A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."
Saturday, June 1, 2013
New York Times: Harlem Memorial for Malcolm X's Grandson
Michael Appleton for The New York Times
Ilyasah Shabazz spoke during the memorial service Thursday for Malcolm Shabazz at First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem.
“He idolized his grandfather,” Ms. Shabazz told about 250 people gathered at First Corinthian Baptist Church, where her sister Malaak is a member. Mr. Shabazz, 28, became fond of telling people, even relatives: “I am the seventh descendant of Malcolm X, and I am his first male heir.”
“And we would look at him like, ‘Really, Buddy?’ ” Ms. Shabazz said, eliciting laughter. “But it turns out that Malcolm would step into his grandfather’s shoes.”
At the memorial service, family and friends remembered Mr. Shabazz, who was fatally beaten on May 9 in Mexico City, as a reflection of his grandfather. They also sought to celebrate the man he was becoming, looking beyond the troubles of his youth: the fire he started at 12, which killed his grandmother, Malcolm X’s widow Betty Shabazz; his stints in prison; and his own violent end.
The police in Mexico City arrested two waiters at a downtown bar for his murder, in what the city prosecutor called a dispute over a bill. Mr. Shabazz had traveled there to meet with a labor activist and friend who had been deported.
In recent years, Mr. Shabazz had traveled throughout the United States and abroad for speaking engagements. The trips allowed him to escape from the shadow cast by his tumultuous youth and to step into a role that his grandfather played later in life, that of a human-rights activist. Mr. Shabazz spoke about social justice and rallied support for black causes worldwide.
“His sincerity connected with people instantly,” said Etan Thomas, a former player for the N.B.A., who recalled the time he and Mr. Shabazz spoke to about 500 young men at the prison on Rikers Island as part of President Obama’s fatherhood initiative. “That’s power.”
“Malcolm,” he added, “was just scratching the surface of where he wanted to go.”
Others spoke of the paradox of the family. Mr. Shabazz’s great-grandfather, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and supporter of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. In 1931, his body was reportedly found lying across trolley tracks in Lansing, Mich. Then, in 1965, his grandfather, Malcolm X, was assassinated inside a ballroom at the Audubon Theater in Washington Heights, at age 39.
The Shabazz family, like the Kennedys and the Rockefellers, has been marked by tragedy, said the Rev. Conrad Tillard, a former minister of the Nation of Islam’s Mosque No. 7, where Malcolm X preached. “They have gone through so much and suffered so greatly,” he said. “But in spite of all of the challenges and suffering, they continue to hold on.”
Other speakers included the author and activist Sister Souljah; Adelaide L. Sanford, vice chancellor emeritus of the New York State Board of Regents; and Mayor Ernest D. Davis of Mount Vernon, in Westchester County. There were spoken word performances, and the R&B singer Jaheim sang a song he had written for Mr. Shabazz.
Relatives and close friends shared what Mr. Shabazz’s grandmother, Betty Shabazz, often said: “Find the good, and praise it.”
Mr. Shabazz was remembered as a bookworm, a charmer, and a young warrior.
The service started with a procession of African drummers, followed by Mr. Shabazz’s two aunts and other relatives. During the two-hour service, a 10-minute video presentation was played on a giant screen, entitled “Malcolm Latif Shabazz.” One segment featured an interview with Press TV, a news outlet in Iran, about the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida.
Mr. Shabazz expressed his sympathy, then noted, after he listed about a half-dozen other names, that Trayvon Martin’s death was not an isolated episode. “There are hundreds of black men that are getting murdered throughout the country,” he said, his eyes intent, “with impunity.”