, actor, and motivational speaker who has performed throughout the United States and abroad. He has researched and performed the characters of Estevanico, Augustus Washington, Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, and W. E. B. Du Bois, with appearances at the Smithsonian Institutions and on National Public Radio. As an actor, Grimmette has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Shakespeare Theater, and the National Theater of Washington, D.C., and on radio, television, and major motion pictures. He has an MA in psychology from the Catholic University of America, and has done post graduate work in education at George Mason University. Grimmette has portrayed W. E. B. Du Bois and Benjamin Banneker at previous Maryland Humanities Council Chautauquas.