The Importance of Brother Malcolm X 50 Years After His Assassination

malcolm angry

As any regular reader of my blog knows by now, I have tremendous respect for brother Malcolm X. In addition, according to my studies, I credit brother Malcolm with being a key ideological catalyst of the Black Arts & Consciousness  and Black Power Movements, the formation of Black Student Unions on college campuses, and their successful demand for Black Studies Departments throughout the nation. I’ve written a number of articles about my posthumous mentor, including one that discusses his general significance, one explaining meaningful ways to honor his legacy, an article that explores poetry written in tribute to him, and two fictional accounts of my interactions with brother Malcolm (Interview I and Interview II).

This is both Black History Month and more immediately, the 50th anniversary of Malcolm’s assassination. And while brother Malcolm remains a powerful icon for many of us (in one poll, 84% of Black youth between the ages of 15-24 viewed Malcolm as a “hero for Black people”), he is also still largely misunderstood and misinterpreted.

brothers talking about malcolm

Top Row from Left to right: Kitwana Tyhimba, Agyei Tyehimba, and Ishmael Bey Bottom left to right: Yusef Bunchy Shakur, Ngoma Hill, Jerome Walker

For these reasons, I asked 5 brothers – fellow activists and educators – from around the county and whom I deeply respect – to host a conversation about Malcolm X. They agreed, and we held a live and televised discussion about brother Malcolm over the internet on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. We did experience a few technical glitches, but the commentary was highly informative and powerful! I’m still receiving messages via Facebook, email and text from people expressing their appreciation for the show, and asking us to do more.

Many thanks to brothers Ishmael Bey (Syracuse/Florida), Ngoma Hill (Virgina/New York), Jerome Walker (Syracuse, NY), Kitwana Tyhimba (Oakland, California), and Yusef Bunchy Shakur (Detroit, Michigan) for their powerful insights and for all the work they do advocating for Black folk. I encourage you to view the recorded discussion below, and to support these good brothers in their various endeavors. In their own ways, they all are implementing the ideas of brother Malcolm and continuing his legacy.

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Agyei Tyehimba is an educator, activist and author from Harlem, N.Y. Agyei is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. In April of 2014, he released Truth for our Youth: A Self-Empowerment Book for Teens. Agyei has appeared on C-SpanNY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.” 

Agyei earned his Bachelor’s Degree in sociology from Syracuse University, his Master’s Degree in Africana Studies from Cornell University, and his Master’s Degree in Afro-American Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak or provide consultation for your organization, please contact him at truself143@gmail.com.

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