On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz said her father must not be “written out of history”.
Speaking at the Harlem headquarters of the National Action Network (NAN), about 20 New York City blocks from where the civil rights leader was killed, Shabazz called the group to action in the spirit of her father, who took the name El Hajj Malik El Shabazz in the 1950s.
“He wanted to uplift his people, re-liberate his people, he understood that they had purpose and life and had to ensure that we empowered the next generation,” she said. “When we understand history we understand that we can’t sit back and wait for someone to do something for us. It’s our responsibility. We have to do it.”
Shabazz, herself a civil rights activist, also urged her audience to make sure that schools’ “educational curriculums are inclusive of our history, and that it’s inclusive all the time, not just during the month of February [Black History Month], but that it’s part of our American educational curriculum.”
NAN officials spoke at the rally about a need to campaign against proposed changes to curriculums, in Texas for instance, which they said would sanitize or even whitewash black history.
Not yet three years old when her father was shot dead in Harlem in 1965, Shabazz said she was inspired into activist work by her mother, Betty Shabazz, who was “committed to making sure her husband was not written out of history”.
Reverend Al Sharpton also spoke, standing trim and tailored before a casual crowd of NAN regulars and locals, some of whom said they lived in the projects nearby. The audience was notably absent of younger activists, such as those who frequent Black Lives Matter protestsprompted by the police killings of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley last year.
Sharpton, who founded NAN in 1991, remarked on a wide range of topics, including the group’s protest of overwhelmingly white Academy Award voters and his recent tete-a-tete with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on Saturday Night Live. Sharpton used former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who recently said President Barack Obama does not love America, as a punchline: “Rudy first of all needs a hug.”
Source: The Guardian | Alan Yuhas in New York