A. Peter Bailey, an acclaimed journalist, author, lecturer and former editor of Ebony magazine, will lead a discussion on the life and legacy of Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little, May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska), Friday, Feb. 20 — the 55th anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination at the age of 39.
The tribute, hailed as an event of “positive Blacks folks in action,” takes place at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library Auditorium, 1630 7th Street NW, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Bailey, a founding member of The Organization of Afro-American Unity, organized in 1964 by Malcolm X., remains one of the last people to speak with Malcolm X on the day of his murder, Feb. 21, 1965 and served as one of the pallbearers at his funeral.
Bailey’s insights can be seen in the new Netflix six-part series, “Who Killed Malcolm X?” Due in part to the series’ powerful revelations, the Manhattan District Attorney has reopened an investigation into the assassination of Malcolm X.
Fifteen hundred people attended Malcolm X’s funeral in Harlem on Feb. 27, 1965, at the Faith Temple Church of God in Christ (now Child’s Memorial Temple Church of God in Christ). After the ceremony, friends took the shovels away from the waiting gravediggers to bury Malcolm X themselves.
In the eulogy for Malcolm X’s funeral, delivered by Ossie Davis, the actor offered his reasons why African Americans should forever honor his legacy and sacrifice to humanity.
“Here — at this final hour, in this quiet place — Harlem has come to bid farewell to one of its brightest hopes — extinguished now, and gone from us forever … There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain — and we will smile … They will say that he is of hate — a fanatic, a racist — who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle. And we will answer and say to them: ‘Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did you would know him. And if you knew him you would know why we must honor him.’
Malcolm was our manhood, our living, Black manhood. This was his meaning to his people. And, in honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves … And we will know him then for what he was and is — a Prince — our own Black, shining Prince — who didn’t hesitate to die, because he loved us so.”