I have followed Malcolm X’s work for many years and he is one of my biggest inspirations. He is the physical manifestation of Black Power and Black Nationalism to me, even though it was declared by Stokely Carmichael a year after his death. Even after his death on February 19th, 1965, he continues to inspire generations of people. He is a part of Black popular culture with many businesses that sell “By Any Means Necessary” and “X” paraphernalia.
The 1992 Spike Lee film “Malcolm X” is also very popular and was truly an epic around this important Black historical figure who seems larger than life. One of the best scenes in that film was the eulogy by Ossie Davis, where he expressed that “Malcolm was our manhood. Our living Black manhood who wasn’t afraid to die because he loved us so” (Davis, 1965). The legacy of Malcolm X is very important to Black history and American history because he was standing up for us in the most blatant way. He demanded equality for us that wasn’t threatening, it was just aggressive because it was what we deserved. One of the things that I respected about him is how he acknowledged the identity of the Black woman in American society. He stated in 1962 that “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman” (X, 1962). At the time, there were not many Black male activists that were standing up for Black women.
Malcolm X to me also bridges the gaps between human and civil rights for Black people living in America. He spoke about the lack of humanity towards Black lives during one of the most turbulent eras of Black history. He also strived to change the image of Black people in America as well. This rhetoric was especially essential in the Black Power Movement and the positive change in Black cultural identity. He was radical, and he wanted Black people to see themselves in a more beautiful light, and that is revolutionary.
Even though there were many Black revolutionaries before Malcolm X, I believe that Malcolm X is one of the most recognizable. His rhetoric about Black life, Black humanity, and Black expression is still relevant to this day. Every time I hear a speech by him, I instantly feel like I can take on the entire white supremacy structure and I feel proud to be Black even amid blatant oppression. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to Malcolm X for helping me see this at such a young age. I wrote about him when I was in the second grade. I still stand on the fact that he is one of the most important and influential human beings that has ever walked this Earth and one of the strongest voices in the struggle of Black humanity.
In power and community,