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Malcolm X’s daughter speaks out at CSUN

first_imgNORTHRIDGE – On Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X walked onto a stage in New York’s Audubon Ballroom to preach his message of black freedom by any means necessary. It was a message he had delivered hundreds of times. But within moments, three members of the Nation of Islam rushed the stage. He was shot 15 times. “This was not somebody on a grassy knoll,” his eldest daughter, Attallah Shabazz, told an audience Monday in CSUN’s Northridge Center. “This was in a room like this.” Shabazz spoke to about 250 students and faculty – black and white, Muslim and non-Muslim – about her father’s legacy as an African-American and Muslim leader. “He didn’t leave this Earth knowing he would matter 42 years later,” she said. “That is a conversation I have with God: That if you live right, you will be remembered.” Shabazz was invited by the Muslim Student Association to highlight California State University, Northridge’s events for Black History Month. The event, co-sponsored by the Black Student Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, included a screening of the Malcolm X PBS documentary “Make It Plain,” followed by a half-hour Q&A with Shabazz. “A lot of us wonder why a Muslim organization (is) doing an event for Black History Month,” association President Zabie Mansoory said in a brief introduction. “An interesting piece of information: 40 percent of Muslims in America are African-American.” The film spanned Malcolm’s life – from teenage hustler to Nation of Islam spokesman to the movement’s antagonist and finally its victim – showing how radical his message was at a time when Martin Luther King Jr. was preaching nonviolence. Malcolm, whom the film said evaded service in World War II by telling the draft board he wanted to organize black soldiers to kill whites, told African-Americans that if they weren’t willing to fight for themselves, no one would be. “Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet? … Who taught you to hate yourself as God created you?” he asks in the beginning of the film. After a falling out with Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm underwent another transformation in 1964. He had attended hajj, the journey to Mecca that every able Muslim is instructed to do once. And he returned a Sunni Muslim, suddenly able to embrace nonblack Muslims, one of his many legacies. “Malcolm X is one of my heroes,” said Sarah Chaudhry, a 19-year-old Muslim of Pakistani descent. “He was one of us.” [email protected] (818) 713-3634 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more