Dear Friends of FAIR, We’re sending you next week’s essay early. It’s a thoughtful piece by Angel Eduardo, the former editor of FAIR Substack and current member of FAIR's Board of Directors, marking the birthday of Malcolm X and asking us to rethink his popular legacy as the antagonist to MLK. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did.
1971...this 16 year old was in a downward spiral. Getting arrested for stealing. Grades plummeting at school. Then, somehow, I came across The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I read it over a weekend. My mind opened to the possibility that I could have a different life experience. It lit a fire that, to this day, burns to expose the hypocrisy that exists i our Nation. Like Malcolm, I know that we are all one human family. And in my professional, and personal, interactions I seek to remind people that we might do well to heed Brother Malcolm's life lessons; that we can change. Thanks for your remembering his Life and his Legacy.
Wow! What a beautiful, grace-full, contemplative, compassionate article about a complicated man!!! I've never considered this side of Malcom X and am really grateful for the reeducation! Thank you Angel!
As humans, we all have experiences and respond or react to them. It’s a matter of taking responsibility for our behavior. I agree that Malcolm X is an excellent example of the human spirit evolving over time, and the willingness to admit regrets or wrongdoings and commit to making things “right.” If only more people in our world today would admit their mistakes, particularly towards others, then take action to make amends and bring about peace towards each other, our world would look very different. Thank you for changing the narrative on Malcolm Xs short last few years of his life with the most dramatic shift.
Beautiful! He could also be an incredible example to all the angry youth of today, not just to leaders. Activism today for young people is loud, vicious, & tribal. For them to see someone who changed that for himself and was cut short in his work might be inspiring. They could take up the banner.
After reading Autobiography of Malcolm X, I came to the same conclusions. However, I could never verbalize my thoughts as well as you have. Kudos - I'm sharing this.
What I take away from this synopsis of the life of Malcolm X is that he was far too brilliant and self-possessed to settle for easy ideology, even if it allowed him to feel superior to others. Something innate pushed him to be authentic, do better, confront the truth even when it was filled with horrific traumas and losses. What an unusual person he was, a genius driven by his own perfectionism to live in the world of hard knocks. There was no theorizing at a desk for Malcom X. Everything he believed in, he fought for concretely, and it appears that he turned his rage, disappointments and failures into victories. Clearly, despite, or maybe due to, the terrible tragedies of his childhood, he craved, sought, and found within himself a deep love of humanity that ultimately transformed him.
I was devastated to learn that he was murdered at the age of 39, right on the cusp of a maturity that could have brought so much grace, balance and wisdom to the world. What a loss. But also, what an inspiration to anybody who has ever been victimized to the point of insanity. If he could find his way back, then it's possible for all of us.
Angel, you continues to impress. Great job. As a child of the 60's I remember most of this. I did not know about Malcom X's change in tone. Thanks for helping me.
Excellent piece Angel and enlightening. We all could learn something about what it means to be human from the “complete” life of this important American.
Pitch perfect, Angel. Not afraid to change.
I deeply appreciate this perspective. Thank you.
I first saw Malcom X in the early 60's on a late night TV talk show in LA. A TV talk show at that time was unusual, and he was an unusual guest. The respectful and animated back and forth were remarkable and enlightening, with the evolution in his thinking on full display.
Thank you for remembering his later years. Angry people often push his early rhetoric only.
Good to remind our country, under assault by forces of division, that a man who once brought the brimstone evolved to share the wine.
Edit: occurs to me wine is not culturally appropriate. Maybe a big block of hashish? :)
Hearty thanks for enlightenment regarding Malcolm's deeply admirable ultimate transformation! His commitment “to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it” is a vitally important lesson. It is especially apt in today's political climate, in which so many cling to their deep convictions while ignoring or denying the facts of the actual consequences of their choices and actions.
Change… and growth. All change is difficult, but it’s the direction of his change, and the way it emerged from a mind open to new experiences and broadened horizons, that’s important to emulate and draw lessons from.
It is uplifting to know MX ultimately saw unity was the answer. Angel, thank you for this wonderful, educational piece. I know of no other writer who can project peace, hope and unity in their work the way you do, so authentically. You are a gift.
Lovely to learn this. Thank you for opening another part of the world to me.