February 21 2015 marked 50 years since the assassination of outspoken African-American Muslim stalwart Malik al Shabazz. Malcolm X, as he was also known, was gunned down at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem in 1965 while preparing to give a speech.
As an NPR blog notes, Al Shabazz can be considered as one of the great public speakers of all-time.
And while Malcolm X may have had a natural leaning toward dramatic interpretation, for him public speaking was a learned skill. At the age of 21, he was a middle school dropout and prison inmate who, “didn’t know a verb from a house.” Three months shy of his 40th birthday, he was an international media presence, a voracious reader, tough debater and a leading proponent of black nationalism.”
Below we reproduce some of al Shabazz’s iconic words, many of which may still ring a poignant bell today.