... the other Black experience

Black History Month: Give Malcolm X A National Holiday Already?

It's pretty muck Black History Month all-year long around here, but today we'd like to talk about the suggestion that Malcolm X deserves the recognition of having a federal holiday in his name. Time Magazine recently published a piece by Touré, in which the writer states:
"We should seriously consider a national holiday celebrating the life of a man who indelibly changed America: Malcolm X. (...) He held firm to his principles but was also strong enough to re-evaluate his beliefs and change when he deemed change is right. (...) He grew to understand it took all types to make the human family complete and explicitly rejected racial hatred and espoused a universal law of justice. (...) Malcolm merely proposed that oppressed people had a right to armed self-defense (...) the FBI noted its difficultly in neutralizing him because he did not conspire to break laws and lived by a stringent moral code (...) His militant advocacy was as stunning as it was necessary, to force the issue and imbue millions with the confidence and spirit and strength needed to overcome."
While Malcolm X mostly fought for human rights, some readers got very angry and seemed threatened by the idea, arguing that he advocated violence. Can we ignore the fact that he was urging Black people to defend themselves against the organized oppression (lynching, murdering, raping, etc.) they were subjected to, and the fact that his views evolved over time? Given the times he lived in, wasn't his anger understandable and/or necessary? Should there be a Malcolm X federal holiday?
We'd love to hear what you think. Let us know in the comments! - L C-D

"We declare our right on this Earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being (...) which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary". - Malcolm X

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Comment by ossie g. on February 12, 2012 at 7:05pm


Comment by Ketina on February 12, 2012 at 5:58pm

Yes, we should have a national holiday in his honor, but the government needs to take out columbus day as a holiday as well.

Comment by ABZyrd on February 9, 2012 at 6:22am
OssIe G is 1000% on point. NUF SAID!
Comment by ossie g. on February 3, 2012 at 12:06am

WE shouldnt look to congress or any other american political organization to make his birthday OFFICIAL. WE need to do it OURSELF(NEGRO).  BROTHER MALCOM stood by his WORD. HE took no shorts. When he said WE should arm ourselves, that was just commom sense . HE said NOTHING that wasnt TRUE. Everything BROTHER MALCOM was fighting for back then WE are still fighting for TODAY.  

Comment by Mackenzi bell on February 3, 2012 at 12:02am

I totally agree that he should have his own holiday but it won't happen because he still scares the shit out of white people.  They know him as the black leader that wanted to kill them.  They don't recognize nor understand his position on self defense and equality. 

Comment by Fashionfreak on February 2, 2012 at 3:30pm

He simply promoted self-defense and if it meant violence then he was all for it. What else was there to do if someone was out to kill you its either: you die or they die. Of course its not THAT simple but that is the easiest way I could put it. I really do admire Malcolm X and a national holiday would be awesome. I prefer him over Martin Luther King Jr imo... 

Comment by BK_Malik on February 1, 2012 at 10:34pm

The only things holding this back are ignorance of the change he made in his life after returning from Hajj and our will to make it happen. We have had NO leader as truthful, uncompromising, and fearless.


Comment by Trysta_Ismene on February 1, 2012 at 1:23pm

Absolutely. It's fascinating that the fear that certain parties had/have in fully recognizing his contributions has stemmed from his supposedly violent approach to civil rights when, as was stated in the excerpt above, "he did not conspire to break laws and lived by a stringent moral code." The right to bear arms is a very American precept, so in essence, his belief system encompassed the constitutional rights that everyone, Black and White, is entitled to. The potential use of these means in an effort to engender basic civil liberties for Black people within the context of the time was not a wrong idea, the suppression was simply the result of a fear of uprisings. Obviously, had there been civil rights in place, there'd have been no need for such discourse.

Comment by Dan Holmes on February 1, 2012 at 12:56pm

If you are in the Washington, DC Metro Area then please check out the local Malcolm X Day celebrations:

Comment by Mer on February 1, 2012 at 12:55pm

I love Malcolm as much as the next Negro, but I don't think he should have, nor shall he ever have, a national day of honor. He was far to polarizing for whites who still believe he thought them all the enemy. They didn't want to understand his message, so they cherry picked information limning him as an ultra-violent black nationalist. He wasn't a politician. He didn't command the same kind of respect from white America that MLK did. It's sad, but he'll never garner the props that he's due thanks to his early relationship with the NOI. 

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