Part 4, of My Look Back At '65 Malcolm X & Gloria RichardsonFighting was fun
the way we did it, plastic guns, cardboard swords as we imitated the 'middle ages' 'knights' and 'army men'. We were boys, yeah! Real war, soon enough, showed it's face. What I thought was real war were going to be the newscasts of Viet Nam, Americans at war. But in 1965, war wasn't yet an issue. Though we played at aggression, be it soldier or spy, we had no idea what was taking place around us as children.
Consciousness is ever evolving, as the turbulent life of Malcolm X would prove. This was a life increasingly on display to the world in the final year of his life. He would not live beyond a year of his move away from Elijah Muhammad's doctrine and the largest and most popular mass organization of Africans in the USA since the 1920s and Marcus Garvey and the UNIA, United Negro Improvement Association. Warith Deen Muhammad (1933-2008), educated in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, has said that he recalled that as a child, his father, one day Elijah Muhammad, refused to relate to Whites as capable of the uplifting of the general body of African so called Americans.
" When I first heard of Malcolm, I was not really involved in the movement. I was like, thirty five or something, just raising a family...after they were evicted (Malcolm X & Betty and children) we were talking back and forth...I had gotten my mother and stepfather in Newark because they had a vacant third floor in the apartment, to agree to take them...but before that could happen, the other thing happened..."
Gloria Richardson, 2015
"...we demanded...didn't ask...it was unladylike..."
Indeed, it was the visionary direct action of Gloria Richardson and the Cambridge, Maryland community that had stretched the limits of nonviolence in the face of what seemed to be an all consuming repression. This was a local mass movement with goals. Employment, access to the better equipped schools that White students benefited from (education), an end to discrimination at hospitals and clinics, at least some Africans in police roles, these were actually demands in 1963 that Gloria Richardson and the CNAC had put on the table. The state and customary repression of the Euro Americans forced, as it had in the late 40s, early 50s, the African so called Americans to hand over their sons to the mounting war machine, named by Eisenhower himself, the Military Industrial Complex. The 1965 invasion by US marines in the Dominican Republic and continued meddling in a French ex colonial state under command of a certain General Giap were issues of the day.
The prisons, the slums where lead pipes were causing illness, mental retardation and early deaths were the poverty engulfed populations' concerns, Malcolm X knew. He realized that the United Nations approach, talking to the world about Human Rights was critical but not separate from local difficulties. Malcolm X was witness to Gloria Richardson's example as a fellow chief of Black Thought and Action. They both, from first their meeting in November 1963 at a SCLC, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, workshop in Detroit, agreed that voting in USA elections was a tactic not an ends. The strategy of accountable Africans being put into place by an aware public would be leverage along with other levers.Where Is Our Place?The House Negro & The Field Negro (Malcolm X, 1963)
To understand this, you have to go back to what [the] young brother here referred to as the house Negro and the field Negro — back during slavery. There was two kinds of slaves.
There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes – they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master’s house quicker than the master would.
The house Negro, if the master said, “We got a good house here,” the house Negro would say, “Yeah, we got a good house here.” Whenever the master said, “we,” he said “we.” That’s how you can tell a house Negro. If the master’s house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?” We sick! He identified himself with his master more than his master identified with himself.
And if you came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s run away, let’s escape, let’s separate,” the house Negro would look at you and say, “Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?”
That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a “house nigger.” And that’s what we call him today, because we’ve still got some house niggers running around here.
This modern house Negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He’ll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about “I’m the only Negro out here.” “I’m the only one on my job.” “I’m the only one in this school.” You’re nothing but a house Negro.
And if someone comes to you right now and says, “Let’s separate,” you say the same thing that the house Negro said on the plantation. “What you mean, separate? From America? This good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?” I mean, this is what you say. “I ain’t left nothing in Africa,” that’s what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa.
On that same plantation, there was the field Negro.
The field Negro — those were the masses. There were always more Negroes in the field than there was Negroes in the house. The Negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers. In the house they ate high up on the hog. The Negro in the field didn’t get nothing but what was left of the insides of the hog. They call ‘em “chitt’lin’” nowadays. In those days they called them what they were: guts. That’s what you were — a gut-eater. And some of you all still gut-eaters.
The field Negro was beaten from morning to night. He lived in a shack, in a hut; He wore old, castoff clothes. He hated his master. I say he hated his master. He was intelligent. That house Negro loved his master. But that field Negro — remember, they were in the majority, and they hated the master.
When the house caught on fire, he didn’t try and put it out; that field Negro prayed for a wind, for a breeze. When the master got sick, the field Negro prayed that he’d die. If someone come to the field Negro and said, “Let’s separate, let’s run,” he didn’t say “Where we going?” He’d say, “Any place is better than here.”
You’ve got field Negroes in America today. I’m a field Negro. The masses are the field Negroes. When they see this man’s house on fire, you don’t hear these little Negroes talking about “our government is in trouble.” They say, “The government is in trouble.” Imagine a Negro: “Our government”! I even heard one say “our astronauts.” They won’t even let him near the plant — and “our astronauts”! “Our Navy” — that’s a Negro that’s out of his mind. That’s a Negro that’s out of his mind.
Just as the slave-master of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slave-master today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, 20th century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent. That’s Tom making you nonviolent. It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocain, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ’cause you’ve got all of that novocain in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ‘Cause someone has taught you to suffer — peacefully.Dynamism and wide scope attack on the system was something that Malcolm envisioned, local and international. It was what he admired and aspired to coming away from an Nation of Islam endeavor heavy on numerology, debatable science and the emergent power struggles over consumerism, gender wars, a microcosm of the near future's expanded "middle class Blacks syndrome". Gloria had, to paraphrase the Mary Wells Motown hit, beat Malcolm X to the punch on that one. Hers was one of the families descended from 200,000 "free Blacks" (minimum 4 Million others captives) when the Emancipation Proclamation came down in 1863. A degree of unity, integral to survival in a racist society had made coexistence a sensible economic and to small extent, social reality. But the exploding economic fortune of the new superpower in the post 40s revealed the dreams of the expectant ones, who saw a chance to be closer to power. The often class struck and color struck (the lighter skinned and less African featured, the better) people took their status seriously and intermarried among themselves. They had a vested interest in not allowing their number to expand too much and received colonial privilege from the colonizer. Political choices had to be made in the midst of the crashing down of legalized and social custom of racial segregation, which had been planned as any other racist regime would. England was also revamping with it's differences (backtracking from the bold Afrikaner domination) with Verwoerd's South Africa while it's homefront burned with racist anti immigrant populism. The infamous Smethwick victory of the conservative Griffiths, which drew Malcolm X to travel there in the midlands in 1964 to support Africans and Asians was a beginning of a trend. He was later banned from England within a matter of months. No doubt, the NSA, CIA, MI6 and other spycraft masters knew that Malcolm X was welcome in revolutionary Africa, Cuba, China and elsewhere.Sidestepping International Law
The USA replacement for it's 80 year old Jim Crow policy was a creeping forced assimilation that Washington DC provided, and it put the "chattering classes" in the limelight. These were people in every community and every organization on the face of things striving for the freedom of the people, including the Nation of Islam, which had even become a share of federal government workers 'trying to go along and get along', live middle class lives and stay out of 'the politics of America'. There were those openly agitating for reform, too. These people were intent on personal gain, the likelihood of government largesse and seats in the courthouse, statehouse and one day even the fabled White House and they did not want to accept the lessons that Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party had established in 1964 at the Atlantic City national Democratic Party delegate counting. The number of 'black votes' outnumbering 'white votes' in Mississippi could be and actually were neutralized by White Supremacy-and it was clear that the the rulers, speaking through the federal government could not afford to allow real democracy to exist in the USA.
"Integration" as the USA policy was called was a sidestepping of international law (Self Determination). There is no coincidence that Malcolm X was influenced by and had political room in his heart for Mrs Hamer, who became a friend in the spiraling days before his 21 February 1965 assassination.END PART 4 26 November 2015
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