The Ballot or the Bullet
Program #XMAL003. Recorded in Detroit, MI on April 12, 1964.
Malcolm X is a singular figure in African-American history. He led an extraordinary life. He was born in an impoverished family in Omaha, NE on May 19, 1925. He recalled being “dizzy” with hunger. He said, “My whole life has been a chronology of changes.” Indeed it was. He went through a remarkable series of transformations from being a street hustler known as Detroit Red to going to jail, to converting to Islam then breaking with Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and becoming an independent voice for black dignity, self-reliance, and economic independence. Malcolm challenged the racist white power structure and the blacks who went along with it. He was only 39 years old when he was assassinated on February 21, 1965 in New York. Maya Angelou said of him, “His aura was too bright.” He had a charismatic presence and a radiant smile. And he was an electrifying orator. At his funeral, Ossie Davis eulogized him as our “prince. Our own black shining prince.” Today, Malcolm’s autobiography continues to be read and his words continue to inspire.
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