Malcolm X at Oxford University

Touching down in London on December 1st 1964, Malcolm X spent some of the next few days preparing for his most significant UK appearance, an event at Oxford university on the third. The sudden union had invited him to defend, in a formal debate Barry Gold water’s statement that “extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virture”. The BBC televised the event, which featured three speakers for the motion and three against it. In his presentation,  Malcolm once again carefully separated himself from his Black Muslim  past, emphasising his commitment to orthodox Islam. He argued that since the U.S. government had failed to safeguard the lives and property of African Americans over several centuries, it was not unreasonable for blacks to use extreme measures to defend their liberties. Yet he tried to ground this sentiment in a multiracial approach. “I firmly believe in my heart,” he declared, that when the black man acts “to use any means necessary to bring about his freedom or put halt to that injustice, I don’t think he’ll be by himself, I for one will join in with anyone, I don’t care what colour you are, as long as you want to change this miserable condition”.

Source Malcolm X, Manning M, pg 391

Malcolm X said in his debate that he uses the name X as he didn’t want to  use the slave master’s name. Malcolm said that black people in the west did not know their surname. Slavery took black people’s identification, lowered black people to the levels of animals. Black people were bought and sold in slave markets. Which wall street was in America, skeletons of slaves were found there. Black people were worked as animals, as you don’t pay animals for their work, black people as slaves were not paid for their labour. Black people were stripped of their families, as animals are, their dignity and name. So now black people have to endure this reminder as they see Rhodes statue at Oxford university where Malcolm X spoke so elequently of the oppression of black people. The statue stands for white elitism to show who is in control.




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