Category: black power

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Muhammad Ali:

“Malcolm was my brother, friend, mentor and often my confidant. He was a remarkable man whose thirst for truth and righteousness for all people set him on a path that often isolated him from others. But he knew it was the path that he must walk, regardless if he found himself walking alone. Malcolm inspired me with his eloquence and wisdom. He still inspires me. Sometimes the right road isn’t the easy road. It takes courage, conviction and personal sacrifice to stand up for truth and justice. Malcolm was that kind of man.”

September 9 1941 Macon Georgia

South African singer Miriam Makeba is photographed in May 1968 with new husband Stokely Carmichael, leader of the Black Panther Party, outside Carmichael’s mother’s Bronx, NY home. The couple then traveled to their wedding reception, held at the suburban New York home of Tanzanian ambassador Akili B.C. Danieli.

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Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X at the United Nations on March 4, 1964.

Malcolm X arranged for Ali (then Cassius X) to meet with diplomats from Africa and Asia at the United Nations.

Sports writer Murray Robinson noted in the New York Journal American that Malcolm X intended to “make the heavyweight champion an international political figure.” Malcolm and Ali made plans to tour Africa together. Days later on March 6, Elijah Muhammad gave Cassius the name Muhammad Ali and forbade all members to communicate with Malcolm after he was ostracized from the Nation of Islam.

A few months later in May 1964, Muhammad Ali had a chance meeting in Ghana, with his former friend and mentor Malcolm X but he turned his back on him.

“Turning my back on Malcolm,” wrote Ali in his 2004 autobiography The Soul of a Butterfly, “was one of the mistakes that I regret most in my life. I wish I’d been able to tell Malcolm I was sorry, that he was right about so many things.  But he was killed before I got the chance… Malcolm was the first to discover the truth, that color doesn’t make you a devil. It is the heart, soul, and mind that define a person. Malcolm was a great thinker and an even greater friend. I might never have become a Muslim if it hadn’t been for Malcolm. If I could go back and do it over again, I would never have turned my back on him.” 

(Read more about their relationship in the book Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X)

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Ike and Tina Turner photographed by Tony Frank, 1971.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Stokely Carmichael during the March Against Fear in Mississippi, June 1966.

On June 7th, 1966, James Meredith, who had integrated the University of Mississippi in 1962, began the March Against Fear; an attempt to walk from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, to promote black voter registration and defy entrenched racism. On the second day of the march Meredith was shot by an unknown gunman.  Other civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and Stokely Carmichael, arrived to continue the march on his behalf. It was during the March Against Fear that Carmichael, who was leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, first spoke publicly of “Black Power.”

Malcolm X photographed by John Launois in Egypt, August 1964.

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Malcolm X photographed by John Launois, 1964.

The Saturday Evening Post

editorial accompanied a shortened version of Malcolm X’s then unpublished autobiography. The excerpt, titled “I’m Talking to You, White Man,” gave an account of losing a father to violence and a mother to insanity, drifting into crime and drugs, finding faith in prison through the Nation of Islam and its leader Elijah Muhammad, and taking his spiritual journey even farther.

After returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, Malcolm X was asked what had most impressed him. He replied, “The brotherhood: The people of all races, colors, from all over the world coming together as one! It has proved to me the power of the One God.” As a result of what he had seen in the Holy Land, he wrote, “I have turned my direction away from anything that’s racist.” But, in consequence of renouncing racism, “some of the followers of Elijah Muhammad would still consider it a first-rank honor to kill me.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6bryh0IFMhg

Malcolm X photographed by Richard Avedon on March 27, 1963.