Essay on Birth of an Icon, Death of a Leader

Essay on Birth of an Icon, Death of a Leader

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Birth of an Icon, Death of a Leader


"…I present … one who is willing to put himself in the line for you… a man who would give his life for you…" With this ominous introduction, the speaker stepped up to the podium. Over his left, filtered sunlight poured over the booths silhouetting his body. Applause exploded from the audience, the catalyst that brought forth a dynamic smile from the speaker. In a deep, powerful voice the speaker said, "As-salaam alaikum," his customary introduction (Gallen 251). The crowd energetically responded, " Wa-alaikum salaam."
Suddenly, deep in the crowd a commotion exploded between two men. These men violently jumped to their feet. "What you doing in my pocket man? Get your hand out of my pocket," one man hollered at the other (Carson 373). Security quickly saturated the scene. The two stage guards, positioned to the right and left of the stage, left their posts and began to make their way towards the fight. The speaker stood alone on the stage. "Hold it, hold it, brothers, let's be cool," said the speaker with the intention of ameliorating the situation (Carson 402).
A burst of ripping thunder exploded and chaos ensued. The crowd began diving for cover, crashing into folding chairs, bumping into each other, screaming, and running for sanctuary; the room had become a scene of frantic human pinball. It was February 21, 1965; Malcolm X was dead.
"…I present … one who is willing to put himself in the line for you… a man who would give his life for you…" This introduction lives in tragic irony; Malcolm did just that. The burst of ripping thunder had nothing to do with the weather. The burst of thunder was the violent song of a sawed-off double barrel 12-guage shotgun fired from 15 feet away (W...


... middle of paper ...


...the position of civil rights if Malcolm still lived, remained active, matured, and continued unite African American with his unrelenting passion. He would be 80 years old. The United States would be a different place. The silencing of powerful leaders like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King has hindered the campaign of civil rights. Although Malcolm's murder may never be resolved, examination of his assassination remains significant as a link to turbulent American time era. We are a long way from racial equality. Malcolm may have died, but his spirit lives on if his fight persists. As professor Lewis Machaux famous poem attests to his legacy,

Man, if you think Bro. Malcolm is dead,
You are out of your cotton-picking head,
Just get off your slumbering bed,
And watch his fighting spirit spread,
Every shut ain't sleep,
Every good bye ain't gone. (Goldman 375)

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