Malcolm X was shot the other day. Lots of white people were afraid of Malcolm X, hated Malcolm X, they did not like his ideas. I don’t know much about him really. I had seen him on the news talking about how black Americans needed to defend themselves by any means necessary and that black people should form their own country because all white people were devils. That kind of talk really scared white people like my father and my relatives and my neighbors. Another black man hated for his ideas.
It’s early in the year, this year of 1965. I’m watching something on the news that I’ve seen before. I’m watching black Americans marching in the streets down in the south. The black people down south are marching because they cannot vote, eat in a restaurant, ride a bus or go to school. Every school day I and all of the students at Gateway Regional High School stand and pledge allegiance to one nation, with liberty and justice for all. We stand as one, believing the things we pledge to and sing to. These are things I take for granted, these are things we all have a right to, don’t we?
I don’t understand this hatred any more. Why must men like Martin Luther King lead protest marches? Why do men like my father hate black people so much? I guess it’s easy for him to be afraid. From what I’ve seen on the news and in Life Magazine, there’s so much to be afraid of. I’ve watched Americans, black and white, fighting in the streets. I’ve seen black people beaten, attacked by police dogs, knocked down by fire hoses, and I’ve seen little girls blown up in church.
On the TV and in the papers I've seen black and white Americans killed by people who didn't like their ideas.
I don’t feel this hatred. One of my earliest friends was a black girl and I didn’t worry about the color of her skin rubbing off on mine if we touched – didn’t think I’d get cooties from her if we drank from the same glass.
Malcolm X sounded like he had the same kind of hatred for white people that my father and other white people had for him and Dr. King and every other black person in America. It’s been said that after he took a trip to Africa that Malcolm X might have changed some of his ideas, and that other black Muslims didn’t like what he was saying now. Malcolm X was shot to death - shot to death by black men who didn’t agree with him.
Americans killing other Americans because of their ideas.