About the Conference and its Time 

More than 3,000 people from 25 countries attended the Malcolm X: Radical Tradition and a Legacy of Struggle conference held in New York City. More than 100 speakers led 24 sessions during November 1-4, 1990.

This conference was the last time that major figures such as Alex Haley, John Henry Clarke, Betty Shabazz, and C. Eric Lincoln gathered together. These particular individuals have all passed since then, so the conference is very special indeed. On the other hand the conference is but a biopsy that could be taken at any point in time. It is a moment that our collective intelligence was gathered. Now is the time for a fresh reading of this conference as part of updating a radical Black perspective.

The militant Black radicalism of the late 1960's and 1970's was followed by two decades dominated by electoral activity. This electoral activity was based on the logic of following the success of the civil right movement (outside the system) with Black elected officials fighting for enlightened public policy (inside the system). This relied on the Black middle class, who labored in a difficult situation. Since the 1960's the majority of white voters have been Republican, the Black votes firmly with the Democrats, and half the entire adult population not voting. In electoral terms, this meant a growth in Black Republicans. Business as usual meant most elected officials were the loyal opposition with the Democrats. Black radicalism lay dormant, with the majority of Blacks who chose to stay out of electoral politics.

In 1990, many grassroots-based activists and idealist youth in search of moral righteousness were looking to return to a more militant movement. Many had never stopped learning from the thought of Malcolm X. Each generation since the 1960's when facing the problems of their moment and circumstance would rediscover Malcolm X as his voice has proven to have a high degree of sustainability. He has been sustained by the love and respect of his people and freedom loving people of all nations and classes.

Conference planners approached the conference in an ecumenical manner, looking for people of all ideological and political persuasions. The main criteria was that speakers be interested in promoting their understanding of Malcolm X. 

We are very pleased to present this conference on the Internet.  Each week for six months we will post a new session of the conference. Facing forward,  we remember Malcolm. Please visit here again.


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