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Why Now is the Time to Celebrate Malcolm X

Why Now is the Time to Celebrate Malcolm X

– E.D. Mondaine; President, NAACP Portland / May, 19th 2018

It must have been a very sad and difficult day for those who insisted on believing the world was flat to discover that the world is indeed round. But round it is, and this radical paradigm shift reminds us that throughout history the illusions of human culture must at times give way to proper alignment with the demands of the real world.

The legacy of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) represents one such shift, and today his legacy is more relevant than ever. Because like the discovery of our spherical Earth, his life and his work represented a movement away from the tired and unjust distortions of human ideology and toward a restorative relationship with the truth that sets all people free. This can be summed up in the three critical components that Malcolm X believed would strengthen and fortify the African American community. They were:

  1. The need for Blacks to become educated,
  2. The rights of Blacks to defend themselves, and
  3. The urgent requirement of economic development in the Black community.

In his critically acclaimed autobiography, Malcolm X recites his own journey to these positions. He reflects on his life and the lives of his various personas (like “Detroit Red,” and “Hustler”) recounting how he dated White women, lied, cheated and became a drug-selling brawler, all to remove himself from the pains of poverty he had experienced as a child. Climbing from the pit of oppression, Malcolm X eventually converted to Islam while serving time in prison for burglary. Upon his release from prison in the 1950s he became a steadfast disciple of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and overtime he became a bitter taste in the mouth of White America, unleashing unabashed criticism of classism and White supremacy.

Naturally this gave momentum to a White backlash already moving against Martin Luther King’s gentler and less radical criticisms of American public life. Adding insult to injury, Malcolm X’s polished, pearlized echoes of The Honorable Elijah Mohamed’s “blue-eyed devil dog” (the Myth of Yacob’s portrayal of White people) and his frequent insistence that Black communities had to be protected “by any means necessary,” marked him as a threat to White society. Soon the name “Malcolm X” represented a rebel force that White nationalists feared as an imminent danger to the United States.

But Malcolm X’s thinking continued to evolve. In 1964, he began to question the Nation of Islam’s leader. Unearthing the truth of Muhammed’s improprieties, and pushing back against what he saw as a flawed ideology, eventually he parted ways with the Nation of Islam. This break led him to a pilgrimage in Mecca – a requirement of all Muslims who are physically able – after which Malcolm X rejected the racially divisive teachings of the Nation of Islam. In a letter written at the time, he said that seeing Muslims of “all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans,” helped him to see the Islamic faith as a way in which racial problems could be reconciled. But it also helped him distill the critical components listed above, and this refined focus, and his dedicated example, became his great gift to American history.

Reverend E.D. Mondainé
Reverend E.D. Mondainé

Malcolm X spent the rest of his life trying to build a new organization, all the while being harassed by serious and credible death-threats. Ultimately, on February 21st, 1965, at the beginning of an Organization of Afro-American Unity meeting in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom, Malcolm X was gunned down by assassins affiliated with the Nation of Islam. Later, in eulogizing Malcolm X, the great African American thespian Ossie Davis dubbed Malcolm X, “A prince … our own Black, shining prince, who didn’t hesitate to die because he loved us all.” But I am even more moved by Malcolm’s own words in the conclusion of his autobiography: “If I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America, then all of the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine.”

This is why we celebrate Malcolm X. He reframed the work of empowering marginalized communities not just as a dream, but as an immanent reality that must be lived into in the here and now. Today our survival depends on seeing the world in its three-dimensional, rounded, and fully realized existence – understanding that we are all of us the same distance from its luminous center. In the name of righteousness, now is the time we must walk the unbroken circle that binds us together. Joining our commitment as we join hands around this miraculous, shared, and collective globe.


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Political Action 5/16/2018

Political Action 5/16/2018

Read the Meeting Minutes…


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Ilyasah Shabazz Comes to Portland to Help NAACP Honor Her Father, Malcolm X

Ilyasah Shabazz Comes to Portland to Help NAACP Honor Her Father, Malcolm X

Honoring the memory of Malcolm X

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The NAACP Portland chapter invites Oregonians to join us for a week of events Honoring the memory of Malcolm X.  On Saturday May 26th, 2018, the NAACP is hosting “The X-Factor” (Malcolm X Brunch), with his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz as the Keynote speaker.

“A lot has happened to our communities in the last year and we truly believe that the power of the civil rights movement, and the legacy of Malcolm X are as important now as they were then.”, says E. D. Mondaine, President of the NAACP Portland Chapter.  He goes on to say, “The goal of this brunch will serve to bring the African American community and leaders together so that they can begin focusing on the same goals:  Celebrating Malcolm X; The Man, his mission, his message; and taking our rightful place in governing our futures.”  Mondaine’s hope is that this will be the kind of event that provokes conversation on establishing unity.

The NAACP Portland Chapter 1120 is a 501(c)4 organization that is staffed by volunteers and operates from the donations of membership and community. As a civic and civil service organization, they depend on the partnerships of the community to help assure that equality, inclusion, and justice are common place for all peoples that represent this beloved city of Portland.

Our hope is that you would help us reach our fundraising goals by sponsorship and contribution to support the very important work of civic and civil equality, so that diversity and inclusion is made an absolute for people of color.

Along with the X-Factor celebration, the NAACP Portland will be proclaiming May 19th as Malcolm X day in the city of Roses. The proclamation will take place in the new NAACP offices located in the Lloyd Center Mall at 10am on Malcolm’s birthday of May 19th.

There will also be a night of readings from local spoken word artist Mic Crenshaw, Musical acts by Eldon “T” Jones of N-Touch, Norman Sylvester and many more on Wednesday the 23rd, in North Portland’s Celebration Tabernacle Church

PURCHASE TICKETS AND TABLES HERE

Week of May 19th-26th Events:

  • May 19th @ 10am: Malcolm X Day Proclamation @ PDX NAACP Office
  • May 23rd @ 7pm: Portland’s NAACP Honors the Legacy of Malcolm X with a Night of Readings | @ Celebration Tabernacle Church
  • May 26th @ 10am: Malcolm X Factor Brunch w/ Special Guest Ilyasah Shabazz | @ Double Tree Hotel Lloyd Center