Bernie Hayes

Malcolm X knew the significance of education. He memorized the dictionary, read the Bible and began studying everything from archeology to genetics.

Named Malcolm Little by his parents, he was born on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. Malcolm’s father, Earl Little, was an outspoken supporter of Marcus Garvey.

Malcolm was appointed a minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam. He established new mosques in Detroit, Harlem and other cities. He was largely credited with increasing the Nation of Islam’s membership from 500 in 1952 to 30,000 in 1963.

Malcolm X was a minister of the Nation of Islam until March 1964, when he left the Nation of Islam and formed the Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. Some suggest Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965 while delivering a speech in New York City because he left the Nation. It was the first day of National Brotherhood Week.

Norman Butler, Thomas Johnson and Talmage Hayer were convicted of Malcom X's murder and all three were sentenced to life in prison.

If Malcom were alive today, would he be a university professor? Would he be leading some progressive organization? Would Malcolm oppose the way some have disregarded the intellectual and cultural contributions of African Americans to American society, including blues, jazz, gospel music, poetry and R&B?

Would he be commenting on the empowering effects of some of the hip-hop videos that portray women in negative connotations and how some of these videos changed the attitudes of those who viewed them? Would he be marching and posting signs that read “We Must Stop the Killing”?

Fifty-one years after his death, the influence of Malcolm X is still motivating and influencing individuals all around the world to fight for their human rights. If not for the unjust murder of Malcolm X, perhaps this civil rights leader would have celebrated his 91st birthday on Thursday, May 19 with his family and friends.

Or do you think he would be holding a political rally discussing Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? What do you think he would be doing?

Throughout his life, Malcolm X viewed the survival and political, social and economic liberation of African Americans as one of the leading goals of his existence. What would he do, say or think if he was here today to witness the madness in some inner-city neighborhoods, and recognize that the persons he tried to save are the chief victims of this wave of violence perpetrated by black criminals?

Malcolm said, "You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom. I am neither a fanatic nor a dreamer. I am a black man who loves peace, and justice, and loves his people."

Who do you think Malcolm at 91 would be today?

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday night at 10 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 5:30 p.m. on KNLC-TV Ch. 24. I can be reached by fax at 314-837-3369, e-mail at berhay@swbell.net or on Twitter @berhay.

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