From left to right: Tiamoyo Karenga, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Ilyasah Shabazz, Chimbuko Tembo, Tulivu Jadi.
(Photo Credit: AACC Archives)
The African American Cultural Center (Us) hosted a community commemoration of the 49th anniversary of the martyrdom of Min. Malcolm X, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, with Ms. Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Min. Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz, titled, "A Conversation with Ilyasah Shabazz: History and a Daughter's Memory of Malcolm X” last Friday, February 21 as part of its Black History Month celebration. The commemoration held annually by the Center since 1966 is called Dhabihu, The Day of Sacrifice.
The evening opened with the pouring of libation for Min. Malcolm X in commemoration of his martyrdom on February 21, 1965. Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chair, Department of Africana Studies, CSULB; executive director, African American Cultural Center (Us) and creator of the pan-African holiday of Kwanzaa delivered a praise poem for Malcolm, discussed his role as a profound moral teacher and presented his central ethical ideas. In his praise poem, Dr. Karenga described Malcolm as “the ever oncoming storm, fierce as fire, terrible and brilliant as lightning, loud as thunder, demanding respect even from the most powerful enemy. . . He who when he laid down was the length of rivers and when he stood up was the height and strength of mountains. Great hunter who hunted the forests of evil and oppression until the beasts begged for relief.”
Ms. Shabazz, educator, mentor, activist, producer and author of "Growing Up X, provided personal insights on her father and mother, and signed copies of her latest book "Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X." She praised her father, as one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century and her mother as indispensable in the education, nurturing and values she provided after the assassination of her father. She said she wrote the book for children and adults, to help them “understand the values that went into a young boy to enable him to become Malcolm X.” Moreover, she said she wanted to emphasize “the importance of the foundation both Malcolm’s mother and father laid in instilling these important values in him and how adults must always ensure our children are properly loved and nurtured”. Some of those values were, she said, “the love of learning, compassion and respect and caring for other humans and all creatures, including butterflies, insects in general, and plants.”
The event also included struggle music, photographic displays, and personal and community reflections on the meaning and continuing impact of Min. Malcolm X.