Day 24 - X is for Malcolm X & Ibram X. Kendi
Malcolm X: His life story is well known. He was born in Nebraska in 1925. His father was a follower of Marcus Garvey and an outspoken advocate for Black people who was (likely) murdered by white supremacists. After his mother's nervous breakdown and commital, he lived with a foster family until he moved to Boston. There he found trouble, getting involved in the crime rackets. He served 7 years in prison as a result, and that's where he was introduced to the Nation of Islam (NOI).
Upon his release, he rose to national fame as a NOI minister, giving fiery speeches demanding fair treatment for Black people, an end to police brutality, and railing against all manner of injustices inflicted upon Black people in America. He helped grow the NOI by thousands. He lost faith in NOI when he discovered his revered Elijah Muhammad had committed moral offenses. His break from NOI opened the door to his conversion to Islam.
He got an opportunity to perform Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. It led to his discovery of Qur’anic Islam far removed from the race-based, distorted teachings of Elijah Muhammad. While at Hajj, Malcolm wrote letters describing his excitement at being so readily accepted by people of all colors and backgrounds. At home, he had only experienced racism and hatred at the hands of white people and had come to hate all white people. Hajj was a transformational experience for him.
Malxolm X was only 39 when he was assassinated by NOI members in 1965. Since, he has remained an inspiration for every generation of freedome fighters and defenders of democracy. Hie is quoted, celebraed, and chronicled. No Black History Month is complete without acknowledgement of Malcolm X's leadership and influence in the fight for human righs. While he demanded an end to racism, "by any means necessary," today's most notable X, Ibram X. Kendi, is focused on providing a guide to becoming an anti racist society.
Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram X. Kendi: The scholar, author, speaker and Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University is one of the most important voices in America today. He brought the term "anti-racist" into the vocabulary of the entire country with his series of books analyzing the history and systems of racism and oppression in America. He has clearly articulated the foundations of racism and the actions that must be taken to shake those foundations in a way that has resonated more loudly than it has since the Civil Rights Movement. The rise of Black Lives Matter, resulting from the ongoing and unpunished killing of Black people by police has fprced the nation's renewed attention on issues of race in all our institutions - politics, sports, the arts, education - every aspect of our lives.
With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism, providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age.
Kendi's latest book is Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019.published in February 2021.