Celebrating Malcolm X: A Legacy of Organizing

In celebration of the birth and powerful contributions of Malcolm X during his lifetime, this excerpt from University of Washington student-writer for “The Daily” examines the role of Malcolm as a powerful historic leader who never received, nor needed, the mainstream recognition that he deserved.

Excerpt from “The Values of Malcolm X in Modern America: Most of My Heroes Don’t Appear on the Calendar” by Dylan Teague McDonald:

“When young people, especially black youth, are constantly marginalized and prejudged by the education and employment systems, a figure like Malcolm X appeals to a fundamental desire to speak and be heard. These times make so many people feel powerless; why do anything less than promote a figure who empowers and inspires the disenfranchised? Malcolm’s message makes many people uncomfortable because it involves actively pursuing that which one deserves.

When, in the spirit of equality, you have been placed at a disadvantage, you do everything you can to level the playing field. You do not wait patiently to be given that which is yours, and you do not thank those who withhold it from you when you finally get it. To quote the man himself: ‘How can you thank a man for giving you what’s already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what’s already yours? You haven’t even made progress, if what’s being given to you, you should have had already. That’s not progress.'”