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Malcolm X: Make It Plain

Political|21 Feb, 2013|1 Comment |
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Political philosopher and visionary, husband and father, dynamic orator and militant minister. In his lifetime, Malcolm X was many men. Born Malcolm Little, he later became “Detroit Red” and “New York Red” — a hustler, drug pusher, pimp, con man and the head of a Boston robbery ring. After spending time in prison, he emerged as Minister Malcolm — Malcolm X, the fiery, eloquent spokesman for the Nation of Islam. Finally, he became El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, an internationally recognized leader and advocate for oppressed peoples. He was both loved and despised, revered and feared– until an assassin’s bullet cut him down at age 39.

American Experience¬†marks the 40th anniversary of his death with “Malcolm X — Make It Plain.” This in-depth film portrait goes straight to the heart, mind and message of one of the modern era’s most complex figures. Actress Alfre Woodard narrates the special.

This film chronicles Malcolm X’s remarkable journey from his birth on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska, to his assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City on February 21, 1965. His compelling story is told through the memories of people who had close personal and working relationships with him: prominent figures such as Maya Angelou, Ossie Davis and Alex Haley; Nation of Islam associates, including Wallace D. Muhammad, the son of Elijah Muhammad; and family members, including his wife, Betty Shabazz, and his oldest daughter, Attallah Shabazz. Included is extensive archival footage of Malcolm X, speaking in his own words at meetings and rallies, and in media interviews.

At a time when black civil rights leaders preached harmony and integration, Malcolm preached a militant gospel of self-defense and nationalism that terrified many whites and disturbed, yet also inspired, black Americans. After his travels to Africa and Mecca, he returned with a deeper understanding of Islam and a new willingness to accept white allies. “The white man and the black man have to be able to sit down at the same table,” he said in his last year. “Then they can bring the issues that are under the rug out on top of the table and take an intelligent approach to getting the problem solved.”

In 1965, under attack from the Nation of Islam and under surveillance by the FBI, Malcolm X was assassinated while delivering a speech. Who killed him and why remains a mystery to this day, 40 years after his assassination.

Malcolm X: Make It Plain, 3.8 out of 5 based on 5 ratings
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One Comment

  1. Yolanda says:

    Please turn this into a DVD (only sold as VHS). As I watched, I agreed with some of Malcolm’s views and some I did not. What I love about this man that I never met was that he was not ashamed to change when he became knowledgeable of information that would better his people. Some people act like you can’t change. They don’t realize that you only know what you know at the moment. Some don’t want to admit that they should change certain views once they learn more about something. He wasn’t ashamed of it. At its core, his message was for black people to love themselves. Because of his experiences, this message was at the expense of others but eventually he learned that it was about a person’s character – no matter white or black – that was key. He grew and some, in his own race, didn’t like it.

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