moving beyond the “x”: a legacy of transformation

May 19, 2007 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Activism, Black Folks, el hajj malik el shabazz, malcolm x, spirit | 1 Comment

today, may 19th, marks the 82nd birthday of el-hajj malik el-shabazz (formerly known as malcolm x). his message of self-determination is still alive and continues to resonate as an ideal. and while the popular representations of his life and example are of his eloquent delivery, rhetorical genius and “tell it like it is” stance, all of these, in my opinion, are the superficial layer of a core much more significant and fundamental to who he was. he was a “student of life” committed to discovering the truth for his spirit. for him personal development was the fuel of his life’s work and this personal development was inextricably linked to community development. how else could he have been as effective as an orator and convincing as a leader had he not transformed himself from the destructive vices of drugs, alcohol and hustling? this honest evolution continues to inspire oppressed and marginalized peoples of the world, particularly youth.

he was as unafraid of publicly “speaking truth to power” as he was dedicated to self improvement. with an inner compass set on growth, he was able to carefully trek a terrain of integrity, never getting lost in dogma. in death he is probably more loved and celebrated than many living leaders, partly because he recognized & accepted his citizenship to the human race without diluting his love of black folks. it was che who said: “the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love”.

“don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. there was a time when you didn’t know what you know today”

he was a remarkable thinker, whose critical thinking was holistic, incessantly progressive and expanded outside the context of race and geography. furthermore, his ideas extended as far inwardly as they did outwardly. for me, malik el-shabazz’s legacy is that of on-going critical self-appraisal, which is why he was able to change, or better yet, evolve his thinking and personal practices. from malcolm little to big/detroit red to malcolm x, he was always on an internal journey through diverse settings. the name he left us with: el-hajj malik el-shabazz serves a demarcation for a new growth stage. and every stag is laden with examples on how to rise above adversity.

“there is no better teacher than adversity. every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”

this holistic journey of transformation is the legacy! his journey inspires me to move beyond my unknowns, evaluating where i am and where i would like to be. and then defining for myself a ‘logical’ paths by which to arrive there -all along the way checking for more efficient and effective ways. if he were alive to today, i’m certain he would still be improving himself while sharing the fruits of that development with the people. we could learn much from any stage of his development, but i would think that we miss the point if we get stuck on the “x.” no matter how often his statements are used, they seem to become cliche, or lose their stopping power. whether its “by any means necessary” or the more poignant “a man who stands for nothing will fall for anything” i’m still led to do a quick philosophical self-eval. happy birthday!

“i for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they’ll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action.”

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  1. hi maurice i was just looking at the mothers day race spectacle and just smiling i know that you are still in Brazil. wow! that sounds big like when you went to Ghana. yesterday, today and tomorrow
    (smile) your nephew had an accident in school yesterday he was in gym and he turned around too fast and wrenched his neck. of course he received first aid in school cold pack etc. but i picked him up and brought him home. he had discomfort. of course he wanted me to call you because you “would know exactly what to do”! so i had to remind him that you were in Brazil with your students on a trip. and i assured him that i would e-mail you about the accident as soon as possible. i gave him tylenol and a cold pack for discomfort and some food and love. he slept until i was getting ready for work then i repeated the sequence before i left and he wanted to you to know the process (smile). we are blessed with him in our lives a true lawyer for the people (smile). he did go to school today which is the last day. there was good improvement and he sleep well last night we again applied the cold pack gave a good breakfast. i made lollipops for the class and that made him feel special. today crystal drove him to school and he will be dismissed at 11:30 am today. and as i said before he will start master Sabu on July 3rd i also told crystal to make an appointment with the pediatrician for a physical be for starting camp and to double check his neck i know that you are getting in some experience for yourself and i do remember you wanting to go to Brazil with the guys at one time to see the Brazilian girls. yes i was listening (smile). just imagine, you will see them but your students’ views and experiences are of a greater importance — what is life any way? just sending you love across the waters and checking your page. oh today is our anniversary i will be off from work until saturday. i hope you will remember to register shaimiq and crystal for swimming at the y for the evening beginners session ok i will see when you return. GodLove and Life is Precious filled with Moments of Your Lifetime MAKE IT HAPPEN! MOMMY


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