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Americans commemorating Malcolm X’s 50th death anniversary

21 February 2015 21:56

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Americans are commemorating the 50th death anniversary of African-American Muslim minister and human rights leader Malcolm X, who was assassinated in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.

One of Malcolm X’s six daughters, Ilyasah Shabazz, as well as US Rep. Charles Rangel and other elected officials are scheduled to address a crowd of hundreds of activists, actors, and politicians on Saturday at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in Harlem.

The 39-year-old Muslim leader, whose full name was El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was shot to death as he was preparing to address a large crowd on February 21, 1965.

Malcolm X’s was a powerful voice for racial equality in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s — a beacon of light preaching equality and self-love for African Americans in a country plagued by racial segregation.

Malcolm X preached self-empowerment to African Americans first for Elijah Muhammad’s “Nation of Islam” organization, and then broadened his message to the empowerment of all oppressed peoples after turning to true Islam following his pilgrimage to Mecca.

As his audience and power grew, he also attracted the attention of US law enforcement agencies.

Malcolm X was killed while speaking in a situation that most experts now agree required the complicity of the New York police and other law enforcement agencies.

The human rights leader had been traveling extensively through Asia and Europe, speaking to African governments and trying to build coalitions and forge agreements based on commonalities.

In an interview with The Associated Press on the eve of the anniversary observance, Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, said, “One of the great things about Malcolm is that he redefined the civil rights movement to include a human rights agenda.”

“So while we are focusing on integrating schools, integrating housing and all these other things, Malcolm said that we demand our human rights ‘by any means necessary.’ And that means … that we have to address these problems. That we have to identify them, and absolutely discuss them,” she stated.

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