On the 43rd anniversary of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz’s (Malcolm X) death, the Muslim Student Union, the Afrikan Student Union and the Worker-Student Alliance invited Amir Abdel Malik Ali to speak about El-Shabazz’s life and activism in the Student Center Terrace on Thursday, Feb. 21.
El-Shabazz is well known for his significant role during the civil-rights movement and is a controversial figure due to his contrasting beliefs with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While Dr. King incorporated non-violence as a principle, El-Shabazz was representative of militancy.
Ali began by speaking about El-Shabazz’s martyrdom and his dedication and willingness to sacrifice his life for an important social cause.
‘Malcolm knew that at some point of time he would die,’ Ali said. He also believes that El-Shabazz’s awareness of his imminent death reminds people today to have commitment to a cause.
Ali described El-Shabazz as giving ‘strength, confidence and self-esteem’ to African-Americans. ‘He gave us a sense of ourselves,’ Ali said, referring to El-Shabazz’s passion and resilience.
When a member of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X ‘understood that as blacks, we can’t do anything if suffering from an inferiority complex,’ and in response he focused on rebuilding the African-American identity and reinvigorating brotherhood in the community.
According to Ali, after Malcolm X was removed from the Nation of Islam, he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. During his journey to Mecca, he ‘realized how dangerous it was to worship human beings [because he] worshipped Elijah Mohammad [the leader of the Nation of Islam],’ Ali said. El-Shabazz also ‘changed the way he saw white people