Tag: Nation Of Islam

Missing Writings from “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, Long a Mystery, are Sold to Schomburg Center in NY

Malcolm X in 1964. (Credit: Associated Press)

by Jennifer Schuessler via nytimes.com

For a quarter century, they have been the stuff of myth among scholars: three missing chapters from “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” reputedly cut from the manuscript after his assassination in 1965 because they were deemed too incendiary.

Their possible existence was first teased at in 1992, when a private collector at an estate sale scooped up material belonging to Alex Haley, Malcolm X’s collaborator on the book. Years later, one biographer was allowed a 15-minute look at some of the papers, but otherwise they have been mostly locked away, surrounded by a haze of cultivated mystery.

But now the unpublished material, or at least some of it, has suddenly emerged and was offered for sale Thursday at a Manhattan auction house, along with another artifact that scholars have never seen: the manuscript for the published book, which bears dense traces of Mr. Haley’s and Malcolm X’s complex negotiations over the finished text.

At the auction, an unpublished chapter called “The Negro” was picked up by the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for $7,000. There were no offers on the manuscript for the published version, which had an opening minimum bid of $40,000.

But after some hushed conversations in side rooms, it was announced that the Schomburg — located on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, and already home to a large collection of material that had been held by Malcolm X’s family — had acquired the manuscript for an undisclosed sum, along with nearly a dozen unpublished fragments that had also gone unsold.

“‘The Autobiography’ is one of the most important books of the 20th century,” Kevin Young, the director of the Schomburg, said after the auction. “To have the version with Malcolm X’s corrections, and to be able to see his thoughts taking shape, is incredibly powerful.”

The manuscripts were included in a sale of African-American historical artifacts by Guernsey’s auction house. The sale also included an item that had attracted considerable media interest in recent years: a Detroit house associated with Rosa Parks that had been bought by an artist, disassembled and shipped to Germany, then shipped back again for sale. (The house, which had a minimum price of $1 million, received no bids.)

But it was the appearance, with little advance fanfare, of the Malcolm X material that caused a stir among scholars, some of whom expressed alarm before the auction that manuscripts that had been locked away by one private collector might disappear into the hands of another.

The manuscript and unpublished pages were sold to settle debts as part of a bankruptcy case. (Credit: Jeenah Moon for The New York Times)

Komozi Woodard, a professor of history at Sarah Lawrence College who is writing a book about the final year of Malcolm X’s life, said he was “shocked” when he learned about the auction earlier this week. “If we’re trying to figure out where Malcolm would have taken us, some of those papers have clues to that puzzle,” he said.

Since Malcolm X’s assassination there have been battles over the meaning of his life, in particular its tumultuous last year, when he broke with the Nation of Islam, traveled to the Middle East and renounced his philosophy of racial separatism.

There have been equally fierce battles over his literary remains. Papers removed from his family’s home by one of his daughters and later seized by owners of a storage facility were nearly auctioned in 2002, before scholars and family members organized an effort to have the collection placed intact at the Schomburg Center.

R.I.P. Muhammad Ali, 74, Boxing Legend, Self-Determination Icon and Greatest Of All Time

Muhammad Ali (photo via express.co.uk)
Muhammad Ali (photo via express.co.uk)

article by Robert Lipsyte via nytimes.com

Muhammad Ali, the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who helped define his turbulent times as the most charismatic and controversial sports figure of the 20th century, died on Friday. He was 74.

His death was confirmed by Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman.

Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.

But he was more than the sum of his athletic gifts. An agile mind, a buoyant personality, a brash self-confidence and an evolving set of personal convictions fostered a magnetism that the ring alone could not contain.

Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition.

Loved or hated, he remained for 50 years one of the most recognizable people on the planet.

In later life Ali became something of a secular saint, a legend in soft focus. He was respected for having sacrificed more than three years of his boxing prime and untold millions of dollars for his antiwar principles after being banished from the ring; he was extolled for his un-self-conscious gallantry in the face of incurable illness, and he was beloved for his accommodating sweetness in public.

In 1996, he was trembling and nearly mute as he lit the Olympic caldron in Atlanta.

That passive image was far removed from the exuberant, talkative, vainglorious 22-year-old who bounded out of Louisville, Ky., and onto the world stage in 1964 with an upset victory over Sonny Liston to become the world champion. The press called him the Louisville Lip. He called himself the Greatest.

Ali also proved to be a shape-shifter — a public figure who kept reinventing his persona.

As a bubbly teenage gold medalist at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, he parroted America’s Cold War line, lecturing a Soviet reporter about the superiority of the United States. But he became a critic of his country and a government target in 1966 with his declaration “I ain’t got nothing against them Vietcong.”

“He lived a lot of lives for a lot of people,” said the comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory. “He was able to tell white folks for us to go to hell.”

If there was a supertitle to Ali’s operatic life, it was this: “I don’t have to be who you want me to be; I’m free to be who I want.” He made that statement the morning after he won his first heavyweight title. It informed every aspect of his life, including the way he boxed.

The traditionalist fight crowd was appalled by his style; he kept his hands too low, the critics said, and instead of allowing punches to “slip” past his head by bobbing and weaving, he leaned back from them.

Eventually his approach prevailed. Over 21 years, he won 56 fights and lost five. His Ali Shuffle may have been pure showboating, but the “rope-a-dope” — in which he rested on the ring’s ropes and let an opponent punch himself out — was the stratagem that won the Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman in 1974, the fight in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in which he regained his title.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/04/sports/muhammad-ali-dies.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=image&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Black Men Rally In D.C. For 20th Anniversary Of Million Man March

(TIM SLOAN VIA GETTY IMAGES)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Black men from around the nation are gathering on the National Mall to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March and call for policing reforms and changes in black communities.

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who spearheaded the original march, will lead an anniversary gathering Saturday at the Capitol called the “Justice or Else” march.

“I plan to deliver an uncompromising message and call for the government of the United States to respond to our legitimate grievances,” Farrakhan said in a statement.

Attention has been focused on the deaths of unarmed black men since the shootings of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012 in Florida and 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Deaths of unarmed black males at the hands of law enforcement officers have inspired protests under the “Black Lives Matter” moniker around the country.

The original march on Oct. 16, 1995, brought hundreds of thousands to Washington to pledge to improve their lives, their families and their communities. Women, whites and other minorities were not invited to the original march, but organizers say all are welcome Saturday and that they expect to get hundreds of thousands of participants.

The National Park Service estimated the attendance at the original march to be around 400,000, but subsequent counts by private organizations put the number at 800,000 or higher. The National Park Service has refused to give crowd estimates on Mall activities since.

President Barack Obama, who attended the first Million Man March, will be in California on Saturday.

Life has improved in some way for African-American men since the original march, but not in others. For example:

-The unemployment rate for African-American men in October 1995 was 8.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In September it was 8.9 percent.

-In 1995, 73.4 percent of African-American men had high school degrees. In 2004, 84.3 percent did, according to the Census Bureau.

-Law enforcement agencies made 3.5 million arrests of blacks in 1994, which was 30.9 percent of all arrests, the FBI said. (By comparison, they made 7.6 million arrests of whites that year, which was 66 percent of all arrests.) By 2013, the latest available data, African-American arrests had decreased to 2.5 million, 28 percent of all arrests.

Anti-Muslim protesters plan to demonstrate at mosques around the nation on the same day.

article by Jesse J. Holland via huffingtonpost.com

Farrakhan Announces Millions For Justice Rally in October for Million Man March 20th Anniversary

Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakan (photo via Associated Press)
Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakan (photo via Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said Wednesday he plans to hold a Millions for Justice March in the nation’s capital this fall, 20 years after the Million Man March.

During a speech at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Washington, Farrakhan said he intends to hold the rally Oct. 10 on the National Mall, scene of the 1995 march.

“This is the time our people must see our unity,” Farrakhan said. “Let’s make 10/10/15 a meeting place for those who want justice, for those who know what justice is.”

Organizers said they aim to stage a more diverse and inclusive event than the one in 1995, which was billed as a men-only event.

Former NAACP executive director Benjamin Chavis, who helped organize the original Million Man March, said he is optimistic that this year’s turnout will be “in excess of a million.” He said the event’s success would be measured more by the political and socioeconomical impact it has on communities.

“What ultimately will be a success is seeing improvements in the communities where these people are going to come from,” Chavis said. “We want to make sure our public policy demands are aligned with those challenges.”

Farrakhan said the rally is intended to galvanize a more strategic movement for equality as supporters unite under the social media hashtag #JusticeOrElse.

“Walk with the young people, the warriors of God, as we say to America, ‘You owe us,'” Farrakhan said.

The Million Man March was held in Washington on Oct. 16, 1995. Its goal, organizers said, was to encourage black men to make firmer commitments to family values and community uplift. It is among the largest political gatherings in American history, although there were disputes over the size of the heavily black and male crowd it drew. Crowd estimates ranged from 400,000 to nearly 1.1 million.

Farrakhan, 82, also used the march announcement to call for fair treatment and an end to injustice in the wake of the massacre of nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, last week.  “Yes, all lives matter, but the only reason you’re here is because black lives are being slaughtered,” Farrakhan said.

As for efforts to remove the Confederate flag in the wake of that tragedy, Farrakhan said the gesture does little to remove the stain of injustice.

“The media is (still) twisting the narrative of murderers,” Farrakhan added, referring to perceptions that the media tends to portray white perpetrators more humanely than those of other races or ethnicities.

article by Glynn A. Hill via bigstory.ap.org

Born On This Day in 1925: Minister and Human Rights Activist El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (aka Malcolm X)

Malcolm X Red HeadBorn Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska and known primarily as Malcolm X,  El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz‎ was an African-American minister for the Nation of Islam and a human rights activist who rose to national and international prominence in the 1960s.  He was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans, and one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in U.S. history.

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X” as told to Alex Haley and published in 1965, remains an important, seminal work to this day, and the Spike Lee-directed feature film “Malcolm X” garnered critical acclaim as well as an Academy Award nomination for Denzel Washington.  But to more fully appreciate the genius of this man, it pays to hear him speak for himself.  Even if you just watch the first two minutes of the video below, you will have done yourself an immeasurable favor:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Tonight’s CNN Special “Witnessed: The Assassination of Malcolm X” Hopes to Answer What Really Happened in Audubon Ballroom

malcolmprayer

Almost 50 years ago, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, more popularly known as Malcolm X, who had risen to prominence as one of the most outspoken and public faces of the Nation of Islam, was gunned down inside the Audubon Ballroom in New York. And ever since his death Feb. 21, 1965, there has been speculation as to who had the civil rights leader murdered.

Some have argued that the government was complicit in his death; others have argued his public feud with NOI leader Elijah Muhammad may have led to his assassination. On Tuesday at 9 p.m., CNN premieres Witnessed: The Assassination of Malcolm X, a special report which asks some of those who were there when the shooting occurred—Earl Grant, former radio reporter Gene Simpson, Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz and Peter Bailey, an associate of Malcolm’s—to share their memories.

“We failed him, I tried to help him,” photographer and friend Grant cries, when describing the horrifying day inside the Audubon Ballroom, and “describes the chaotic moments after the shooting.” Grant takes viewers inside his private photo collection, sharing never-before-seen images of the civil rights icon.

Zaheer Ali, who served as project manager of the Malcolm X Project at Columbia University, leads an online experience at cnn.com that delves into the unanswered questions surrounding the assassination. Bailey describes Malcolm’s plan to expose injustices against black Americans before he was gunned down, and Simpson, who was in the front row of the Audubon Ballroom when Malcolm took the stage, discusses the first time he interviewed the civil rights leader.

article by Stephen A. Crockett Jr. via theroot.com

Ferguson Protests Prove Transformative for Many

The photo, and the reaction to it, crystallized Ferguson’s uprising this month in all its anger and strangeness: a demonstrator in an American flag shirt, holding a bag of chips in one hand while hurling a canister of tear gas back at police with the other, leaving an arabesque of smoke in his wake.

The image became so well-known that a man who said he was the demonstrator put details for booking requests on his Twitter profile. He got thousands of new Twitter followers.

Alderman Antonio French
St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, left, has more than 100,000 new Twitter followers due to his documenting of events since the police shooting of Michael Brown. (Roberto Rodriguez / European Pressphoto)

It’s become apparent that anyone who has played a contributing role in this city’s unsteady vortex has been reshaped in it.  Along with fostering celebrity, events here have taken on a ritualistic quality, with protesters gathering night after night along a small stretch of West Florissant Avenue.  “During the day, it’s a spectacle. At night, it’s a war zone,” Wes Suber, a 26-year-old sociology student from Ferguson, said one night this week.

There’s no one guiding events — Ferguson has been like a barreling train without an engineer — and the difficulties in organization were apparent. On Tuesday, community leaders halted a protest march to hold a prayer and lead some chants; they told demonstrators to go home and rest up for a protest outside the county justice building in nearby Clayton the next morning.  But the crowd refused to go home. Instead, people milled around until there was another standoff with police.

Continue reading “Ferguson Protests Prove Transformative for Many”

Born On This Day in 1925: Muslim Minister and Human Rights Activist El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (aka Malcolm X)

220px-Malcolm_X_NYWTS_2aBorn Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska and known mainly as Malcolm X,  El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz‎ was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist who rose to national prominence in the 1960s.  To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. Detractors accused him of preaching racism, black supremacy, and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.

Malcolm X’s father died—killed by white supremacists, it was rumored—when he was young, and at least one of his uncles was lynched. When he was 13, his mother was placed in a mental hospital, and he was placed in a series of foster homes. In 1946, at age 20, he went to prison for breaking and entering.  In prison, Malcolm X became a member of the Nation of Islam; after his parole in 1952, he quickly rose to become one of its leaders. For a dozen years, Malcolm X was the public face of the controversial group, but disillusionment with Nation of Islam head Elijah Muhammad led him to leave the Nation in March 1964.  After a period of travel in Africa and the Middle East, he returned to the United States, where he founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. In February 1965, less than a year after leaving the Nation of Islam, he was assassinated by three members of the group.

Malcolm X’s expressed beliefs changed substantially over time. As a spokesman for the Nation of Islam he taught black supremacy and advocated separation of black and white Americans—in contrast to the civil rights movement’s emphasis on integration. After breaking with the Nation of Islam in 1964—saying of his association with it, “I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I’m sorry for now. I was a zombie then … pointed in a certain direction and told to march”—and becoming a Sunni Muslim, he disavowed racism and expressed willingness to work with civil rights leaders, he continued to emphasize Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and self-defense.

article via wikipedia.org

Seventeen Years Ago Today: Million Man March Took Place On Washington’s National Mall

Million Man March

The Million Man March (pictured throughout), one of the most moving and emotional moments ever in African-American history, took place on the grounds of the National Mall on this day in 1995. The symbolic importance and cultural impact of the huge gathering signified a shift in the attention on issues that plagued urban environs and minorities. The National African American Leadership Summit and the Nation of Islam worked in tandem alongside local chapters of the NAACP to make the March a reality. Continue reading “Seventeen Years Ago Today: Million Man March Took Place On Washington’s National Mall”

Reflections in Black: Celebrating African Americans in Photography

Augustus Washington (1820–1875)
Unidentified woman, probably a member of the Urias McGill family, daguerreotype, sixth plate, 1855, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LZ-USZC4-3937.

article via blog.charlesguice.com

Twelve years ago, Reflections in Black became the largest exhibition ever conceived to explore the breadth and history of work by black photographers.

It is unlikely that many people would be familiar with the name Jules Lion. A free man of color, Lion established the first daguerrean studio in New Orleans and, in doing so, became somewhat of a local celebrity. Alone, his accomplishments might have been of little interest. But the fact that he did this in the early spring of 1840, soon after the announcement of the daguerreotype process, is worthy of special attention. Moreover, there is evidence that Lion may have immigrated from France with knowledge of the process. For historian Deborah Willis, Lion’s achievements mark not only the beginning of photography in the U.S., but the pioneering involvement of blacks in the medium. As a result, Lion is included in the landmark exhibition,Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African American Photography. Continue reading “Reflections in Black: Celebrating African Americans in Photography”