by Mac Walton, aka, MacDaddy
Listen up. The daddy's got a confession to make. Okay, two confessions, both related. First, the daddy is feeling lazy. He doesn't want to do anything in particular. Second, he only wants to sit on his living-room couch and think about Malcolm X, the man who was called Minister Malcolm by some back in the day, the man I still call Minister Malcolm now.
No, the daddy never met him. Never got to see him, But, as a kid, the daddy belonged to the religious sect that he made into a powerful national force in the United States, The Nation of Islam. It was an institution with which to be reckoned n the 1960's.
No, the daddy was no leader in the group. In fact, the daddy was kicked out of the group for reading Minister Malcolm's book, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X." You see, the daddy was a kid and didn't know about this war going on inside the Nation of Islam between the brothers and sisters who were loyal to late Honorable Elijah Muhammad and those who were loyal to Minister Malcolm, even though Minister Malcolm was dead by that time. But after finishing the book, after speaking to present and former members from both sides, the daddy lost faith in the leadership of The Nation of Islam, never asked to be reinstated, and left the organization for good.
Why? Because brothers and sister told him something that he could not ignore or wish away: that Minister Malcolm was too honest, too committed to black people, and too disappointed in the immoral behavior of the late Honorable Elijah Muhammad, his mentor and substitute father, to keep his mouth shut about the corruption and immorality going on at the top levels of the Nation of Islam at that time-- that Minister Malcolm had to die, because he was too dedicated and knew too much. I left, because I believed them.
And that's why the daddy is being lazy today, sitting here thinking about Minister Malcolm: about the courage it takes to go against your own people, your own organization, your own disciples (whom you groomed to be leaders, whom you knew would order that you be killed) and, worst of all, your own mentor who, in effect, was your father. But, ultimately, the daddy is thinking about something even more important than political betrayal; he's thinking about the potency of legacy.
The daddy is thinking that to kill a great leader can be an oppressor's worst mistake. Why? Because the great leader becomes a martyr and is elevated to even greater heights. The leader's spirit floats into the air and hovers just above the heads of the oppressed and, when the time is right, shimmers down like golden sun rays on a clear, summer's day. That's when the martyrs become more valuable in death than in life, when, ironically, martyrs take on new lives and live in the hearts of future Minister Malcolm's for generations.
That's why the daddy is sitting here thinking about some things that Minister Malcolm said in the 1960's that still resonates with him today:
* That "education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it;"
* That "The political philosophy of black nationalism means that the black man should control the politics and the politicians in his own community;"
* That "The economic philosophy of black nationalism only means that our people need to re-educated into the importance of controlling the economy of the community in which they live;"
* That "Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods or tactics or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free human in this society;" and
* That "Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression."
The daddy is feeling nice and warm sitting on his couch by the fireplace. But he thinks he'll take a walk outside in the cold. And maybe he'll look up in the sky and think about Malcolm.