The More Things Change

On Sunday February 21st 1965 Malcolm X, Nation of Islam min­is­ter and civ­il rights leader was gunned down in the Washington Heights New York Audubon Ballroom as he addressed a gath­er­ing of Muslim fol­low­ers.
According to his­tor­i­cal record­ing of the death of the fire­brand leader he was killed by mem­bers of his own Organization.

Malcolm-x-assassination(image cour­tesy of cbs news)

Sure there were peo­ple with­in the Nation of Islam who were upset by Malcolm’s response that his spir­i­tu­al leader Elijah Muhammad was hav­ing affairs with young women with­in his orga­ni­za­tion.
Nevertheless, there were pow­er­ful forces who want­ed Malcolm gone.
His mes­sage against white suprema­cy, police abuse and racial injus­tice made him pub­lic ene­my num­ber one from many quar­ters opposed to black empow­er­ment.


On Thursday April 4th 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assas­si­nat­ed, alleged­ly killed by a sniper’s bul­let as he stood on a bal­cony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee.
On the occa­sion of the killing of Dr. King Time Magazine said this.

President Johnson’s announce­ment of a major peace offen­sive in Asia, cou­pled with his renun­ci­a­tion of anoth­er term, raised antic­i­pa­tion through­out the world that the long agony of VietNam might soon be end­ed.
Even as that hope blos­somed, an old­er blight on the American con­science burst through with the capri­cious­ness of a spring freeze. In Memphis, through the bud­ding branch­es of trees sur­round­ing a tawdry room­ing house, a white sniper’s bul­let cut down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., pre-emi­nent voice of the just aspi­ra­tions and long-suf­fer­ing patience of black America.

Throughout America’s tor­rid and tor­tured his­to­ry the list of black lead­ers who have been slaugh­tered for dar­ing to speak out is long and in some cas­es unknow­able.
Each and every life snuffed out had the same impor­tance as that of King and Malcolm, we hon­or each and every life as we do their more well know con­tem­po­raries.

The jour­ney to peace­ful coex­is­tence based on mutu­al respect and human dig­ni­ty have, to this day remained an elu­sive dream 49 years after Martin Luther King’s light was extin­guished and 52 years after the fire which was Malcolm X, was doused with cru­el extin­guish­ing bile of com­plic­i­ty and hatred.