BLACK HISTORY

The Complete Independence of African People in These United States

Malcolm X, born today in 1925, made it plain always

'bumpyjonas…
Momentum
Published in
4 min readMay 20, 2023

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Malcolm X — Public Domain photo

Although equity, equality, and freedom are presented as values upheld by the United States, they have represented an empty promise to those of African descent. In a 1964 speech at the founding rally of the organization of Afro-American unity, and civil rights, Malcolm X asserted that Black people had “to fight whoever gets in our way, to bring about the complete independence of people of African descent here in the Western Hemisphere, and first here in the United States, and bring about the freedom of these people by any means necessary.” While Black people are no longer enslaved, there is a gap between the freedom America purports to provide its citizens and the total freedom Malcolm X alluded to. I often describe Malcolm X’s perspective as one driven by “self-determination, believing that Black people had the right to self-defense, self-worth, and self-determination.”

This is not to say that diversity, equity, and inclusion are irrelevant ideals or goals in America. They are noble concepts to live by and strive for. However, they are not the ultimate goal for Black people living in a society that has oppressed them and their ancestors and robbed them of their socioeconomic place in that society. Here is how Amiri Baraka, the revolutionary poet described the concept that Malcolm X described and the goal:

“The struggle is not simply for ‘equality’ or ‘better jobs’ or ‘better schools’ and the rest of those half-hearted liberal cliches; it is to completely free the black man from the domination of the white man.” (Baraka)

Baraka and Malcolm X are not dismissing these other goals or pursuing a more equitable, diverse society; they are just stating the ultimate destination for African people — liberation. There can be no compromise on this. When civil rights were extended to marginalized groups people, as they were to Black people in America after decades of protest and dissent, it still had its limits. These rights were uniquely American. Malcolm X and Baraka were talking about human rights, rights you have as a human being born into the world free, regardless of the country someone is born in. They were…

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'bumpyjonas…
Momentum

word scratcher, baller, shot caller, born in a city made of chocolate.