Death and Transfiguration
Friday, Mar. 05, 1965
excerpt - note the date -
Malcolm X had been a pimp, a cocaine addict and a thief. He was an unashamed demagogue. His gospel was hatred: “Your little babies will get polio!” he cried to the “white devils.” His creed was violence: “If ballots won’t work, bullets will.”
Yet even before his bullet-ripped body went to its grave, Malcolm X was being sanctified. Negro leaders called him “brilliant,” said he had recently “moderated” his views, blamed his assassination on “the white power structure” or, in the case of Martin Luther King, on a “society sick enough to express dissent with murder.” Malcolm’s death, they agreed, was a setback to the civil rights movement.
Alias John Doe. In fact, Malcolm X in life and in deathwas a disaster to the civil rights movement...
...In his youth, Malcolm prided himself on his reddish hair and light skin, an inheritance from his maternal grandfather, a white man. Years later he wrote in his autobiography: “I was for years insane enough to feel that it was some kind of status symbol to be light-complexioned. Now I hate every drop of that white rapist’s blood that is in me.”
He quit school after the eighth grade, eventually made his way to New York. Nicknamed “Big Red,” he was a gangling zoot-suiter who fancied yellow-toed shoes and straightened his hair with lye in a scalp-searing process called “conking.” He worked briefly as a waiter at Small’s Paradise, still one of Harlem’s top nightspots. But an honest dollar was not for Malcolm Little. He was caught pimping on the side and fired. He thereupon turned himself into a full-time hustler whose specialties were fixing up white men with Negro whores and Negro men with white whores. He peddled marijuana, became a cocaine addict and, to satisfy his $20-a-day craving, took to burglary. In 1946 he wound up with a ten-year prison sentence in Boston...