Malcolm X, an African-American nationalist leader and former minister of the Nation of Islam, was one of the most influential figures in the civil rights movement. Today (Feb. 21) marks the 50th anniversary of his assassination in 1965 at Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, N.Y.
Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday for a special ceremony at the National Action Network (NAN) in Harlem, N.Y., to honor the late Muslim leader. Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz was in attendance and spoke of her father’s legacy and urged that his memory must not be erased from history.
“He wanted to uplift his people, re-liberate his people, he understood that they had purpose and life and had to ensure that we empowered the next generation,” she said (quotes via The Guardian). “When we understand history we understand that we can’t sit back and wait for someone to do something for us. It’s our responsibility. We have to do it.”
NAN founder Al Sharpton concurred and urge people to keep the faith and continue the ongoing fight for racial equality. “The fruits of faith are why 50 years to the day they shot Malcolm down in cold blood, they’re calling his name all over the world,” he said.
Malcolm X’s youngest daughter, Malaak Shabazz, also spoke of her father’s legacy with CBS 2 News. She told Don Champion that her father is often misunderstood when it comes to his message of equality.
“He wasn’t evil, he wasn’t a devil worshipper, he wasn’t a white hater. He was a humanitarian,” she said.
On Twitter, rap artists such as Immortal Technique and Talib Kweli pay homage to Malcolm X (see below).
In addition to her speech at NAN, Ilyasah Shabazz also wrote an insightful op-ed piece in the New York Times, offering her thoughts on what her father would think of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Gone physically. But always with us spiritually. #MalcolmX Peace & Respect pic.twitter.com/0fkDFZyxYK
— IG: TechImmortal (@ImmortalTech) February 21, 2015
Listen to Malcolm X & Keith LeBlanc’s “No Sell Out” SongListen to Gang Starr’s “Tonz ‘O’ Gunz” SongWatch’s Paris “Break the Grip of Shame” Video
RT @BlkHistStudies: Malcolm X was 39 yrs old when assassinated on 2/21/1965! 50 years ago, spirit still strong! pic.twitter.com/inbCW0N8kn
— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) February 21, 2015