malcolm x assassination

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Malcolm X talking to the press at London Airport, February 1965.

On February 9, Malcolm had flew from London to Paris for a speaking engagement. At Orly Airport, French police barred him from entering the country. Authorities felt his speech threatened to provoke “demonstrations that would trouble the public order,” so he flew back to London. It was odd because he had just been in Paris a few months prior. The day before his assassination Malcolm told Alex Haley that he felt the incident in France was a sign of his impending murder. Eric Norden, a journalist who investigated Malcolm’s death revealed that an African diplomat told him that his country’s intelligence apparatus had been informed by France that the CIA planned Malcolm’s murder, and France didn’t want Malcolm killed on its soil.

(Video of Malcolm X speaking about ban from France) 

We commemorate the legacy of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, also known as Malcolm X, on the day he was assassinated, fifty years ago today, February 21, 1965.
Words cannot describe his revolutionary contributions to the struggle for liberation and self-determination. We can only witness the products of his words and actions in the work that goes on to this day by warriors who he inspired to fight and free us all from what Malcolm called, “this miserable condition that exists on this earth.” We must see in our organizing work that there are thousands upon thousands of potential Malcolm X’s, from the rotten schools to the prisons. There is hope.
He famously said, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” So we ask you, where do you stand in the face of injustice?
Rest In Power Malcolm. You will never die as long as we fight for the change you hoped to see.

February 21: 50 years since the assassination of Malcolm X, revolutionary internationalist and fighter for Black Liberation.

“It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture and can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, then capitalism has less and less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

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If you’re still under the impression that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad had Malcolm X killed, you need to update your knowledge. There is NO EXCUSE for still being deceived and, even worse, continuing to spread THAT LIE, in the midst of the information age.

J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO agents were paid to divide and confuse Black people with those lies. What’s your excuse?

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Malcolm X, African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist seen here shortly after his visit to Marshall Street in Smethwick on February 12, 1965. The human rights activist visited Smethwick, near Birmingham, which had become a byword for racial division following the 1964 general election. Malcolm X was assassinated nine days later on his return to the United States.

(Photos by Birmingham Post and Mail Archive/Mirrorpix)

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February 21st 1965: Malcolm X assassinated

On this day in 1965, African-American civil rights leader Malcolm X was assassinated aged 39. Born as Malcolm Little in Nebraska in 1925, his family were forced to relocate when the Ku Klux Klan threatened his father, who was active in the black nationalist movement. Malcolm’s father was ultimately murdered by white supremacists - but the white police insisted it was suicide - and the family disintegrated. The young Malcolm dropped out of school and became involved in crime, eventually going to prison for burglary in 1946. While imprisoned, he was exposed to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, who argued that the white man is the devil and cannot live peaceably with blacks, who should establish a separate black nation. Malcolm was powerfully affected by this ideology, and changed his last name to reject the ‘slave’ name he had been given. After his release from prison, Malcolm X became a preacher in New York, calling for black self-defence against white aggression. His eloquent advocacy of black nationalism and the neccessity of securing civil rights “by any means necessary”, including violence, made him a respected, but also feared, figure. Malcolm X was feared by white and black Americans, as some civil rights activists worried that his more radical message threatened the strategy of non-violence espoused by Martin Luther King Jr.. While his fame contributed to the Nation of Islam’s growing popularity, Malcolm began to split from the organisation, disillusioned by Elijah Muhammad’s hypocrisy and alleged corruption. He formally left the organisation in 1964, and visited Mecca, an experience which tempered his rhetoric and led him to abandon the argument that whites are devils. At this point, Malcolm changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, returning to America influenced by socialism and pan-Africanism and more hopeful for a peaceful resolution to America’s race problems. As he was preparing to speak at a rally for his recently-founded Organisation of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City, Malcolm X was shot 15 times by three members of the Nation of Islam. In death, his legacy loomed large over the civil rights movement, and African-American activists increasingly urged black power for black people. Malcolm X remains one of the most famous and respected figures of the civil rights movement, and his seminal autobiography is considered one of the most important books of the twentieth century.

“We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”

Today is a special day. It’s the birthday of two very important figures in black history. Yuri Kochiyama was a Japanese American human rights activist and vocal leader in Asian American empowerment. She is notable as one of the few prominent non-black supporters of the Black Liberation Movement. It is also the birthday of Malcolm X, the famous civil rights activist.

Yuri Kochiyama and her family were rounded up by the American government and forced to live behind barbed wire during World War ll.

She participated in sit-ins and invited Freedom Riders to speak at weekly open houses in her family’s apartment.

In October of 1963, Kochiyama and her eldest son were arrested with hundreds of other people, mainly African-Americans, during a protest.

Malcolm X walked into the courthouse where activists were waiting to hear their civil disobedience charges, and he was quickly mobbed my adoring activists. Kochiyama was one of them. She felt out of place being a Japanese among blacks, but finally mustered up the courage to call out to him and say, “Can I shake your hand?”

“What for?” he demanded.

“To congratulate you for giving direction to your people,” she finally mustered.

Malcolm X smiled and extended his hand. Thus the brief friendship of Malcolm X and Yuri Kochiyama began.

She is pictured above, holding a recently assassinated Malcolm X as he lay dying.

Rest in Power to two very brave and extraordinary people.

~ Hannah

Sources: Wikipedia and npr.org

Today in Black History for February 21st
  1. 1992 - Eva Jessye choral director for the first Broadway production of Porgy and Bess died in Ann Arbor, Michigan Feb. 21, 1992.

  2. 1987 - Black Rebellion in Tampa, Florida
    African Americans in Tampa, Florida rebelled after an African American man was killed by a white police officer while in custody.

  3. 1965 - Malcolm X (39) assassinated in Audubon Ballroom at a rally of his organization. Three Blacks were later convicted of the crime and sentenced to life imprisonment.

  4. 1961 - Otis Boykin patents the Electrical Resistor
    Otis Boykin, Inventor, patented the Electrical Resistor. U.S. 2,972,726 He is responsible for inventing the electrical device used in all guided missiles and IBM computers, plus 26 other electronic devices including a control unit for an artificial heart stimulator (pacemaker). He began his career as a laboratory assistant testing automatic controls for aircraft. One of Boykin’s first achievements was a type of resistor used in computers, radios, television sets, and a variety of electronic devices. Some of his other inventions included a variable resistor used in guided missiles, small component thick-film resistors for computers. The innovations in resistor design reduced the cost of producing electronic controls for radio and television, for both military and commercial applications. Other inventions by Otis Boykin also included a burglarproof cash register and chemical air filter.

  5. 1940 - John Lewis, founder and chairman of SNCC, born

  6. 1936 - Barbara Jordan born
    2/21/1936: On this day Barbara Jordan, who will be the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives, is born

  7. 1933 - Nina Simone born
    Nina Simone (Eunice Waymon), 66, singer (“I Love You Porgy,” “Trouble in Mind”) born Tryon, NC, Feb 21, 1933.

  8. 1917 - Thelonious Monk, jazz great born
    Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917–82) Jazz musician; born in Rocky Mount, N.C. He was raised in New York

  9. 1895 - North Carolina Legislature adjourns
    North Carolina Legislature, dominated by Black Republicans and white Populists, adjourned for the day to mark the death of Frederick Douglass.
Remembering George A. Romero: The Lasting Political Impact of Night of the Living Dead

What is a zombie? Is it a creature from some far away place? An inhuman monster from a far flung planet? Or is it a person that you know turning on you? George A. Romero’s seminal 1968 Survival Horror Night of the Living Dead is a film that knows that a true and visceral fear comes from the latter of these options. 

The 1950′s were a golden era for cold-war paranoia Horror cinema, where the constant threat of annihilation came down from distant worlds. Horrors like The Thing from Another World played ferociously into the fear of invasion of the body and the home (even if that home is a research base in the Arctic) by creatures from far away places. Films with a more satirical slant like Invasion of the Body-Snatchers criticised that fear, and the awful McCarthy Witch-Hunts that fuelled it. These films (and the classic Twilight Zone episode The Monsters are Due on Maple Street, which is Rod Serling at his most scathing and brilliant) paved the way for the onus in Horror to fall onto the specific individual rather than the vague alien threat. Audiences of the 1960s got a new thirst for movie monsters that looked like people, and that thirst was only encouraged by the one-two knock out that kicked off the decade with Psycho and Peeping Tom, both released within months of each other and both exploring killers that are terrifyingly human. 

The decade continued with enough Vincent Price led horrors to fill a House of Wax (I know - that was from 1953. Just let me have that joke), movies mostly about sadists and torturers, yet most of whom bared recognisably human traits. They became your friends and neighbours, and so the paranoia continued. The Horrors of the 1960′s were either personal or political, but not usually both. Similarly, the films were either about Monsters or Human monsters, but not usually both. In 1968, that changed. It’s hard to express what a strange and careful amalgam Night of the Living Dead is, and harder still is to work out how the hell it manages all that in a tight 90 minutes. The film is personal and political, about monsters and human monsters. 

Though the concept of Zombies had been tackled on screen before, Romero’s film laid the ground rules for what a zombie is and should be, as well as crafting the framework for almost every Zombie film to come. The actors playing the Zombies in the film have very little makeup applied* and don’t look all that different to their still breathing counterparts. They just move a lot slower and aren’t as chatty. Modern audiences are used to running, screaming, SmartZombies with almost super-human abilities, which I don’t take too much issue with. Different directors will interpret monsters in their own manner. But it does make them inhuman, and what makes Romero’s Zombies so effective is that they really aren’t all that special, that they sort of ARE still human. They’re just a bunch of occasionally naked people who are acting on a disturbingly primal instinct: to kill and to eat. 

*this might have been down to budgetary issues - the film cost a meagre $114,000

The violence these ex-people inflict upon the living is far more upsetting and troubling than any violence that a creature from mars could inflict: Barbara being attacked towards the end of the film by her brother Johnny is invasive and terrifying. What is really scarier: being attacked by a monster, or being attacked by a loved one? The commentary is bleak but pertinent - that humanity’s tendencies to turn on and cannibalise itself is the ultimate terror. Romero builds his film on more specificity than this, highlighting that the violence of Modern America is this cannibalisation in effect. When the gun that is used prolifically throughout the film is first discovered, the one item we see placed directly next to it is the American Flag.

To have such a vivid criticism in a Horror film from 1968, when absurd jingoism battled with the vanguard of objectors and protestors, is bold to say the least. 1968 was when the Vietnam War saw its bloodiest year, and the culture of violence against the so-called other was at its peak. This leaks its way into the film, through the crowds of Zombies outside, and seeps through into the boarded up house, where the real terror unfolds. For all the violence that America committed overseas, it also committed at home. This violence befell upon on its own citizens - namely Black citizens. Medgar Evers and Malcolm X had been assassinated by the time the film’s script came together, and Martin Luther King would be assassinated just months before the film saw its first cinematic release. Though Romero has claimed that in retrospect, he would’ve liked to have explored race in the film more thoroughly, it is hard to watch the film and not see political and racial commentary permeating the story. It is impossible to watch the film and not recognise that Night of the Living Dead is one of the only (if not THE only) major Horror films of the 1960′s to feature a black protagonist. This in itself is landmark, but even more so is how the black protagonist, Ben, is portrayed. 

Make no mistake about it: Ben is the hero of the film. He is consistently portrayed as a natural leader, and moreover, he knows he is the leader. He discovers that the Zombies are afraid of fire, and he sets about dismantling and re-assembling the home as a fortified refuge. He is a literal fucking torchbearer. 

Eschewing tiring stereotypes of the era (stereotypes which would be heavily reinforced in the Blaxploitation genre a couple of years later), Ben is allowed to be a true original, bearing none of the harmful and limiting cliches that white writers loved to apply to black characters in that era (and hell, lets not pretend it was just a 1960′s thing. Black characters in Horror - and cinema in general - are still wildly underrepresented and often poorly written or underwritten). Ben doesn’t cower in the corner, he isn’t superstitious or paranoid, and when faced with a panicky coward who attempts to overthrow his authority, he only gains agency. Because creeping up from the basement is the real villain of the film, and he’s not a Zombie. He’s just a regular looking guy named Harry. 

He’s been hiding in the basement, all the while Ben has been protecting and reinforcing the home that Harry has failed to protect. “How long have you guys been down there? I could’ve done with some help up here”, Ben says. What is great about this right from the get-go Ben is not taking any crap from Harry. He’s not allowing him to get away with his selfishness. Harry is immediately threatened by Ben, and spends the rest of the film this way. He constantly speaks in a raised voice to Ben, he calls him “crazy” and “stupid” and meets every suggestion of his with anger and confusion. Harry is so used to being the boss that he wilfully segregates the house, even though that means putting himself and his family in mortal danger, in a dark basement with only one exit. “The cellar is the strongest place!” he insists. He is using his masculine, almost militaristic bravado by relying on the concept of ‘strength’ and ‘power’, when really what the situation calls for is intelligence - and the ability to get the fuck out of there if they need to. He is tearing down a house that Ben is trying to keep together.

Ben blankly tells Harry:  “If you’re staying up here, you’re taking orders from ME”. This sticks in Harry’s throat, and he carries this with him throughout the film, unable to fathom that he has just been told what to do. Harry is someone who is asking for a fight - he wants a chance to be angry, to exercise his power, or just to speak his mind about everything. The growing tension and air of violence within the house mirrors the torn world outside of it, and highlights just how prone to violence Men can be if they tell themselves they are ‘protecting themselves’. And yet, Harry has nothing to protect himself from in regards to Ben. Ben is not a danger to him and is the one trying hardest to - and most likely to - keep them all alive. Harry is consistently the aggressor in the situation, and uses everything in his power to remove the agency and power of this Black Man who is smarter and more of a hero than him. Harry doesn’t realise that in trying to sabotage Ben, he is really sabotaging himself - or maybe he does know but he doesn’t care, because he’d rather die than listen to a black man. Harry is just like the Zombies outside: functioning on his most primal emotions. His happen to be fear and anger. Towards the end, Ben desperately tries to push back the Zombies and stop them from overcoming him. But it’s already too late, because the real threat is in the house and he’s not looking to help. 

He’s looking at the gun which Ben has dropped, and which he wastes no time in grabbing and turning on Ben himself.

What reason does he have to point the gun at Ben, who is unarmed? What purpose is he serving, besides acquiring a sort of ‘power’ from the gun, and from having something that Ben doesn’t? This is what Harry is obsessed with: Power. Not Zombies, not survival, but supremacy. And it is ultimately his suicide, as a fight over the gun leads to Ben killing Harry. Harry, once again, was the aggressor, the one who purposefully provoked Ben and couldn’t believe it when he stood up for himself. This moment is iconic, landmark, and a confrontation that the film has been building towards. It is what the film runs on, the hubristic, prejudicial fear of the White American Man that anyone who is not you is your enemy. And by the time morning comes and the Zombies have left, something much more terrifying has taken their place: the so-called saviours.

Throughout the film we see footage of this group of cops and vigilantes, who look and function scarily like a lynch mob. The news footage of them is frighteningly authentic as they casually boast about how to kill Zombies, almost as if they were never people at all. They show no remorse, no emotion, and almost enjoy their self-appointed work. There are shades of Vietnam Soldiers in them, as well as striking visual similarities between them and the vicious foot-soldiers featured in harrowing news footage from that era, sent in with weaponry to disperse protestors and marchers. And of course it is them who enact the bleakest ending to a Horror Film ever put on the screen. 

Ben, who has done everything right throughout the film, is murdered by the mob. They don’t call out to him when they see him. They don’t attempt to ascertain whether or not he is infected. They aim and they shoot. His so-called protectors kill him. They are the ones appointed to help, but they are hunters. “Nice shot”, says one of them. It is a sport to them, and not a human life that they’ve just taken. The phrase “Shoot now, ask questions later” comes to mind. The White authority figure has killed the Black person. The action of pulling a trigger is as simple and unremarkable to them as taking the life of the victim is. It is all too familiar. 

Whether or not this film was intended as political, these images carry an inherent cultural relevance unlike any images seen in a horror film since. We may not live in a world of Zombies, but we do live in a world where scenes like this happen every day, enacted by people with power stolen from their victims. It is an audacious final scene; remorselessly grim but achingly real. Horror films have implemented the fake-out happy ending ever since. Final frames will always attempt to lull you into safety then throw you back out again. Jason will burst out from under the water to claim another victim. Death will convolutedly send a swinging billboard to swoop down and crush a teenager.

But do many horror films carry the weight that Night of the Living Dead carries? That weight was achieved by tapping so keenly into what we fear and what we know about our culture, and what we fear and know about ourselves. The twist wasn’t that there were still Zombies out there, it was that there were people out there and that they were the monsters. This may have been covered many times since, but in a 1968 monster movie, it was revelatory and unflinchingly critical.

We are currently going through a resurgence of quality, smart Horror cinema. We are also going through a time of Political and Societal inequality. We need more of our art to reflect this. Aren’t the shittiest political times when we get the best Hip Hop and Punk albums? Shouldn’t Horror cinema be the same? Horrors that tap into social politics should be thriving - and the best (but perhaps only) example of this in modern Horror is Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which doubtlessly and deservedly will be entered into the great modern Horror canon. After the passing of Romero, Peele has expressed his love of Night of the Living Dead, and I hope that more Horror directors begin to make films that carry with them this social comment. I hope we get more Horrors from Directors of Colour, and Female Directors. I hope we start to get perspectives that we haven’t heard enough from in the genre. Now is the time for angry, personal and political filmmaking, and I hope that we get Horror films that are as pertinent today as Night of the Living Dead was in 1968 - and still is in 2017.

“When I am dead—I say it that way because from the things I know, I do not expect to live long enough to read this book in its finished form—I want you to just watch and see if I’m not right in what I say: that the white man, in his press, is going to identify me with “hate.” He will make use of me dead, as he has made use of me alive, as a convenient symbol, of “hatred”—and that will help him escape facing the truth that all I have been doing is holding up a mirror to reflect, to show, the history of unspeakable crimes that his race has committed against my race.” Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Amama Shahidina (Oliver-centric; G)

Summary: Missing (and badly needed) scene from 4x13. The moment Nyssa is declared Ra’s al Ghul, she decides to take matters into her own hands regarding her marital status, calling upon Laurel and Felicity to be the witnesses.

Ships: Laurel & Nyssa, Laurel/Nyssa, Oliver & Nyssa, Oliver/Felicity

A/N: The title translates into “in front of two witnesses” in Arabic. Just to be clear - we’ve seen in the show that the League operates with a pseudo-Islamic kind of faith (the evil kind that does not line up with actual Islam), so the process of divorce is loosely based on that - “loosely” being the operative word. It’s by no means identical and that’s deliberate. Just fyi.

Read at AO3

Read at FFN

“You are Ra’s al Ghul,” Oliver says as he hands the ring over to Nyssa. At the same time, he takes the lotus from her.

“Thank you, husband.”

He’s heard that word many times in the last day alone, and even now he has to conceal his wince as Nyssa puts the ring on.

“Ra’s,” the League members say in unison, kneeling immediately. Oliver bows his head, following suit, not just in respect but in shame for handing the ring to Malcolm in the first place.

Then the moment passes and Oliver clears his throat. “If you’ll excuse me, Nyssa… my sister needs the Lotus.”

To his surprise, Nyssa shakes her head. “We have one matter to attend to – my first decree as Ra’s al Ghul.”

“Nyssa, Thea is dying,” Laurel starts to say, and perhaps even more unexpectedly, Nyssa beckons for Laurel to join them.

“This will not take long. I require your presence, Laurel. As a witness.”

But Laurel doesn’t budge, instead folding her arms in defiance. “Is that an order?”

And somehow Nyssa softens a little – Oliver can tell from the way her shoulders become less rigid and the hardened steel in her eyes seems to disappear in an instant.

“No. Merely a request.” After a moment’s thought, Nyssa adds, “A request from a friend to bear witness to something important.”

Laurel sighs and with reluctance, she says, “Fine.”

“Miss Smoak, your presence is also required, if you please,” Nyssa adds. When Oliver meets Felicity’s eyes (her brow is furrowed in a deep frown), he tries to nod assuringly at her, and she wheels herself forward alongside Laurel. John steps forward too, and when Oliver gives him a nod, John goes to stand over Malcolm, make sure he doesn’t try anything.

“I remember you told me once that if you ever became Ra’s, you would do away with the whole kneeling thing,” Laurel comments. “You said it was demeaning.”

Nyssa nods. “Indeed it is.” She turns to address her army. “On your feet.” Then her gaze drops to Malcolm still keeling over in pain. “Apart from you, As-Saher.”

“Nyssa,” Oliver begins, but she holds her hand up to stop him.

“Al-Saheem, ana ismi Nyssa bint Ra’s al Ghul, wa amama shahidina: talaq, talaq, talaq.”

“What…” Felicity says, clearly as confused as Oliver is.

“It means she’s divorced you,” Laurel says before Nyssa can say anything. Oliver and Felicity both raise their eyebrows together in surprise. “What? I do read, you know.”

Oliver looks Nyssa in the eyes. “Is that true? Did you just -”

“Under League law, it is customary for the male to undertake the divorce proceedings, and only then at the behest of Ra’s himself. Since I now hold that title, I call for a change in that ancient custom - and an end to a marriage I never wanted to enter into.”

“That makes three of us,” Felicity says under her breath.

“All of us,” Laurel adds.

“I did not think it possible for this to happen without the death of As-Saher,” Nyssa says, “but it did.”

“Which means you’re not going to try and kill him?” Oliver asks.

“To kill him now would be mere gluttony.”

“It would,” Oliver agrees.

“You’re going to wish you killed me, Oliver,” Malcolm wheezes, “because when I get my hands on you -”

His words are cut off, however, as John punches him in the face and knocks him out.

“I’ve been wanting to do that for years,” John says, breathing heavily.

“So have I,” Laurel and Felicity say at the same time. Oliver shakes his head.

“So… does this mean you’re going to stop calling my future husband your husband?” Felicity asks. Oliver smiles, then (there’s something about Felicity being possessive that always totally does it for him), and so does Nyssa.

“Gladly, Miss Smoak. Gladly.”

“Good,” Felicity says, “because my future sister-in-law’s life is kinda hanging in the balance here.”

“Let’s go,” Laurel says. But Oliver watches as Nyssa catches Laurel’s sleeve.

“I will make things right, Laurel. I promise.”

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5 things I learned about Rosa Parks

Once upon a time there was segregation, Rosa Parks sat on a bus, then there was a boycott and segregation ended. The end.  This is the story that has been regurgitated countless of times through publics schools and its black history curriculum. Ask any student to name a historical black figure and you’ll probably hear Rosa, Martin, and Frederick. If you’re lucky, you may even hear Malcolm. Earlier last week I had the honor of attending the Annual Rosa Parks Luncheon followed by a book discussion and signing of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Dr. Jeanne Theoharis. Here are five facts that I learned about Rosa Parks from these past events

1.)   She was involved in social justice activism before the boycott.

She had worked with the NAACP on the Scottsboro case with trying to prove their innoncence.

2.)   She was broke.

After the boycott, her and her husband were fired and left for broke. She would tour the country to speak about the boycott but would not really ask for money

3.)   She lived in Detroit.

Her and her husband had to leave Alabama and had family in Detroit. There she was still involved with the NAACP and she continued to battle social justice.

4.)   She was down with the black power movement

Although she was a quiet church going lady, she had a fiery side and was angry at social injustice. She admired the young people and their vigor to bring about change. She attended her fair share of black power events

5.)   She was a huge fan of Malcolm X.

Parks had admired Malcolm X and she had met him on a few occasions. One time would be when he delivered his great “Message to the Grassroots” speech.  Malcolm X was also a fan of her too and when they met he signed her program and the two spoke privately for a few minutes. A week later Malcolm X was assassinated .�.