A Malcolm X interview 6 weeks before his death may surprise people who think they know him

Few figures in American history have as controversial a legacy as Malcolm X. Some view the civil rights leader as the violent counterpart to Martin Luther King, Jr. Some see him as an icon of empowerment, while others view him as a dangerous radical. What people think they know of him may depend on whether they're looking at his early or later speeches, or whether they're getting information about him from a source that views him positively or negatively.

The reality is that Malcolm X's life is one marked by complexity and change, which makes defining his legacy in a nutshell nearly impossible. In an era where political polarization tempts us to place people neatly into ideological boxes— and where changing one's views is often branded as flip-flopping or wishy-washiness—Malcolm X's ever-evolving message and approach to civil rights is a reminder that no one can—or should—be confined to a soundbite.


A Canadian television interview with Malcolm X on CBC's Front Page Challenge provides a glimpse of where X's beliefs had led him prior to his death. The interview took place on January 5, 1965—about six weeks before his assassination on February 21st of that year. In the interview, he clarified his position on his "brother," MLK, Jr., explained why he left the Nation of Islam but maintained his Muslim faith and described his view on black people's right to defend their life and property "by any means necessary"—the same right all Americans share.

Malcolm X on Front Page Challenge, 1965: CBC Archives | CBC www.youtube.com

Malcolm X wasn't afraid to say what he felt. It is truly tragic that his voice was cut short just as the U.S. was making strides—at least legally, on paper—toward racial equality. As with other civil rights leaders of his time, much of what X spoke about and wrote about is still relevant today, 55 years after his death. Agree with him or not, but anyone who wants a deep, broad and rich understanding of the complexities of current race relations in the U.S. would benefit from a thorough study of his life and legacy.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via Lorie Shaull / Flickr

The epidemic of violence against Indigenous women in America is one of the country's most disturbing trends. A major reason it persists is because it's rarely discussed outside of the native community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women under age 19.

Women who live on some reservations face rates of violence that are as much as ten times higher than the national average.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less

Every day, I wake up feeling like Peeta at the end of "The Hunger Games" series asking Katniss what's real and what's not real.

The first thing I do is run through a series of thoughts to orient myself to this bizarre reality we're currently in: "What day is it today? Umm...Tuesday, I think. Who is president of the United States? Donald Trump. Wait, is that right? That can't be right....No, yes, that's right. Wow. Are we still in the middle of a global pandemic that has killed 200,000+ Americans in six months? Yes. Are people still acting like it's a hoax? Apparently so. Is there still a ridiculous number of people who believe that an elite cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles is secretly running the world and trafficking children to harvest fear hormones from their blood, and that Donald Trump is going to save us all from it? Yup."

Then I lie there in dumbfounded disbelief before semi-rallying: "Okay, here we go."

It's not really okay, though. How any of us are expected to be able to function in this reality is beyond me. When we've gone beyond merely having different perspectives on issues and instead are living in completely different versions of reality, I can't figure out how to feel okay. Or, to be more accurate, when some of us are living in objective reality and a not-insignificant-enough number of us are living in a completely made-up land of alternative facts and perpetual gaslighting, it's hard not to feel like I'm the one losing my grip.

Keep Reading Show less