Malcolm X                     

Background / Details


This forum was held in 1959, 41 years ago.  That was a different time than now.  The fascist environment of the 1950s, usually called the McCarthy Era because of the red-baiting tactics of Senator Joe McCarthy, shut most people up and sent many progressives underground.  The silence was broken by Black people.  Not enough credit is given the activities of people deep in the radical Black tradition like Elijah and his associates like Malcolm X.

This forum was way in advance of the general political scene.  The national sit ins begin the next year, but the Cuban revolution was on.  This is a militancy known to the major urban centers and reflects the radical Black tradition of New York City. In this forum Malcolm X and Wallace Muhammad teach about Islam.

In this forum Sister Hortense from the NOI reads a long letter from the Hon. Elijah Muhammad who was scheduled to speak but had to cancel. In this forum Malcolm X makes strong attacks against the condition faced by Black people.  He discusses Marcus Garvey and the attacks against everyone who speaks out.  He attacks the exploitation of Harlem.

In order to contextualize this talk we are providing you with a set of links to information that will help you understand the context for this forum.

Background information on the 1950s


Profiles of the 1959 Leadership in the Cuban revolution


Popular culture in 1959 (USA)


First AIDS case reported in 1959




Overview of the 1950s


1959 State of the Union speech by US President Eisenhower


Heads of state who visited the US in 1959