Monday, February 24, 2014

Remembering Malcolm X 49 years on - Analysis

By Ama Biney

What would Malcolm X make of Barack Hussein Obama if he were alive today? It is clearly a rhetorical question, but it is posed in order that on the 49th anniversary of his assassination, reflection on what he stood for, believed in and worked towards during his short life span can be evaluated in the context of the relevance of his contribution to our current conditions.

It is also necessary to pose: Has the world fundamentally changed from almost 50 years ago when Malcolm was brutally assassinated on 21 February 1965? Have socio-economic conditions changed for the majority of African Americans today since he was slain? Lest we forget, the introduction of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that granted black people the same rights as white Americans was the outcome of a protracted struggle of African American people. That struggle involved tragic deaths of civil rights activists, lynchings, demonstrations, boycotts that were the consequence of collective struggles and organisation against the ideology of white supremacy rooted in the act of enslaving and subjugating African people on the land belonging to the original native Americans. The Voting Rights Act became effective in August 1965 – that is five months after the murder of Malcolm – and was also the product of the intense struggles of black people for political representation and determination.

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