I've been working on a piece about the legacy black power in the age of Obama for the magazine, so I've been spending a lot of time with Malcolm X. Listening to these old speeches--and re-reading the book after two decades--it's amazing how much is there.
What's most striking, and what was loss I think in future "black leaders," is Malcolm's deft sense of irony. He was wrong about so much, but understood the absurdity of having surrender a portion of your human rights--most prominently the right to self-defense--to secure the basic civil rights, that the rest of the country took for granted.
That was his most cutting critique, and he drove it with an incredibly vicious and acerbic sense of humor. We forget how funny Malcolm was.
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