السبت، 20 مارس 2010

Malcolm X: remember him after 45 years

Malcolm X: remember him after 45 years

Eulogy by Ossie Davis

Eulogy delivered by actor/activist Ossie Davis
at the funeral of Malcolm X Faith Temple Church
Of God, February 27,1965


"Here - at this final hour, in this quiet place -
Harlem has come to bid farewell to one of its brightest
hopes -extinguished now, and gone from us forever. For
Harlem is where he worked and where he struggled and
fought - his home of homes, where his heart was, and
where his people are - and it is, therefore, most
fitting that we meet once again - in Harlem - to share
these last moments with him. For Harlem has ever been
gracious to those who have loved her, have fought her,
and have defended her honor even to the death.

It is not in the memory of man that this beleaguered,
unfortunate, but nonetheless proud community has found
a braver, more gallant young champion than this Afro-
American who lies before us - unconquered still. I say
the word again, as he would want me to : Afro-American
- Afro-American Malcolm, who was a master, was most
meticulous in his use of words. Nobody knew better than
he the power words have over minds of men. Malcolm had
stopped being a 'Negro' years ago. It had become too
small, too puny, too weak a word for him. Malcolm was
bigger than that. Malcolm had become an Afro-American
and he wanted - so desperately - that we, that all his
people, would become Afro-Americans too.

There are those who will consider it their duty, as
friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him,
to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save
ourselves by writing him out of the history of our
turbulent times. Many will ask what Harlem finds to
honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young
captain - and we will smile. Many will say turn away -
away from this man, for he is not a man but a demon, a
monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black man -
and we will smile. They will say that he is of hate - a
fanatic, a racist - who can only bring evil to the
cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and
say to them : Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did
you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you
ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing?
Was he ever himself associated with violence or any
public disturbance? For if you did you would know him.
And if you knew him you would know why we must honor

Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood!
This was his meaning to his people. And, in honoring
him, we honor the best in ourselves. Last year, from
Africa, he wrote these words to a friend: 'My journey',
he says, 'is almost ended, and I have a much broader
scope than when I started out, which I believe will add
new life and dimension to our struggle for freedom and
honor and dignity in the States. I am writing these
things so that you will know for a fact the tremendous
sympathy and support we have among the African States
for our Human Rights struggle. The main thing is that
we keep a United Front wherein our most valuable time
and energy will not be wasted fighting each other.'
However we may have differed with him - or with each
other about him and his value as a man - let his going
from us serve only to bring us together, now.

Consigning these mortal remains to earth, the common
mother of all, secure in the knowledge that what we
place in the ground is no more now a man - but a seed -
which, after the winter of our discontent, will come
forth again to meet us. And we will know him then for
what he was and is - a Prince - our own black shining
Prince! - who didn't hesitate to die, because he loved
us so."