On Sunday afternoon, February 21, 1965, just before delivering an address at the Audubon Ballroom, Malcolm X/El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, courageous fighter for the rights of African Americans, Pan Africans and all oppressed people, was assassinated before a crowd of hundreds of people, including his pregnant wife, Betty Shabazz and three of their four children. His message of speaking truth to power lives with all of us today.
Today and through the month of April, Shirley Chisholm and nineteen other remarkable African American women are being honored at the Freedom’s Sisters exhibition at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.
In the 1960′s Shirley Chisholm found the Nation of Islam and its leading spokesperson Malcolm X intellectually and politically exciting. She engaged in lengthy discussions with her father, Charles St. Hill, about the ideas expounded by the Black Muslims. Malcolm X reminded St. Hill of Marcus Garvey, especially with his emphasis on achieving black pride and dignity without any help from whites. No doubt St. Hill reveled in Malcolm’s fearlessness and bravery in standing up to the white establishment.
Her admiration for Malcolm X’s emphasis on black empowerment notwithstanding, Chisholm strongly opposed his early ideas of black separatism, his disparagement of the March on Washington and no doubt would have disagreed with the restrictive and subordinate roles allotted to women in the Nation of Islam.
The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center will host two events to commemorate the life and legacy of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Malcolm X. Both events will take place on Tuesday, February 21, 2011, @ 2pm and @ 7pm.