Malcolm X Mecca Unisex T-Shirt

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Malcolm X Mecca Unisex T-Shirt

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Finally, a way to show your respect for some of the greatest icons, legends and pioneers that paved the way past and present. Rock this gear in style and bring back the moments that made you, memories they gave you and/or lessons they taught you. Scroll down for a history lesson with some of our favorite clips.

Welcome to the Respect Due family Malcolm X! We salute you.

Features:

  • 4.2 oz., 100% airlume combed and ringspun cotton
  • retail fit
  • unisex sizing
  • shoulder taping
  • side-seamed
  • pre-shrunk
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Malcolm X – Make It Plain (Full PBS Documentary)

 

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Arabicٱلْحَاجّ مَالِك ٱلشَّبَازّ‎, romanizedal-Ḥājj Mālik ash-Shabāzz, May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), better known as Malcolm X, was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement. He is best known for his advocacy for the rights of blacks, in which he controversially indicted white America in the harshest terms for the crimes it committed against black Americans; he was accused of preaching racism and violence. He has since been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, he spent his teenage years living in a series of foster homes following his father’s death and his mother’s hospitalization. Little engaged in several illicit activities, and was eventually sentenced to ten years in prison in 1946 for larceny and breaking and entering. In prison, he joined the Nation of Islam (NOI) and changed his name to Malcolm X because, he later wrote, Little was the name that “the white slavemaster … had imposed upon [his] paternal forebears”. After being paroled in 1952, he quickly became one of the organization’s most influential leaders.

During the civil rights movement, Malcolm X served as the public face of the controversial group for a dozen years, where he advocated for black empowerment, the separation of black and white Americans, and rejected the notion of the civil rights movement for its emphasis on racial integration. He also expressed pride in some of the social achievements he made with the Nation, particularly its free drug rehabilitation program. In the 1950s, Malcolm X endured surveillance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the Nation’s supposed links to Communism.

In the 1960s, Malcolm X began to grow disillusioned with the Nation of Islam, and in particular, with its leader Elijah Muhammad. Expressing many regrets about his time with them, which he had come to regard as largely wasted, he instead embraced Sunni Islam. Malcolm X then began to advocate for racial integration and disavowed racism after completing Hajj, whereby he also became known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. After a brief period of travel across Africa, he publicly renounced the NOI, and founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. (MMI) and the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), Islamic and Pan-African organizations.

Throughout 1964, his conflict with the NOI intensified, and on February 21, 1965, he was assassinated by three of its members. Since his death, Malcolm has become a widely celebrated figure within the African American and Muslim American communities. Malcolm X Day is celebrated in various cities and countries worldwide, and hundreds of streets and schools in the U.S. are named in his honor.

 

Famous Malcolm X speech “Any means necessary”

Malcolm Little was born May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska, the fourth of seven children of Grenada-born Louise Helen Little (née Norton) and Georgia-born Earl Little. Earl was an outspoken Baptist lay speaker, and he and Louise were admirers of Pan-African activist Marcus Garvey. Earl was a local leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and Louise served as secretary and “branch reporter”, sending news of local UNIA activities to Negro World; they inculcated self-reliance and black pride in their children. Malcolm X later said that white violence killed four of his father’s brothers.

Because of Ku Klux Klan threats‍—‌Earl’s UNIA activities were said to be “spreading trouble”—‌the family relocated in 1926 to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and shortly thereafter to Lansing, Michigan. There the family was frequently harassed by the Black Legion, a white racist group Earl accused of burning their family home in 1929.

When Malcolm was six, his father died in what has been officially ruled a streetcar accident, though his mother Louise believed Earl had been murdered by the Black Legion. Rumors that white racists were responsible for his father’s death were widely circulated and were very disturbing to Malcolm X as a child. As an adult, he expressed conflicting beliefs on the question. After a dispute with creditors, Louise received a life insurance benefit (nominally $1,000‍—‌about $17,000 in 2019 dollars) in payments of $18 per month; the issuer of another, larger policy refused to pay, claiming her husband Earl had committed suicide. To make ends meet Louise rented out part of her garden, and her sons hunted game.

In 1937 a man Louise had been dating‍—‌marriage had seemed a possibility‍—‌vanished from her life when she became pregnant with his child. In late 1938 she had a nervous breakdown and was committed to Kalamazoo State Hospital. The children were separated and sent to foster homes. Malcolm and his siblings secured her release 24 years later.

Malcolm Little excelled in junior high school but dropped out after a white teacher told him that practicing law, his aspiration at the time, was “no realistic goal for a nigger”. Later Malcolm X recalled feeling that the white world offered no place for a career-oriented black man, regardless of talent.

From age 14 to 21, Little held a variety of jobs while living with his half-sister Ella Little-Collins in Roxbury, a largely African-American neighborhood of Boston.

After a short time in Flint, Michigan, he moved to New York City’s Harlem neighborhood in 1943, where he engaged in drug dealing, gambling, racketeering, robbery, and pimping. According to recent biographies, Little also occasionally had sex with other men, usually for money. He befriended John Elroy Sanford, a fellow dishwasher at Jimmy’s Chicken Shack in Harlem who aspired to be a professional comedian. Both men had reddish hair, so Sanford was called “Chicago Red” after his hometown and Little was known as “Detroit Red”. Years later, Sanford became famous as Redd Foxx.

Summoned by the local draft board for military service in World War II, he feigned mental disturbance by rambling and declaring: “I want to be sent down South. Organize them nigger soldiers … steal us some guns, and kill us [some] crackers“. He was declared “mentally disqualified for military service”.

In late 1945, Little returned to Boston, where he and four accomplices committed a series of burglaries targeting wealthy white families. In 1946, he was arrested while picking up a stolen watch he had left at a shop for repairs, and in February began serving an eight-to-ten-year sentence at Charlestown State Prison for larceny and breaking and entering.

On February 19, 1965, Malcolm X told interviewer Gordon Parks that the Nation of Islam was actively trying to kill him. On February 21, 1965, he was preparing to address the OAAU in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom when someone in the 400-person audience yelled, “Nigger! Get your hand outta my pocket!” As Malcolm X and his bodyguards tried to quell the disturbance, a man rushed forward and shot him once in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun and two other men charged the stage firing semi-automatic handguns. Malcolm X was pronounced dead at 3:30 pm, shortly after arriving at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. The autopsy identified 21 gunshot wounds to the chest, left shoulder, arms and legs, including ten buckshot wounds from the initial shotgun blast.

One gunman, Nation of Islam member Talmadge Hayer (also known as Thomas Hagan), was beaten by the crowd before police arrived. Witnesses identified the other gunmen as Nation members Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson. All three were convicted of murder in March 1966 and sentenced to life in prison. At trial Hayer confessed, but refused to identify the other assailants except to assert that they were not Butler and Johnson. In 1977 and 1978, he signed affidavits reasserting Butler’s and Johnson’s innocence, naming four other Nation members as participants in the murder or its planning. These affidavits did not result in the case being reopened.

An overturned chair in front of a mural, on which several chalk circles have been drawn around bullet-holes

The Audubon Ballroom stage after the murder. Circles on backdrop mark bullet holes.

Butler, today known as Muhammad Abdul Aziz, was paroled in 1985 and became the head of the Nation’s Harlem mosque in 1998; he maintains his innocence. In prison Johnson, who changed his name to Khalil Islam, rejected the Nation’s teachings and converted to Sunni Islam. Released in 1987, he maintained his innocence until his death in August 2009. Hayer, who also rejected the Nation’s teachings while in prison and converted to Sunni Islam, is known today as Mujahid Halim. He was paroled in 2010.

CNN Special Report, Witnessed: The Assassination of Malcolm X, was broadcast on February 17, 2015. It featured interviews with several people who worked with him, including A. Peter Bailey and Earl Grant, as well as the daughter of Malcolm X, Ilyasah Shabazz.

Funeral

The public viewing, February 23–26 at Unity Funeral Home in Harlem, was attended by some 14,000 to 30,000 mourners. For the funeral on February 27, loudspeakers were set up for the overflow crowd outside Harlem’s thousand-seat Faith Temple of the Church of God in Christ, and a local television station carried the service live.

Among the civil rights leaders attending were John LewisBayard RustinJames FormanJames FarmerJesse Gray, and Andrew Young. Actor and activist Ossie Davis delivered the eulogy, describing Malcolm X as “our shining black prince … who didn’t hesitate to die because he loved us so”:

There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captain‍—‌and we will smile. Many will say turn away‍—‌away from this man, for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man‍—‌and we will smile. They will say that he is of hate‍—‌a fanatic, a racist‍—‌who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them: Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did you would know him. And if you knew him you would know why we must honor him … And, in honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves.

Malcolm X was buried at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Friends took up the gravediggers’ shovels to complete the burial themselves.

Actor and activist Ruby Dee and Juanita Poitier (wife of Sidney Poitier) established the Committee of Concerned Mothers to raise money for a home for his family and for his children’s educations.

Reactions

Reactions to Malcolm X’s assassination were varied. In a telegram to Betty Shabazz, Martin Luther King Jr. expressed his sadness at “the shocking and tragic assassination of your husband”. He said,

While we did not always see eye to eye on methods to solve the race problem, I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had a great ability to put his finger on the existence and root of the problem. He was an eloquent spokesman for his point of view and no one can honestly doubt that Malcolm had a great concern for the problems that we face as a race.

Elijah Muhammad told the annual Savior’s Day convention on February 26 that “Malcolm X got just what he preached”, but denied any involvement with the murder. “We didn’t want to kill Malcolm and didn’t try to kill him”, Muhammad said, adding “We know such ignorant, foolish teachings would bring him to his own end.”

Writer James Baldwin, who had been a friend of Malcolm X’s, was in London when he heard the news of the assassination. He responded with indignation towards the reporters interviewing him, shouting, “You did it! It is because of you—the men that created this white supremacy—that this man is dead. You are not guilty, but you did it … Your mills, your cities, your rape of a continent started all this.”

The New York Post wrote that “even his sharpest critics recognized his brilliance‍—‌often wild, unpredictable and eccentric, but nevertheless possessing promise that must now remain unrealized”. The New York Times wrote that Malcolm X was “an extraordinary and twisted man” who “turn[ed] many true gifts to evil purpose” and that his life was “strangely and pitifully wasted”. Time called him “an unashamed demagogue” whose “creed was violence.”

Outside of the U.S., and particularly in Africa, the press was sympathetic. The Daily Times of Nigeria wrote that Malcolm X would “have a place in the palace of martyrs”. The Ghanaian Times likened him to John BrownMedgar Evers, and Patrice Lumumba, and counted him among “a host of Africans and Americans who were martyred in freedom’s cause”. In China, the People’s Daily described Malcolm X as a martyr killed by “ruling circles and racists” in the United States; his assassination, the paper wrote, demonstrated that “in dealing with imperialist oppressors, violence must be met with violence”. The Guangming Daily, also published in Beijing, stated that “Malcolm was murdered because he fought for freedom and equal rights”. in Cuba, El Mundo described the assassination as “another racist crime to eradicate by violence the struggle against discrimination”.

In a weekly column he wrote for the New York Amsterdam News, King reflected on Malcolm X and his assassination:

Malcolm X came to the fore as a public figure partially as a result of a TV documentary entitled, The Hate that Hate Produced. That title points to the nature of Malcolm’s life and death.

Malcolm X was clearly a product of the hate and violence invested in the Negro’s blighted existence in this nation. …

In his youth, there was no hope, no preaching, teaching or movements of non-violence. …

It is a testimony to Malcolm’s personal depth and integrity that he could not become an underworld Czar, but turned again and again to religion for meaning and destiny. Malcolm was still turning and growing at the time of his brutal and meaningless assassination. …

Like the murder of Lumumba, the murder of Malcolm X deprives the world of a potentially great leader. I could not agree with either of these men, but I could see in them a capacity for leadership which I could respect, and which was just beginning to mature in judgment and statesmanship.

Allegations of conspiracy

Louis Farrakhan in 2005

Within days, the question of who bore responsibility for the assassination was being publicly debated. On February 23, James Farmer, the leader of the Congress of Racial Equality, announced at a news conference that local drug dealers, and not the Nation of Islam, were to blame. Others accused the NYPD, the FBI, or the CIA, citing the lack of police protection, the ease with which the assassins entered the Audubon Ballroom, and the failure of the police to preserve the crime scene. Earl Grant, one of Malcolm X’s associates who was present at the assassination, later wrote:

[A]bout five minutes later, a most incredible scene took place. Into the hall sauntered about a dozen policemen. They were strolling at about the pace one would expect of them if they were patrolling a quiet park. They did not seem to be at all excited or concerned about the circumstances.

I could hardly believe my eyes. Here were New York City policemen, entering a room from which at least a dozen shots had been heard, and yet not one of them had his gun out! As a matter of absolute fact, some of them even had their hands in their pockets.

In the 1970s, the public learned about COINTELPRO and other secret FBI programs established to infiltrate and disrupt civil rights organizations during the 1950s and 1960s. John Ali, national secretary of the Nation of Islam, was believed to have been an FBI undercover agent. Malcolm X had confided to a reporter that Ali exacerbated tensions between him and Elijah Muhammad and that he considered Ali his “archenemy” within the Nation of Islam leadership. Ali had a meeting with Talmadge Hayer, one of the men convicted of killing Malcolm X, the night before the assassination.

The Shabazz family are among those who have accused Louis Farrakhan of involvement in Malcolm X’s assassination. In a 1993 speech Farrakhan seemed to acknowledge the possibility that the Nation of Islam was responsible:

Was Malcolm your traitor or ours? And if we dealt with him like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours? A nation has to be able to deal with traitors and cutthroats and turncoats.

In a 60 Minutes interview that aired during May 2000, Farrakhan stated that some things he said may have led to the assassination of Malcolm X. “I may have been complicit in words that I spoke”, he said, adding “I acknowledge that and regret that any word that I have said caused the loss of life of a human being.” A few days later Farrakhan denied that he “ordered the assassination” of Malcolm X, although he again acknowledged that he “created the atmosphere that ultimately led to Malcolm X’s assassination”.

No consensus has been reached on who was responsible for the assassination. In August 2014, an online petition was started using the White House online petition mechanism to call on the government to release without alteration any files they still held relating to the murder of Malcolm X. In January 2019, members of the families of Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy were among dozens of Americans who signed a public statement calling for a truth and reconciliation commission to persuade Congress or the Justice Department to review the assassinations of all four leaders during the 1960s.

Witnessed: The Assassination of Malcolm X (2015)

3001 Sizing Chart

UNISEX FIT & SIZE CHART

SIZEFITS CHESTLENGTH
XS34"27"
S36"28"
M40"29"
L44"30"
XL48"31"
2X52"32"
3X56"33"
4X62"34"
5x66"35"

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