May 19 marked the 92nd birthday of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Malcolm X. Across the U.S., blacks are organizing to commemorate the life and legacy of the legendary African-American human rights activist.
This is the third resurrection of Malcolm X. We first resurrected Malcolm after the posthumous publication of his autobiography in 1965.
In the midst of the most significant struggle for freedom, self-determination and social transformation, since the Civil War, young black nationalists and radicals resurrected the ideas, attitude and style of Malcolm X. By 1967, Black Power activists were commemorating both the day of Malcolm X’s birth and the date of his assassination.
More meaningfully, black millennials struggling to make sense of the hundreds of police killings and of the militarized police assaults in Ferguson, Baltimore and Chicago turned to Malcolm.
It’s not surprising that the University of Illinois’ Black Students for Revolution’s Assata Shakur Reading Group recently read Malcolm X’s autobiography.
Malcolm X’s third resurrection has generated official and unofficial commemorations of his birth.
The city of Berkeley, Calif., has honored Malcolm X with an official holiday since 1979.
T is a pattern to our repeated resurrections of Malcolm X. Interest in Malcolm rises whenever we confront two of three situations: whenever blacks’ socioeconomic conditions worsen.
In times like these, we resurrect Malcolm X. Sundiata Cha-Jua is a professor of African-American studies and history at the University of Illinois and is a member of the North End Breakfast Club.