I think this montage gives a good sense of Malcolm's appeal to black folks at the time, and down through the generations. The sad subtext of this country's systemic white supremacy, was/is the pervasive sense that black folks were, by nature, ugly, stupid, lazy and cowardly.
Malcolm X was arguably the first black nationalist leader to truly take advantage of mass communication. To see someone on, say, "Meet The Press" boldly putting voice to all the rage we had felt, not simply over the physical manifestations of racism, but it's broad cultural manifestations, boldly declaring that we are beautiful, intelligent, diligent and brave, that we have the same right to defend our person as any other human being must have been a medicine for black people.
I know it made it easier for me to get through the week--and that was in 1992. It must have been that much more crucial in 1962.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.