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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

People of black history

Malcolm X performs his infamous hand gesture.
Malcolm X performs his infamous hand gesture.

By: Essence Buckman, Staff Writer

The month of February consists of a few common holidays such as Valentine’s Day for all the hopeless romantics, as well as Presidents’ Day to acknowledge our American presidents. What is special to me about the month of February is that it is also a month that honors Black people in America.

The NAACP, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers and Malcolm X are a few of many notable leaders who strived for the civil rights of Black people during segregation, post-Civil War. Madame CJ Walker, George Washington Carver and Garrett Morgan are also great figures in Black history for their inventions. I am grateful that a month has been dedicated to celebrate the hard work and dedication of Black people throughout history.

These people are idols, great role models and objects of admiration like any other famous public figure would be. To honor this great month, I thought it would be nice to briefly talk about a figure that I hold in high regards. One leader in Black history that I admire is Malcolm Little, more famously known as Malcolm X.

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I am troubled at the reaction and things said towards me when I mention that I am a fan of Malcolm X.

“He is a racist,” my peers say, “and is very violent.” I have heard this multiple times and believe that they only place narrow sights upon him. Yes, this man for most of his life was the equivalent of a Black extremist and was the largest advocate for violence against Martin Luther King, Jr.’s push for peace and love.

X’s views were not the same as King’s when it came to the issue of equality between the “Black man” and “White man.” They both advocated human rights, but X’s approach was to prosecute whites for their violence imposed upon blacks. Despite the nay-sayers’ opinions that he was racist and violent, he is regarded as an influential figure in Black history. He is more than what those people against him try to lower him to be. X was a man of intelligence, influence, and he, in my opinion, had a more realistic approach to the racial problems in America at the time.

This man is an inspiration for Black people who believed that they would forever be oppressed and subjected to fail in life. X was imprisoned for larceny in his younger years. While in jail, he converted to the religion of Islam and was educated in multiple ways, such as participating in debate classes to work on his speech skills and reading books in his prison library.

During the early 1950s, after his release, he became an established figure in the Nation of Islam. He spoke for them as an advocate for the advancement of black people and resulted in their group attracting thousands of members. Joining this group and converting to Islam turned X’s life around from a criminal to a keen and significant figure in America, liked or disliked.

Lastly, X’s view on races outside of his was changed when he visited Mecca, which is a pilgrimage Muslims go on in their lives. His experienced helped him realize that his brothers under God are of all races and shades. His experience shows that anyone who has a negative view towards other races due to a bad encounter or teaching, are capable of opening their minds and changing their narrowed views. The reason for X coming off as a Black supremacist is most likely due to his father being killed by Klan members. In his last few years of his life, X’s views changed, and he was open to speaking before a wider variety of audiences.

To explain why I admire Malcolm X in simpler terms: he serves as an example that people are capable of opening their minds, especially when it comes to their complicated views on race. He also shows that people who have led a life of crime and frequent sinning are capable of turning their life around. These examples, which are not even the half of his doings, along with his strive for the equal rights of Blacks, are reasons why I think so highly of him.

Caption: Malcolm X performs his infamous hand gesture.

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