Is Black Power Dead?

May 13, 2011  |  

(ColorLines) — When Malcolm X was assassinated on a sunny winter’s day in 1965, many thought black radicalism would die with him. “Malcolm is our only hope. You can depend on him to tell it like it is and to give Whitey hell,” one man told the New York Post. But the movement did not die in the Audubon ballroom that tragic day. It in fact catapulted, sparking talk of revolution in black America and third world nations around the world and blooming into a black nationalist movement that helped shape the politics of race for decades to come.  Recently, there has been a lot of debate about Malcolm’s life and politics, due to a new biography, “The Reinvention of Malcolm X,” by the late scholar Manning Marable. The book depicts an activist in constant metamorphosis, a man who went from being the target of the U.S. government’s anti-intelligence programs to being heralded on a postal stamp 35 years later. However, while the debate rages on about the reinvention of Malcolm, very few have questioned whether and how the black nationalist movement he helped foster matters today, or whether it should matter.

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