Malcolm X Formed The Organization For Afro-American Unity On This Day In 1964
The brown-skinned and bespectacled thirty nine year old man had just stepped on the podium to address the crowd at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. The year was 1965.
““As-salaam alaikum,” he said and then almost immediately, a man with a shotgun and two co-conspirators opened fire, striking him several times in the chest, leg, fingers and chin, causing him to keel over. And so there he was, he who had survived an extremely unkind childhood, he who had spent 6 years in jail and who was nicknamed “Satan,” by his cellmates for his habit of pacing around and muttering curses at God and the Bible, there he was, dead in this room where he had given a speech at the OAAU founding rally barely a year earlier.
On June 28th, 1964, less than a year before his demise, Malcolm X had founded the OAAU – Organization For Afro American Unity alongside other black nationalists. The organization was designed after the OAU – Organization for African Unity- which Malcolm had encountered on his trip to Africa to cater for the human rights of blacks.
Founded shortly after his fallout with the leader of the Nation of Islam and also his mentor, Elijah Muhammad, who Malcolm had -because of his illegitimate children – felt betrayed him and the teachings of Islam.
The OAAU was born on a number of cores, Wikipedia quotes them in detail to be;
- Restoration: “In order to release ourselves from the oppression of our enslavers then, it is absolutely necessary for the Afro-American to restore communication with Africa.”
- Reorientation: “We can learn much about Africa by reading informative books.”
- Education: “The Organization of Afro-American Unity will devise original educational methods and procedures which will liberate the minds of our children. We will … encourage qualified Afro-Americans to write and publish the textbooks needed to liberate our minds … educating them [our children] at home.”
- Economic Security: “After the Emancipation Proclamation … it was realized that the Afro-American constituted the largest homogeneous ethnic group with a common origin and common group experience in the United States and, if allowed to exercise economic or political freedom, would in a short period of time own this country. We must establish a technician bank. We must do this so that the newly independent nations of Africa can turn to us who are their brothers for the technicians they will need now and in the future.
Malcolm intended that the platform unify 22 million Non-American Muslims, with the people of the African continent, foster pan African consciousness and eventually sniff out white privilege and racial discrimination.
His death almost a year later however truncated his big dreams for the organization despite attempts by his half sister to resuscitate the movement. The OAAU would nonetheless be the strand of inspiration for several other black rights group in the years following 1965.
Malcolm X in a quote we believe to be most relevant in this situation said once; The common goal of 22 million Afro-Americans is respect as human beings, the God-given right to be a human being. Our common goal is to obtain the human rights that America has been denying us. We can never get civil rights in America until our human rights are first restored. We will never be recognized as citizens there until we are first recognized as humans.
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